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Holiday tradition continues for Gerstein

Gerstein's 2011 card.

Home improvement industry veteran Mel Gerstein, co-owner of Mahwah, N.J.-based Thermwell Products, is at it again. His holiday cards containing his unique brand of political humor are hitting mailboxes all across the country. 

Gerstein estimates thousands of people are on his holiday card list, including the office of Home Channel News, which received its card earlier this week. What makes Gerstein tradition unusual is that he draws his own card, and he's been doing it since the mid-1960s.

"You have to realize that this is my hobby," Gerstein said. "People I don't even know call and ask if I could send them one. And I do it for them."

The 2011 card features all the most familiar political figures in the United States (Obama, Boehner), and even a couple from Europe (Sarkozky, Merkel). The cartoon, depicts a roller coaster heading down, indicating a wild ride. The cartoon includes Santa Claus in the distance and Occupy Wall Street protesters in the foreground.

"I usually try to encompass everything that happened during the year," he said.  

Gerstein declined to tell a reporter his age ("that's my secret," he said), but he did share his first-ever holiday card creation from more than four decades ago, when bomb shelters were gaining popularity in the suburbs. "It shows Santa trying to enter one of these shelters," he said. "But the person inside is aiming a gun at him."


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