The Abbey Studio’s annual Holiday Card Contest has begun

Christmas Cards from years past lie scattered on Maryanne Grebenstien’s work easel. Photo by Libby O'Neill

The first two Christmas Card Contest entries are posted in the windows of The Abbey Studio for passerbys to vote on.

The Abbey Studio, a calligraphy and design studio in Marblehead, has started accepting submissions for their annual Holiday Card Contest. To enter into the contest you can drop your card design at The Abbey Studio or mail it in; each card, which are numbered, will be hung in the studio’s window and be posted online.

Maryanne Grebenstein, the owner of The Abbey Studio, said the cards do not have to include calligraphy and participants can be at any skill level. Even kids can enter, she said.

“It’s not any kind of serious competition, it’s just a way for people to have some fun,” Grebenstein said.

The Abbey Studio has been around for six years providing hand lettered documents and gifts.

“People come to me for special gifts,” Grebenstein said. “For instance, hand lettered wedding vows as a wedding gift.”

The first two Holiday Card Contest entries are posted in the windows of The Abbey Studio for passersby to vote on.

The Holiday Card Contest is in its fifth year and is set to end on Dec. 24 at noon. People can vote at the studio where a box has been placed right inside the door, through facebook or send an email stating which number card was their favorite.

“People vote for all different ones, it’s not always the one that is kind of the most beautiful so to speak,” Grebenstein said. “It’s all across the board.”

The winner of the contest will be awarded with a $100 gift card to spend at The Abbey Studio, she said.

“They can be redeemed on supplies or workshops or a calligraphic piece if they see something that they like in here,” Grebenstein said.

Cards entered into the contest need to be an original handmade creation from the designer either by hand or electronically, according to

“They’re all different,” Grebenstein said. “Some are religious, some are not, it’s not Christmas specifically, it’s holiday.”

Previous years’ entries included cards that were hand painted, had quotes, had stickers and one was in the shape of a tea cup. One of the specific articles that she pointed out has submitted a card for multiple years and they always include an animal.

“I have one woman who has entered pretty much every year and she’s just an animal lover,” Grebenstein said. “She doesn’t really even think of herself as an artist but she always does something cute with animals.”

Previous years contests had between 20 to 30 entries and she expects it to be the same this year. The idea of the Holiday Card Contest came to her five years ago when she was trying to find ways to engage with the community.

“It was just something that evolved, having people here and working on different projects, I thought it would be fun to do a contest,” Grebenstein said.

She said she plans to keep doing the contest every year “as long as people send cards.”

Voting closes Dec. 29 at noon and the winner of this year’s contest will be announced in Grebenstein’s January newsletter. More information on the contest can be found at

The Abbey Studio posts the entries to their annual Holiday Card Contest in the windows.