I absolutely love the photo cards that more and more families send out each Christmas/New Years. I know some people prefer the folded cards with seasonal images, but (even if there’s no personal note) I love seeing photos of families, especially from friends I don’t get to see in person very often. We don’t get a lot – only about half a dozen each year. I put them on display until Jan 6th along with my Christmas things, but then all the cards go into a box marked “correspondence” which I go through a couple of times a year. I keep letters and papers from people I care about in there, and most cards go in there for at least a little while – before I transfer them from the small box in the living room to the shoebox in my closet I check to see if there’s a personal message and generic cards that just have a scrawled signature go into the recycle bin.
My December/Christmas/Project Life pages have provided a good home for photo cards I’ve received in the last couple of years. But when I went to sort my cards out this year I noticed that I had quite a backlog/collection of old photo cards. One family has sent us photo cards of their kids for over a decade (and hubby might actually have some that are even older). Another family didn’t send photo cards every year, but even those sporadic cards show their kids growing up.
I’d seen a blog post about a plan for holiday photo cards from Becky Higgins a couple of times and this year I decided I might be brave enough to actually do it. The thing is that you cut up the card, which is hard for me if the card is really well designed and meshes with my taste. Luckily most of the cards I was handling weren’t really my style, so I was able to see past the designed card and just see the kids in the photo. And almost every card was easily able to be trimmed down to a single 3×4″ photo of the kids or the family – the bit that really counts, the bit which is worth keeping. If there were multiple photos I focused on the one with the family together but usually had space to add one of the kids, piecing them together on a scrap of 3×4″ paper.
Once I started I got braver and braver and soon all of my cards were cut up. I added dates if that information got cut off, if I could figure the date out (half of the cards didn’t actually have dates). I slipped the card into pockets in order, making spreads of families growing from toddlers to teenagers. Well, for two families at least. The rest are a little more sporadic or recent, but I collected them all together and tossed away all the extra bits of the cards that didn’t really add anything to the memories.
Now I have several pages of photos of our friends and their kids through the years tucked at the back of my Christmas album where I can easily browse through them. I treated photos the same way as photo cards – just trimmed if necessary to fit in a pocket. I also cut up a few pretty Christmas cards of the store-bought-image variety to add in where there were gaps – just for fun. The cards I’m keeping for their messages are back in the correspondence box, sorted by who they are from.
I know some people might think me silly for keeping all these cards at all. And others are probably horrified that I would even think about cutting them up. The cool thing is you get to decide how you feel about things like this. If the pieces of cardboard and paper are not important to you, don’t keep them. If they mean a lot, keep them all. I think it’s worth considering whether the important part is the picture, the words, the design, or the whole thing. That will help you decide what part(s) to keep and in what form. The pieces I threw in the trash had no value to me and in some cases distracted from the part that really did matter – the photos and the message (whether written or implied) that we are important to each other. Putting these cards together into a timeline, a collection that I could see at a glance, increased their value to me.
So, do you have a correspondence box? Do you keep letters and cards? If you throw them away do you wait a while? Or are you like one of my dear friends (opposites attract) who would read the birthday card I gave her and toss it straight into the bin in front of me?! What do you think of this project?
Thanks for stopping by!
PS. Sorry that the photos are not the best. We are sunlight-deprived here lately.