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It's beginning to look...empty in here!

After the holidays, it always strikes me how empty the house looks when we take all the decorations down. The place looks huge and barren compared to all the homey touches we add over Christmas and New Years. One of my favorite decorations are the cards and letters we receive. I always display them on a table between my kitchen and family room, with all of the pictures smiling at us every time we walk by. It’s great to see all the faces from extended family, neighbors from our new town and old hometown, longtime friends, and new friends.

I used to gather up all the pictures and letters and put them in a plastic bag because I really didn’t want to just throw them away. Then the plastic bag made it into the bin with all the other pictures that were waiting. Waiting to be dealt with, used, enjoyed, SOMETHING. Then one year I had an idea that I’ve carried through every year since. I have a Christmas album (actually a few now). I’m not talking about anything complicated or fancy, but I take all of the important pictures, and letters and put them in a set of pages labelled with the year. I also add whatever the annual post office stamp is to the front page along with our family photo card. It is so fun to look at the changes in everyone through the years, particularly the children as they grow. (As a side note, I take my favorite non-picture Christmas cards and cut them up to be tags for presents next year!)

It takes me about two hours start to finish to add the year’s collection to the album, and it’s a fun afternoon project. It also makes me happy to know that I have done something meaningful with all of those smiles and adorable pictures everyone sends to us!

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