How to Create a Family and Friends Scrapbook in 10 Minutes
Preserving photo cards, annual letters, and greetings
Christmas photo cards plaster the fridge.
These are your friends and family. People you care about.
But it’s time to take them down before the house looks like a telephone pole covered in old yard sale notices.
What do you do with them?
Throw them away?
Major guilt trip. How can you throw away photos of your best friends babies?
Stack them on the counter to deal with later?
Yeah, that helps. You needed a little more clutter, right?
Stash them in a box and put it on the top shelf?
That way your kids can deal with them when they move you to the old folks home.
It seems like a no-win situation.
But, there is a solution.
A Christmas friends and family scrapbook will solve your Christmas mail clutter.
First, the binder will alleviate guilt.
And even better, after a few years of using this simple system, you will have a treasured archive of memories.
All this in 10 minutes a year.
How to get started with your friends and family scrapbook
1. Collect supplies
Keep it simple.
Put a stack of page protectors in the binder.
Grab your cardstock and tape a photo to it.
Add a caption underneath if the card doesn’t include the year or names.
Pop it in a sleeve, and done.
Keep it organized.
Each sheet will hold 2-3 photo cards.
I like to keep each family together so I can see how they change through the years.
You could also put the photos in chronological order – arranged by the year received.
Either way, the sheet protector system makes the pages easy to rearrange if you want to tweak your system later.
For a deluxe version.
Create a decorative cover by sliding a sheet of holiday themed paper in the binder sleeve.
Add a label to the spine.
Or, create a custom cover, if that’s your thing.
Just don’t let this part hold up the process, you can come back to it later.
3. Gather your memory stash
When the holiday greetings arrive I like to display them through December. We have a special spot in our family room, and the photos become part of the decorations.
In January, as the holiday decorations are stored away, I collect all the memories and stash them in the front pocket of the binder.
You want to give them some time to “prove” themselves. By next November, when I update the binder I’m more selective on what is worth saving.
For instance, we may get a card from a new family at church. Then they move in February, and I never see them again. Unless we created a great memory in a very short time, I wouldn’t save that one.
It would be impossible to save every snippet of paper that crosses our path. Distance helps when editing memories.
4. When and how to update the binder
November is ideal.
Freshen the binder and get it ready for display.
It makes a meaningful Christmas decoration. I keep ours on the coffee table for family and guests to flip through and reminisce.
Even though I enjoy creating elaborate scrapbooks for my family I keep this one very, very simple.
If the family sent a letter with their photo I love to tuck the photo into the sleeve right on top of the letter.
In the case of greeting cards, I save the handmade ones, and cards with heartfelt sentiments.
The rest of the cards become simple decorations for the pages.
It’s quick and easy to cut out sections of your favorite greeting cards and mount them on the card stock pages as punctuation points.
Benefits of a family and friends scrapbook
Seeing the passage of time.
I love watching my extended family and distant friends children grow up.
A clear system.
Often we don’t know what to do with this stuff. Caught between guilt and the urge to declutter we tend to defer decision making.
The binder is a concrete place to route these semi-precious memories.
Archive of poignant memories.
My husband has an uncle with a failing memory. One Christmas he sent a greeting card with a characteristically scrawled quip.
I saved it in the binder.
It turned out to be the last piece of correspondence we received from him.
Conquer a small pocket of clutter and create a family memento.
That’s 10 minutes well spent.
If you make your own friends and family binder tell me about it. Or, even better, share a photo in the comments.
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