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.