12 Christmas Cards Sure to Geek Up Your Holiday Spirit

It might be a little late to order Christmas cards to send out to your friends and family, but you’ve still got plenty of time to enjoy the great art and creativity in some of the geekiest holiday cards out there.

1. Phone Home

This card is not only high tech, but it also just might be the most expensive card out there (at least, the most expensive not adorned in precious jewels). Surprisingly, the price isn’t due to a mark up—this is a DIY card design. The price instead comes from the iPhone nestled inside the card. Sure, you might not want to send one of these to your dentist, but it would be one heck of a way to present an iPhone if you already planned on giving one as a gift anyway.

2. Playing Games

Instructables user bradsprojects created another interactive, tech-based, DIY card, only this one won’t break the bank if you make one for more than a few people. The video game is pretty rudimentary, but any fan of old school games will still appreciate the classic appeal of moving a dot to avoid obstacles.

3. Godzilla's Anatomy

If you love both anatomy and Godzilla, then you’ll certainly appreciate these cards by artist Brad McGinty. Of course, if you prefer great fiction stories, then you’ll love the tale Brad created to help sell these delightful designs:

A few years after my Grandfather returned from the war he decided to start a greeting card company. Armed with one terrible idea and no artistic ability whatsoever, he turned to someone he had met during the war for help, a young Japanese solider he had shot in the face named Haruo. My grandfather spoke no Japanese, and Haruo spoke no English, so how they actually got together is beyond me or anyone else in my family. The idea involved creating American-style greeting cards for both the Japanese and the American markets.

Even if you have no interest in buying the cards, it’s worth reading the rest of the story over at his site.

4. Grumpy Card

Only a few short months ago, Grumpy Cat stole the internet’s heart with her permanently sour scowl. Her owner has since created a website so she can share her cat's delightful expressions with the world. To help support her kitties, she added a shop that included these great Christmas cards. Unfortunately, they’re already sold out, but maybe you die-hard Tard fans will have better luck getting cards with your favorite grumpy kitten next year.

5. It Must Be Italian

It’s rare for a family photo holiday card to end up this amazingly geeky, but Amanda Earles of Candid Moments Studios managed to bring A Christmas Story to life in her fantastic family photo card this year.

6. The Most Beautiful Card in the Room

Any Flight of the Concords fan will recognize the great “present” pun in this card, showing one of the band’s famous meetings. Creator Elliot Quince did such a great job with the card that Rhys Darby, aka Murray Hewitt, even tweeted the card to his followers.

7. Call the Doctor

I don’t know what the Doctor did to this Dalek to get him to serve cocktails, but whatever the plotline behind this Doctor Who Christmas special, I want to know the whole story. If you like the art and humor of these cards, but you aren’t really a Whovian, don’t worry: artist AliciaMB has also created Christmas cards themed after Star Wars, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, and more.

8. Nice Nose

Chewy the Red Nosed Wookie might not be as famous as Rudolph the Reindeer, but he’d do a lot better when it comes to helping you guide a Millennium Falcon across an asteroid belt. Of course, Etsy seller CastleMcQuade has plenty of other geeky holiday cards available for those who aren’t too into Star Wars (including a fantastic It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia design) as well as plenty of other Star Wars Christmas cards.

9. Hoth-Hoth-Hoth

For a more classic holiday card look with a Star Wars twist, look no further than these Hoth-y Holiday cards by Etsy seller Mike Goes Geek that depicts a classic Hoth scene in the iconic Rankin/Bass claymation style.

10. Left 4Christmas

If you simply loved Left 4Dead 2, then share that adoration with those closest to you with these adorable cards designed by artist Alexandria Neonakis and available in the Valve Store.

11. Sea Unicorn

Everyone loves narwhals—after all, they are like unicorns of the sea, and with this great holiday card by Etsy seller castornpollux, you get to see how the rare, majestic creature likes to decorate for Christmas.

12. Venn Out

Is any list of geekery truly complete without a Venn diagram? If you answered “no” with a resounding decisiveness, then you’ll certainly love these Venn diagram cards by Etsy seller BisforBrown that depict “what we wish you” this holiday season.

If you happened to order or send out any geeky holiday cards this year, tell us about them in the comments, or even better, share the pictures with us!

For 12-12-12, we’ll be posting twenty-four '12 lists' throughout the day. Check back 12 minutes after every hour for the latest installment, or see them all here.

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This Photographer Is Changing People's Perceptions of Pit Bulls, One Flower Crown at a Time
Sophie Gamand
Sophie Gamand

Like many people, Sophie Gamand wasn’t always the biggest fan of pit bulls. As a volunteer photographer for animal shelters, she used to tense up any time she saw one.

And then something changed. In 2014, the New York-based photographer decided to confront her fear and take on a project that would force her to interact with pit bulls, My Modern Met reports. Initially, she wanted to see for herself if pit bulls were really as dangerous as people claim they are, and what she learned surprised her.

She “discovered the sweet and gentle nature of pit bulls, and how obedient and eager to please they are,” Gamand tells Mental Floss. “They are goofy, loving, and very attached to people.”

Equipped with her new mindset, she decided to photograph the dogs individually with colorful flower crowns adorning their heads in hopes of challenging the public's perception of pit bulls. And it worked.

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

Gamand says animal shelter staff often tell her that her photos, which she posts on social media with a brief description of each dog's personality, have saved countless dogs from being euthanized and have helped many others find forever homes. “They have helped dogs get adopted who had had zero interest for months or even years,” she says.

Over the last few years, she has photographed over 400 pit bulls, and her images will be published in a forthcoming coffee table book titled Pit Bull Flower Power: The Book. It will be released in October for Pit Bull Awareness Month.

She says the stereotype of pit bulls being overly aggressive is “completely unfounded,” adding that genetics have little to no influence on a dog’s personality. What makes the difference, though, is proper care and training, which is why she’s dedicating her life’s work to helping the dogs find loving homes.

Plus, the dogs love the photo shoots. "These are all shelter dogs who spend most of their time in a cage," Gamand says. "They are so happy for all the attention, treats, and love they get on the shoot. They love nothing more than to be good boys and girls—learning tricks, sitting to get a cookie. It’s their special moment. Each shoot is a team effort between the handler, the dog, and myself."

Her photos have spread far and wide via social media, and she now receives requests to visit animal shelters all over the world, from India to Kuwait to China. Prior to Pit Bull Flower Power, Gamand’s first book, Wet Dog—which features, you guessed it, adorable dripping dogs—was published in 2015.

Keep scrolling to see more of Gamand's Flower Power series, and check out this project and others on her Instagram page and website.

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

[h/t My Modern Met]

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A Rare Copy of Audubon's Birds of America Could Break Records at Auction
Christie's
Christie's

American artist and naturalist John James Audubon published The Birds of America in the first half of the 19th century, and his massive “double-elephant” folio of life-size bird illustrations remains one of the most ambitious nature books ever produced. On June 14, a rare edition of the four-book set is hitting the auction block, and it's expected to fetch up to $12 million—more than any Audubon book ever sold.

This edition of The Birds of America was owned by the dukes of Portland from around 1839 to 2012. Because it was stored on the shelves of the family's Nottinghamshire, England estate for nearly a century, the set's prints of watercolor drawings have remained remarkably well-preserved.

In 2012, the copy was auctioned off to philanthropist and businessman Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. for nearly $8 million. Knobloch donated the books to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF) before his death in 2016. Now, the KFF is sending the books to auction once again. This time, all proceeds of the sale will go to nature conservation.

Set of red leather-bound books.

New York City auction house Christie's describes the set in a listing as "among the finest copies in private hands of this icon of American art, and the finest color-plate book ever produced." Each of the 435 double-elephant folio pages measures 39.5 inches by 26.5 inches, the largest sheets Audubon could get his hands on at the time, and they feature 1037 birds from 500 species. The books are bound in red Moroccan leather with gold detailing on the borders and spines. The four-volume set also comes with the Ornithological Biography, a collection of five books describing the specimens in The Birds of America and their habits.

Christie's estimates the set will sell for $8 million to $12 million when the final bid is placed later this month. To date, the most expensive copy of The Birds of America was a first edition acquired from Sotheby's in London for $11.5 million. That sale also broke the record for the most expensive printed book ever sold at auction, a record held until 2013.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American bird.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

All images courtesy of Christie's

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