• Greeting cards and gifts that give back

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    THIS holiday season, you can show friends and family you think they’re special in two simple but heartwarming ways.

    Don’t just send any old card or gift. First, consider to whom you are sending the greeting card. Would they like to receive a cute seasonal card or one with a religious theme? Would they prefer a traditional winter landscape or a light-hearted Christmas image? Is it for a friend or for family? Is the recipient single or married with children? Is the gift for a man or a woman? Does it reflect their special interests or lifestyle? If they’re busy, a desk calendar could be useful. If the gift is for a child, how about a puzzle? Or maybe a birthday book for the friend who always forgets birthdays.

    Next, get the kind that doubles as a beautiful way to help others, such as the cards, calendars, wrapping paper, puzzles and books featuring reproductions of unique, original paintings created by a group of special artists.

    These are the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA). The worldwide for-profit organization is owned and run by its disabled artists and enables them to earn their living by selling direct to the public.

    One of those talented painters, Mariam Paré, was recently on a tour of North America demonstrating her mouth painting skills at museums and art galleries and giving art classes to disabled children.

    Paré became a quadriplegic while an art student, when she accidentally took a bullet to the back in a crossfire at age 20. She then taught herself to paint again by holding a brush in her mouth.

    Today, her paintings reflect her love of art and the freedom of expression it brings to her life. Her works have been exhibited widely and can be found in numerous private art collections.

    While she was in New York, she appeared on “The Today Show” with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford and presented them with a portrait.

    When you send the card and gift, include a personal, handwritten message. It doesn’t have to be a whole Christmas letter, though that can be delightful, too. A personalized good wish from you that carries the warmth of the season will do.

    NORTH AMERICAN PRECIS SYNDICATE

    Available online
    If you’d like to purchase the Mariam Paré card or select from a wide range of other cards and thoughtful gifts, visit the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists website, www.mfpausa.com.

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