How to Create a Family and Friends Scrapbook in 10 Minutes
Preserving photo cards, annual letters and greetings
The fridge is plastered with Christmas photo cards. These are your friends, your 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.
Now 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.
There is a solution.
A Christmas friends and family binder will solve your Christmas mail clutter. The binder will alleviate guilt. And 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
Keep it simple.
Put a stack of page protectors in the binder.
Grab your card stock, 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 you’re done.
Each sheet will hold 2-3 typical photo cards.
I like to keep each family together so I can see how they change. You could also put the photos in the book in chronological order.
If you have a backlog of photos tucked around the house, just add them as you find them.
The sheet protector system makes the pages easy to rearrange.
For a deluxe version.
Slide 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.
The 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 know I’m never going to 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.
When and how to update the binder:
November is ideal.
Freshen the binder and get it ready for display.
This is a favorite Christmas decoration. It sits 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.
Tape the photos to a piece of card stock and voila, it’s done.
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 album:
Seeing the passage of time.
I love watching distant relatives and friends families as they get older. I don’t include these photos in my regular scrapbooks but I love seeing how my cousins kids change each year.
A clear system.
Often we don’t know what to do with this stuff. Caught between guilt and the urge to declutter. The binder is a concrete place to route these semi-precious memories.
Archive of poignant memories.
My husband has an uncle who’s mind is failing. He used to send us letters on a regular basis. 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.
Simple and easy.
All the memories and none of the guilt!
If you make your own friends and family binder share a photo in the comments.
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