Create a Family Christmas Theme Album

The year my husband and I got married I started a Family Christmas Album with the intention of adding a few layouts year after year. It has really served me well! Each year I do about three 2-page spreads which feature photos of the traditional activities like decorations around the house, gift openings, Christmas dinner etc. As well, I try to journal about all the activities we did, friends we saw etc. and I like to keep a lot of the very meaningful Christmas cards as well. I figure that the album will last our family about 7-10 Christmases before I need to create a new one.


When doing a theme album over several years you can approach it in a couple of ways. You can choose and purchase enough materials to complete the entire album (about 45 -50 pages worth), and create an album kit by placing all the materials you will use together in a craft keeper, box or other container. The benefit of this is that you will have a very consistent look to your album and you will always have the product you need to quickly complete layouts after the holidays are over.


Another suggestion is to pick a new collection of materials each year. Almost every manufacturer will put out a Christmas or Winter Holiday line. You could pick your favorite each year and do all your layouts for that year using those products. The benefit of this is that each year is highlighted in a different way and you won’t get bored using fresh supplies!


Here’s a tip – when you find a layout you like, re-use it! Not only will it give your album consistency, but you save time searching for new plans for layouts.


Remember that you can add more than just photos to your Christmas Album. If you want to save and incorporate some of the holiday cards you received from friends into your album, here are a few things to consider:

  • You can create a pocket for your cards or some companies have ready-made ones. Slip your cards into the pocket and then put your page protector on. Your cards will be kept safe, yet still be accessible.
  • Remember that adding cards will add a lot of bulk to your album. If you don’t want this to happen, you could consider photographing a group of cards as they are displayed in your home, use the photograph in your layout and then keep the cards in a safe place for future re-visiting.
  • Choose just a few special cards to keep. I always keep the cards from my husband and parents, and now the cards from my sons will stay in the album too. Last year we received a card from the Prime Minister of Canada, so we definitely had to keep that one!
  • I love it when friends and family send us photocards at Christmas…the message and image are on the front, adding no more bulk to your layout than a regular photo. These photocards could even be made into an attractive layout of their own.
  • You can also trim the back off the card and just use the front of the card in your scrapbook pages. Treat each card as if it were a photograph and create a layout with them. If you do this, provide information about who sent the card as a caption, or write it on the back of the card and leave part of the card unglued so you can flip it up to see who sent it.
  • Make sure to include a copy of your family’s Christmas photocard or holiday letter as well. It’s a lovely way to document the changes your family goes through over the years.

Other things you might want to include are things like stories and poems your family traditionally reads, words to favorite songs or hymns, or even special family recipes. Don’t forget your child’s letter to Santa!


No matter what you add to your album, don’t forget to include JOURNALING! Write down all the info about the special events, activities, family traditions, feelings and moments shared. This can be done in whichever format you choose – captions, a bulleted list or a few simple paragraphs. You think you will always remember certain details about each event, but unfortunately over time our memories fade. Also, you want others to be able to relive the moments, even if you are not there to tell the story.

Each year I write a summary of the events and happenings of the holiday season, add a few coordinating embellishments and inlcude it with the other layouts. You could of course do this on the computer instead of handwriting it!


One last tip: to save a little time and space, look for page plan or sketches that include many photos so you can include many of the highlights of your holiday on one layout.
Above all, showcase the things that have special meaning to YOU. It wil help make your Christmas Album one that your family and friends will enjoy looking at for years to come!

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