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Organize holiday treasures

Mon., Nov. 30, 2009

Savor the joy of the holidays with a scrapbook for cards.King Features (King Features)
Savor the joy of the holidays with a scrapbook for cards.King Features (King Features)

Now that the first white advent candle is lit on our pine wreath, strings of shimmering minilights frame our kitchen window, and a flurry of Christmas cards outnumbers the junk mail in our mailbox, I can genuinely sing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

Those holiday cards in multicolored envelopes arrive from a hodgepodge of senders. Receiving personalized pieces of mail feels like an old-fashioned gesture in this digital age, and that is why I appreciate them more and more.

While sending holiday greetings via e-mail is “green,” and certainly a thrifty approach, there is something about a handmade card or handwritten greeting that pleases, as if it were a special holiday gem chosen especially for me.

Over the years, the kids and I either taped our Christmas cards to doorways or tossed them in a big bowl on the dining-room table as they arrived.

But frankly, they didn’t get the attention “gems” deserve. Then I tried something new that has proven to be a household hit. I started a simple holiday card scrapbook tradition.

I bought an inexpensive standard-style scrapbook with big, plain pages, tied a 20-inch length of ribbon to the top of the spiral binding, and attached a roll of double-sided tape to the opposite end of the ribbon so it would always be handy, dangling along the side.

As cards arrived, I simply slapped a strip of tape on the backside of the card and immediately stuck it onto a page in the scrapbook. Tiny cards, big cards, photo cards and postcards – every kind of card landed in the book in minutes.

I glued our family Christmas photo card on the cover, and attached a large envelope for storing “annual holiday letters” on the inside of the back cover. I set aside the first two pages for invitations to Christmas parties, open houses in the neighborhood and ticket stubs from concerts and plays.

During the holidays, I leave our in-process “coffee table book” out for all ages to thumb through at their leisure.

Now lined up in a neat row in our bookcase with a bit of space left for a new 2009 edition, five bulging scrapbooks have become family holiday reference books that we find ourselves reading over and over.

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series. See more at

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