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The holiday shopping season has been a mainstay of life for many, many years—yet it has dramatically shifted in form over the past decade. It once involved crowds of people mobbing stores and attempting to navigate the busy streets, their arms loaded with packages; now, for many of us, it’s a rather lonely process that takes place on our computers. In his latest cover, for the December 11, 2023, issue, the cartoonist Barry Blitt captures the ubiquity of delivery workers, who bring these packages to our hearths. I talked to the artist about his shopping habits and favorite holiday memories.
Are you an online shopper yourself?
Yes! It suits my hermetic life style. On my porch right now, I see a couple of boxes of art supplies and also a smaller box with dental floss and moisturizer, I think. (I still leave the house to get groceries and clothing—for now, anyway.)
Do you have anything in particular on your holiday wish list?
I’ve got art supplies and moisturizer and floss. What more could I ask for?
Is there any one gift from your childhood that you especially remember?
Geez, I used to get a lot of Popeye stuff that I was crazy about. I remember a Popeye punching bag from when I was a tot. I wouldn’t let anyone punch it. There’s an old black-and-white photo of me hugging the thing. Also some goalie equipment, from when I was a few years older, that I liked wearing around the house. It ended up taking as much punishment—almost none—as the Popeye punching bag.
Looking back on your holiday cartoons over the years, are there some that still seem relevant?
I recall a holiday drawing from twenty years ago or so: a financially strapped fellow wearing a cardboard box, looking covetously into a fancy store’s holiday window that featured a mannequin wearing a fancy barrel. Still relevant, I guess. Alas.
For more covers about the holidays, see below:
“December 12, 1931,” by Theodore G. Haupt
“December 10, 1932,” by William Steig
“Ever Giving,” by Mark Ulriksen
Find Barry Blitt’s covers, cartoons, and more at the Condé Nast Store.