Completed 2013 Holiday Album

by | Projects & Processes | 14 comments

Back in November I shared my plan for scrapbooking the holiday season very simply. It all boils down to this:

Photograph. Print. Insert. Done.

I am excited to finally share portions of the completed album as well as a few reflections on the process.

To begin the assembly process, I edited and printed 42 December photos. The album holds 80, but I knew I only had around 50 of the decorative cards.

Just for context, I began with around 500 photos in my library and deleted roughly half. Two-thirds of those were edited, many in batch, and then I gave my favorites three stars. There happened to be 42.

Along the way, I went ahead and marked a few additional non-holiday December photos for layouts and pocket pages.

I spread out the photos on my card table, in pairs and in chronological order. Then I took the deck of decorative cards and began matching them to photos.

I started with the sentiments, matching related photos to the words. Then I filled in the gaps with purely decorative cards. I also tried to only have one sentiment per page.

After the entire album structure was designed, I started inserting the cards and photos into the album. I began with our Christmas card, which I reprinted on my own printer. (More on that below.)

I had originally used our rounded-corner Christmas card on the first page. But when I inserted the photo of my daughter and the advent chain, I realized the square corners were showing. This initiated the age-old mental discussion – to round or not to round?

I rounded the corners of that first photo, but saw it didn’t match the corners on the Christmas card. It was at this moment I realized I had zero desire to round the corners of 42 photos.

So I re-printed the Christmas card with square corners and was really happy with the result.

Moving on, I continued to insert the photos and cards into the pockets. I loved how quickly it all came together. I think it was only 10-15 minutes to fill the album.

The bulk of time on this project was spent on editing the photos. I tried hard not to be a perfectionist about each photo, because there were so many to work on.

My favorite part of the assembly was finding natural photo pairs. I loved the two images of my daughter with the milk and cookies for Santa. She was so surprised that Santa ate the cookies.

It feels awesome to have this album done before the end of January, plus all of my December photos are now ready to share with family and friends on Flickr.

I love how this album turned out and how easy it was to prepare. This is truly the most simple way to scrapbook. I can see this approach working well for important birthdays too.

As much as I like it, there are two key challenges I experienced:

1. By taking photos first with a plan to scrapbook later, I found we didn’t do as much during December. It felt genuinely harder to get into the spirit of the season without a project to work on.

2. As a scrapbooker, I often think in sound-bites for journaling. Throughout the month I experienced “ooh, I have to write that down”, but didn’t have a clear home for those thoughts.

If I were to use the same format again, I would work on my album every few days and use regular journaling cards instead of decorative cards. This would allow me to spend more time with my photos and ensure that I have a home for my words as well.

Finishing this project already has me excited for next December, but I’m going to channel that energy into other pocket album projects!

What might you do differently the next time you scrapbook the holiday season?

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  1. Ann

    Thanks for sharing this approach and I love this idea. I am thinking about incorporating this for my 2012 summer photos and I have a lovely yellow Becky Higgins album that I haven’t used yet and a bunch of simple story cards related to summer. I love these albums and the simplicity but adding a bit of decorative flair to make it fun. ~Ann

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I think this would be so fun for summer and I LOVE that yellow mini album too!

  2. Kelly Sroka

    I too used a pocket-page album for my Christmas project this year. And I too got into the project and realized that I had not rounded all the corners of my photos! I stressed about this for about 2 seconds and then moved on. Next year I want to use the same pocket-page format, but I want to extend the time frame to include New Year’s Eve and Day. I never seem to get many photos of that holiday.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Moving on is definitely the key! When you can identify perfectionist anxiety and then take a step right past it, so many miracles happen.

  3. glee

    The only thing about pocket scrapbooking that bugs me is I see journaling going away. We are really just making prettier photo albums. It’s the personal journaling and written details that in my opinion make scrapbooking valuable for our future families.
    But it sure is pretty.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I think it’s good to have some of both, especially since having a photo album is better than not having any album at all.

      One counter-point though is that you see just as many traditional layouts with little to no journaling. If anything I think pockets have helped more people get words down with their photos. This project just isn’t a good example of that.

  4. Cheri Stine

    I love seeing your entire process. I am a visual learner and this really helps me see how a December daily project can be simplified. What kind of album did you use? I’m generally reluctant to try a pocket page approach because I don’t print 3 x 4 photos. your photos appear to be all 4 x 6,; is that right? What did you do with the extra spaces? how incredible it must feel to start the year with your holiday album finished! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      It’s a Project Life mini album and yes, all of my photos are 4×6. As of right now the remaining pages in the album are empty. I’m OK with it like that, but DH would like to see me printout another big batch of “tier 2” photos to fill it up.

      • keely

        Jennifer, I love that your husband has an interest in your projects.

        • Jennifer Wilson

          There are pluses and minuses to that Keely. Sometimes he’s very opinionated. For example, he doesn’t think I should ever scrapbook with photos less than 4×6. So 2×2 Instagrams REALLY annoy him. 😉

  5. LibbyW

    Loved seeing your process and what you might do differently, and hope I can find this when next holiday season rolls around.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I always create a Holiday Guide with a round-up of posts, so it will be easy to find!

  6. Cyndi

    I love the “discussion” to round or not to round! Made me giggle. I got as far as taking pictures and writing notes each day so I am proud of you for going to the next level. I agree, and have been planning in my head and even going so far as purchasing photo albums, that photos need to be printed and put somewhere, like you did with the PL format. I thought if I at least printed the photos and put them in albums then I could flip through those albums to find photos to scrapbook much easier than scrolling through a software program or fumbling in my current photo box system. I’m already learning to tag and apply stars but I need a push to get them printed. Thanks for sharing your December album.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks Cyndi. One thing to consider is that today we take far more photos than we ever could scrapbook. I would choose photos from your computer as they stand out as “scrapworthy” and just print those. Then I can see having a little photo album would be the perfect way to have these all ready to scrapbook.



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