Tuesday, February 14, 2012

91 Greetings! How We Organize Holiday Cards

Happy Love Day!

It dawned on me this weekend that around the holidays, I was getting asked frequently about how I was going to organize all of the greeting cards I had received.  Then, it dawned on me that I hadn't actually ever shared the system with you.  Better late than never!  And since today, cards will be given and received, I thought it was the perfect time to pop in with our system.

Here is what I had started with:


Raise your hand if you have been there.  Or still are?  It's OK.  I promise you are not alone.

I love to take photos, but one thing that seems to happen is that I acquire photos of immediate family, mostly my kids and some of our pets.  Above and beyond that, the photos I have of most of our relatives and friends is limited.  That is why I love photo greeting cards.  I get to keep a great photo of my loved ones, each year!  But what good does it do me to leave them in a pile in a box?  How often do I take time to look back through the old photos and smile?  How often do my kids look at the pictures and watch everyone grow with them?  Not at all.  Because they are in a box.  Out of site, out of mind.

So, I decided to organize them a bit better.  I started out by sorting the photos into stacks, by family.  That way, I could go from there and easily figure out the year of each photo.


From there, I sorted down by year.



To encourage frequent trips down memory lane, I decided I would rather the cards live in a photo album on our family room bookshelf.


I found this album at Target for $8.  Not only is it acid free {which is always important when storing photos}, but it is also has the magnetic pages.  This was important because the greeting cards come in every single shape and size imaginable, and the pages give you the freedom to arrange however is clever {there are no dividers for each photo, just a blank slate of a page}:


The rest was simple.  I just printed the year on a 4x6 index card:


And then added the greetings from that year!  Everything from birth and wedding announcements, to birthday invites and holiday greetings.  Anything that has a photo of a loved one!




Some additional notes:
  • I saved the "year" index card template to my computer so each year I can just print another and keep on going
  • I used my paper slicer to cut down some of the edges of the cards to get them to fit
  • Going forward, I will be writing down the year on the back of the card when it is received, to make any future organizing a breeze
 Such a simple project, it only took me about 30 minutes to get my entire stack put into the album.  And I love it so much, I might just snag another album or two, to keep for expanding year after year.

I am sure you are wondering about greeting cards as well?  The kind without the photo.

I only keep those that are REALLY special.  You know, the ones with sweet words and kind thoughts.  The rest are recycled.  If I kept every single holiday and birthday card for each kid and the hubs and I, they would be coming out of our ears.

There are a couple of ways to preserve those cards, you could scan them in and keep them digitally, or you could make a card "book" out of them by adding rings:

{source}

Your turn!  How are you organizing your greetings?  Any other fun and creative ideas?  Love ya!


91 comments:

  1. Great idea! Every year we take the holiday cards that we receive and string them up in a garland across the mantle. Then in the fall, I use them to decorate our deck outside. Here in Northern California it's pretty warm and dry, so we can enjoy eating outside and reminiscing about previous year's cards and friends.

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  2. Jen that is BRILLIANT! I would have never thought to put them in a photo album -- but its perfect -- especially since you and the kiddos can look through all of them any time of the year and then watch your fam/friends grow through the years b/c all the xmas cards are all lined up together! =) Love it!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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    Replies
    1. Just heard this idea the other day! Great idea! I keep all of mine and upcycle them into gift tags or simply fold cardstock and re glue the picture design and make a new card..especially the handmade ones...

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    2. I upcycle our cards too! They become the package tags on gifts the following year.

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  3. We only keep ours for a year. They live in a drawer in our living room and every night, the kids pull out 1-2 and we re-ready the card, share with our kids how we know them and say a prayer for their family. At the end of the year, they all go in the recycle bin. The only exception is immediate family and I put those in a notebook in clear plastic sleeves.

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  4. i save cards that have cute embellishments, designs, pictures, etc. and cut them up to use for scrapbooking.

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  5. I keep mine in a basket as they arrive, but I don't hold onto them long-term. One thing we have done a time or to is what Kathryn says just above -- to pray for one family each evening when we pray before dinner.

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    Replies
    1. We do that, too, Lori! Sometimes we share our favorite moments spent with that family during the past year.

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  6. Great Idea. I have only made it to step one and mine are all in a drawer with no final destination

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  7. Very sweet! I'm afraid mine always just get thrown in a box.

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  8. In the past I have cut out just the photo part and added a magnet to the back. Then I put them on the side of our fridge for my boys to look at. This year I made a mini album similar to the one above with rings. I love that we can flip through photos of our family and friends. You can see how I made mine here http://scrapinspired.com/2012/01/a-christmas-card-mini/

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  9. I love your idea-nice and simple. We have lived in 6 states so I like to keep our friend's Christmas cards in groups by state. I use the small-sized scrapbook pages and each family gets their own section of pages. One family in particular sends out the BEST newsletter every year-so I save that in a little sleeve. As each family sends out a graduation or wedding or birth announcement, I scrapbook that in their section as well. It does take time and I haven't even started this years crop of cards! It's fun to see the progression in their lives-even if we can't be there in person!

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  10. Love the idea of putting the Christmas cards and such from friends in an album. We each have a photo box that I keep our other greeting cards in, that way we can look through them whenever. There are several charities that collect the fronts of cards and recycle them.

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  11. This is a great system! I had boxes full of old cards, so I finally created a system of my own! I divided the cards up into different categories (wedding, birthday, from my grandparents, from my husband, etc). I hole-punched them and slipped them into binder rings. I made little covers for each "pack" of cards. It's really easy to add to them now and I can pull out each pack for a little pick-me-up!

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  12. I cut down the photo cards (take out the greeting etc.) and just keep the photo and make a 2pg. spread collage. I do scrapbook and htis works well with that but you don't have to scrapbook to make a collage of photos on 12x12 paper. I date it and I write in names very small so that I fit them in a much smaller amount of space. I have only those in one album!! I like how it is working out!

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  13. I'm in the same boat. I have the pile of cards on the coffee table and the cover printed. I like the simplicity of the mini books with binder rings for ours. Easy access is good especially for flipping through them more regularly.

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  14. This is a great idea!
    We have a basket that we put the new cards in every year, and they just live happily with the previous years cards. Like you, we only save cards with pictures.
    I think we get way less cards then you, however! :)

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  15. I do 'Ali Edwards' photo collage version. Punch a square out of each picture, adhere to scrapbook page. It gives the same feeling of keeping the cards with a lot less pages to keep! Check it out: http://michellepaige.blogspot.com/2011/02/family-christmas-album.html

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    Replies
    1. What a great idea. Thanks for the link and example

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  16. Thank you for great idea. I have same problem with photo greeting card that I kept couple of years. Im going to use your idea. Thank you!

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  17. Thank you for great idea. I have same problem with photo greeting card that I kept couple of years. Im going to use your idea. Thank you!

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  18. In the past I have done what Michelle Paige has suggested with Christmas Cards. But now I have a Creative Memories Power Sort Box with dividers that I use to store all my birthday, baby, Christmas, anniversary etc cards by subject and year. Safer than a shoebox and I can always look back on people's well wishes from the birth of my son and other great times.

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  19. you've got great looking friends.

    i did the same thing about a week ago, but with a walmart photo album for around $5. not nearly as cute.

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  20. Woah, talk about impeccable timing! I just started on my newest organizing venture yesterday and have started a pile of the old cards I just can't make myself part with. An album to look back over is just the ticket! Thanks so much for all the inspiration, I've been putting it to great use at home!
    www.justawhimsicalworld.blogspot.com

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  21. We've been doing this exact method with our cards since we got married in '07! It's so easy!

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  22. Great idea I never thought of that one. I can't believe I never thougt of that idea thank you.

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  23. I did the same thing except we got the sleeve inserts for our photo binder and just slid them in.

    It's a great way to see how your friends and family have grown over the years.

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  24. My sweet, sweet grandma (who has since passed on) had the perfect idea for all those Christmas cards. She came up with a Christmas ABC Poem, and applied it to a book-like template - with each letter of the alphabet in its own stanza, printed on its own page. (i.e., A is for Angels, with halos so bright... etc.) She would affix each page (printed on red or green cardstock) with a greeting card whose picture corresponds with that letter. So "A" would have a card with angels on it.

    Of course, each page goes in a plastic protector sheet, back to back, and the whole thing goes into a pretty red or green 1/2" binder. You can either sew a pretty, quilted binder cover if you're extremely gifted like Grandma, or if you're me? I just take some contact paper and laminate a nice picture from a favorite greeting card to the front.

    For years and years, we have kept every Christmas card that works within the poem, and once in a while I have even gotten desperate to finish a book for someone's gift, and rewritten a stanza or two to fit cards I already have. (i.e., "J is for Jolly" becomes instead "J is for Jingle Bells.")

    These books have become a coveted treasure in our family and everyone wants one!

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    1. By the way Jen, I have been getting you in my inbox ever since my friend Sar over at Life of Love told me about you! Your posts are pure enjoyment, thank you for all you do! And if you'd like, I'd be happy to send you the poem template. :) Happy Valentine's Day!

      Eden

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    2. That sounds just lovely! Such a wonderful tradition!!

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  25. Hi
    Great Idea, Any suggests for those Valentine cards that the kids get from school. My son is in second grade and I have over 50 Valentine Cards and don't know what to do with them.
    Love your blog.
    Vanessa

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm... is there a sentimental attachment or reason to keep? Maybe just pick a few favorites and create a scrapbook page? We don't keep them. With three boys in school we see approx 75 per year and I just don't have the space.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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    2. The only reason for keeping them is most of them are handmade. My oldest son loves to keep photos, cards from his friends from school.

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  26. This is such a great idea, thank you for sharing! I've been trying to think of a way to store the cards from our wedding last month, which are all different shapes and sizes. This sounds like a great solution!

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    1. Suggestions for wedding cards: We had a photo book that the guests signed at the wedding reception. I just cut out the greetings of the cards we got in the mail and with gifts and glued them into the photo book like a scrapbook. It is a fun way to look back and remember the advice that people gave us!

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  27. For those non-photo greeting cards that aren't otherwise worth saving, I sometimes cut out the greeting (Happy Holidays, etc), punch a hole in it, attach a ribbon, and voila, I have a gift tag!

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    1. Love the idea to reuse! Thank you for the great tip!

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  28. Did you place the pictures by family in the album or just photos by year?

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    1. Just by year - I sorted by family first to figure out the year, but I didn't get too picky about placement in the album.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  29. I do the same thing, but sort mine by family, rather than by year, so that we can marvel at how much everyone has changed from year to year.

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  30. I want to give this a try with the tons of Birthday cards I have from over the years.
    Happy Valentines day

    http://barnyardchic.blogspot.com/

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  31. This Christmas I decided since they are so pretty why not cut the greeting cards and turn them into ornaments to go with the hand made ornaments the kids have made through the years. They could even help me with that project when I get around to it next year.

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  32. We had ours taped up on the kitchen wall and I actually just pulled them down yesterday. I was tempted to toss them but an album is a great alternative!

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  33. We don't get many photo cards and our recycling bin is our organisational tool for this one. The thought of keeping them all and sorting and finding a place for them (or the lovely album) is too much for me. I move too often and just don't want extra 'stuff' around even though the sentimentalist in me would adore this!

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  34. I punch holes & use rings to make a book. On the blank sides I add more photos of that event or write down special memories that correspond to the event, I do one for every year & they sit on our book shelf or coffee table.

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  35. I only keep Christmas cards from immediate family. I put them on a bulletin board to look at all year long and then replace them with the new ones every December. The rest get recycled.
    We got a lot of cards when we got married and I really wanted to keep them because so many contained great words of wisdom and advice. We had a photo book at our reception that guests signed as they came in. I cut out the greetings from the cards we received and glued them into the photo book with the other signatures (kind of like a scrapbook). It is a fun way to look back on our wedding memories and the advice we were given!

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  36. Some things don't need to be cutely organized, they simply need to be recycled.

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    1. Just depends on your personal preference. As someone who doesn't typically keep too many things, I do love to hold on to holiday greeting cards {the ones with photos}. I adore my friends and family, therefore it's important to me to dedicate one photo album to them. It was so fun organizing all of the greetings and looking back at how everyone has grown and changed over the years. It's also great for my kiddos to be able to see photos of our friends and family that reside around the country. And as sad as it is, I just don't get to personally take photos of many family members due to distance and busy schedules. This way, I get at least one of them each year. xoxo! Jen

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  37. What does it mean to be magnetic? I am confused about how the pages work? Are the sticky? Thanks :)

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    1. Yep, "magnetic" just means that they are sticky to hold the photos on the page.

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  38. Hi Jen! Great post! Here is how I organize mine! :)

    http://www.thesunnysideupblog.com/2010/01/christmas-card-pages.html

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  39. What a great idea! I can't wait to try it. ;)

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  40. Love your albums Jen! I have all my Christmas cards organized with just the binder/book rings that you pictured. I put them in alphabetical order by each family's last name. I also do a new one for each year and at Christmas I put the little "albums" in a cute basket so we can look back at past Christmases :) But, I love your idea of including other greeting cards, announcements, etc in your albums other than just Christmas cards!

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  41. Here in the UK, cards which feature family photographs are very rare, although occasionally people will slip a photo in with a purchased card. I sometimes keep the photo for a little while, but mostly I recycle the whole lot - photos, cards, everything!

    I have our wedding cards, the boys' birth congratulation cards, and those from significant birthdays (my eldest's 18th), but apart from that, I get rid of them! I honestly would never look at them!

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  42. I was just going to ask would you still do the photo album idea even if the cards aren't photo greeting cards then I scrolled down to the great idea of binder rings. I keep cards too but because I can't stand clutter after so many years I weed through some to get rid of them and I feel so bad doing that. I can't help but hold on to the ones that mean so much to me. Thanks for the ideas.

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  43. What a fun way to save the cards. I haven't used one of those albums in years.
    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

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  44. I scan all my cards, and put them in a special folder on my computer. Then, when the holiday season rolls around, I make that folder of photos my screensaver. I feel like we see them a lot more this way! And it only takes about 10 minutes after each holiday season to scan all the cards.

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    1. such a great idea :)

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    2. Oh my goodness that is a genius idea! Love it!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  45. I keep each family's cards together so we can see them side by side. I label them if they aren't already and love to see the progression of each family as I add the new batch of cards each year.

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  46. Usually I cut down cards to recycle pieces for future cards. Earlier this year, one of my friends gave me a great idea that I started this Christmas too. I bought a gift tag punch and punched out gift tags from the front of all of the cards I didn't want to recycle pieces from for other projects. For photo cards I put up on our kitchen pantry door for a while and then put in a frame or cut down and put in a photo album or scrapbook.

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  47. Usually I cut down cards to recycle pieces for future cards. Earlier this year, one of my friends gave me a great idea that I started this Christmas too. I bought a gift tag punch and punched out gift tags from the front of all of the cards I didn't want to recycle pieces from for other projects. For photo cards I put up on our kitchen pantry door for a while and then put in a frame or cut down and put in a photo album or scrapbook.

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  48. I have always just recycled them in years past, but I LOVE this idea, as it is so hard to part with them. I'm definitely giving this a try.

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  49. What a GREAT Idea!! I love putting things in binders, lol. I'm definitely doing this.

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  50. We don't keep our cards for more than a few months after Christmas. In the interest of space, we recycle them.

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  51. I put my photos in an album, and then I use the cards the following year to make gift tags. I just cut off the fronts of the cards and trim them smaller if I need to, punch a hole in them and tie them onto gifts. Flip it over to write who the gift is for!

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  52. We haven't tried saving our received cards this way, but we do have some stacks of our own photo cards we like to send to new friends. To make sure we don't send duplicates in following years, we add a note to our "sent and received" list to indicate which card we have sent to which friends. In this way we're always sending something new . . . even if we do look "suspiciously younger" in some of them!

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  53. Just and FYI, if you are getting rid of your cards consider donating them to a Child Care Center. They always apprecieate donating things and the kids LOVE cutting them up. If they are going in the trash/recycling let someone else love them first.

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    Replies
    1. Such a great tip! Thank you so much for pointing that out, you are SO right!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  54. I just went to Target and found this exact album...for 8$! I plan on making it a running scrapbook-like journal for wedding invitations, baby shower invites, and holiday photos. My husband and I are trying to be more thrifty in general, so to find something so nice that will bring me so much pleasure is priceless. :)

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  55. Yet ANOTHER timely post!

    Last year, I FINALLY got around to organizing our greeting and photo cards. I, like you, kept only the more sentimental cards but ALL the photo cards. Getting them down to the right year was enough to make me put that project away for awhile!

    I recently purchased binder rings and thought to do group them together like that. I also had some small three-ring binders. I HAD thought of an album and seeing your post solidified that that is the way to go! At least for the photo cards. Looking forward to continuing this project and getting it done!

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  56. I cut out the picture itself and place it in little frame ornaments, most of them have year inprinted on them. That way we look at them every christmas. I do it only with our family pics. The other ones i store in the box. Some I recycle. I like the binder idea and reuing them for scrapbooking.

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  57. Love the ideas! I am that person with greeting cards coming out of her ears! However sometimes to reuse the cards I actually cut them up and remake new greeting cards with scrapbooking supplies! And the other thing that I just learned this year is that our local Children's hospitals collect christmas cards to remake cards with as well! So I will most definitely be helping them out, and donating some of my gigantic stack!

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  58. Nice idea! Love the fact that the cards are nice and put away, but the memories pictures are still accessible. Thanks for posting!

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  59. I like to save holiday photos from cards, too, but I organize them by person. Each family has a page (or several, if we have been exchanging cards for years) and I cut out the picture part of their card and stick it in next to previous years' pictures, labeling names and the date. It is fun to see the families change, children grow, etc. Some of our friends' pages start with their wedding announcement picture and we still get cards from them today! It is great!

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  60. I love this idea of repurposing calendars and cards:

    http://sueneal.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-post.html

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  61. found you by clicking on a comment you left on a another blog, your blog looks great !, also as a newbie i am impressesed on how your top menu looks, that's my next target !, any tips ? ,

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  62. Mine from this year and last year are in a red Xmas basket, still in living room. I only keep ones from family members/relatives..I try to make sure if the family that has sent it hasn't dated it or put names/ages of children,etc. on the back, I write it on myself. I am careful to use a pen that will not press through the photos. My siter-in-law uses wide labels, and writes on the labels first, then sticks on back of photo..thus not marring the photo. This can be done by computer or one's own handwriting.

    You showed putting the Holiday photo cards in order by year..but you mentioned that the album has magetic pages..I always thought those pages were not good for photos and not acid free..Have you ever tried to remove photos after years of being in one of those albums? Almost impossible to do without damaging the photos.."Been there, done that!" Maybe the new type of albums have improved to include acid free paper?

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    1. The sticker on the cover said "Acid Free" {shown in photo above}, so I assumed they would be photo safe! :)

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  63. What font is the wood grain looking font that you used for the year? I seen this and went to to Target and unknowingly picked up the same photo album :)

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    1. Hi Jenn!

      The font is "ultra" font - you can download it here: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/ultra I just used a wood grain graphic to fill in the lettering in Microsoft Excel.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  64. This year, I took a picture with my cell phone of the people in each of my holiday cards and saved them to their contact information on my phone. Now, whenever I get an e-mail, a call or text from someone near and dear, their lovely family photos pop up! And anytime I want to see their faces, I just open up their contact file on my phone! :)

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  65. That way, I could go from there and easily figure out the year of each photo.
    Hank Hendricks
    Send gifts to Pakistan from UK

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  66. It's good manner to share about the collection of greeting cards among people. i love your all cards with added photos. i have also many of Christmas photo cards online you can visit and watch out my unique collection.

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  67. I never knew what to do with those photo cards but this is wonderful. Thanks :)

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  68. Hi Jen, I love this idea! I always struggle with this, because I want to keep everything! I came across this post today and started right away sorting my Christmas cards and other invitations, ticket stubs, etc from the 4 years we have been married. It's so great to finally make a decision on how to organize them, instead of waiting on time to scrapbook - matching photos to events and printing photos takes too much time for me! I have sorted my photo cards in an accordian file until I can get to the store to buy an album. The rest of the sentimental items without photos are going in a hardcover notebook as collage pages organized by year. Thanks for always inspiring me to live organized!

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