Adrienne Hedger loves to draw cartoons based on her everyday life experiences, but one time of year is especially full of creative inspiration: the holiday season.
“I’m always looking to capture the ridiculous moments that we all face in life, and it turns out the holidays are overflowing with them,” the Southern California-based cartoonist and mom of two told HuffPost.
From gift-wrapping to family time, there’s no holiday topic Hedger won’t tackle on her web comic “Hedger Humor.”
“Since my kids keep getting older, every year brings new experiences,” Hedger explained. “For example, when they were young, I did cartoons about trying to get my kids to smile in a holiday photo. But now [my daughter] Claire is a teenager, so last year I did a cartoon about the weird way she wraps gifts. Each stage of life brings new cartoon ideas.”
Hedger, who has been drawing cartoons professionally for 14 years, particularly enjoys depicting the contrast between expectations and reality around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“It’s like we’re all trying our best, but life doesn’t always end up perfect, like a movie,” she said. “There’s humor in things going wrong.”
Indeed, the cartoons that resonate the most with Hedger’s followers often stem from challenges and failures.
“Seeing something stressful reflected in a cartoon allows you to laugh at the whole thing ― and that gives you some perspective,” she noted. “It’s a reminder that we’re all going through similar issues ― buying gifts too late, losing the tape, and eating too many holiday treats. If you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone.”
Still, she emphasized that she also likes to illustrate the tender moments of the holidays, like making pie with loved ones or receiving a special gift.
When Hedger’s family members look at her cartoons, they often recognize themselves and their own experiences.
“My kids, who are now teenagers, really do enjoy the cartoons about toddlers and little kids,” she said. “Many of those cartoons are inspired by them when they were little, but now that they’re older, they can appreciate the antics of little kids. And it’s fun because Claire will look at some of the cartoons and say, ‘I remember doing that!’ So in a way the cartoons serve as sort of a scrapbook of memories for my family.”
Hedger said she hopes her cartoons help people relax around the holidays and remind them not to put too much pressure on themselves to make everything perfect.
“There’s humor and laughter to be found in imperfection, and when things go wrong, it gives you something to talk to people about — and to bond over,” she said.
If you find yourself stressing out over something this holiday season, she recommends picturing it as one of her cartoons and all of the people commenting “Yes, same!” beneath it.
“Because whatever is happening with you, others are probably facing it too,” she said. “I hope there’s some comfort in knowing that. And if you can find any humor in the situation, embrace that.”
Keep scrolling and check out “Hedger Humor” for more of Hedger’s holiday cartoons.