Step-by-Step to start your own Family Mini Scrapbook Tradition in 2022
Step One for me is pulling out the previous six scrapbooks (six!) to reminisce and remember how to do this! But seriously, this has been a fun and amazing tradition for our family. Especially considering that we don’t have a lot of traditions. Scrapbooking is one of my hobbies, and it provides the base for this tradition. But instead of creating memories and then documenting them, the action of creating the scrapbook becomes the memory while it captures a moment in time. Wild.
STEP ONE – TIMING IS AND ISN’T EVERYTHING
There is no perfect time to start this tradition. And also, right now is the perfect time to start this tradition.
Consider who your group is, and when you will all be together for a special gathering. If you want to host this every year at a certain holiday, be prepared that plans might change down the road. And be ready to pivot! My first plan was to complete this every year at Christmas. But in year two I forget, so we completed it on New Year’s Eve. Then the next year my sister moved to Dubai!
The setting might not always look the same, which is why it’s the people that truly make this special.
STEP TWO – GATHERING THE DOCUMENTING SUPPLIES
For your documenting supplies you will need paper for your group to write on. If you already have journaling cards this size, great! If not, you can easily cut some larger paper down to size. I love this small card size – 2.5 x 3.5 – because if forces people to be succinct and it keeps all the focus on the writing and photos, requiring little other embellishment. And it’s just fun sized!
You will also need a good pen. My favourites are anything by Staedtler. In black.
The camera is also an important aspect. I’ve written about it before, but I’ll say it again: “I have been using our Instax instant camera in order to simplify the project, and ensure it gets completed in a timely fashion.” (October 2021) I also personally really like the appearance of the Instax print. If you don’t have an instant camera, use what you have, and print the photos where it is most convenient for you.
STEP THREE – CHOOSE YOUR QUESTION
This is possibly the most important part of the whole exercise, but don’t let that stress you out. I’ve got three tips for a smooth selection.
- Succinctness wins every time. It shouldn’t need a lot of explainer, or background info.
- Simple enough that even a four year old can understand. We started this tradition when one of my nephews was
- Universal enough for anyone to be able to answer. “What is your favourite wind surfing beach” is probably not the best choice, for example.
Here are some examples of my past questions, to help you get started:
- Your favourite thing about Christmas (this one can be tailored to whatever holiday your family celebrates)
- Best moment, favourite things, fun times in blank (I asked this question on afamily trip to Mexico)
- Favourite memory of the year or favourite memory of the summer
- What you are most looking forward to next year? (this one is great if you complete the journal writing at a New Year’s Eve Party)
- What is something you did this year that you are proud of?
- What is something positive you were able to do, see, or experience because of the pandemic? (this one is very specific to a time and place, but also generated a lot of lovely answers)
- What is something that brings you a ridiculous amount of JOY?
It is important to encourage honesty and seriousness from the contributors, but you also have to be okay if someone doesn’t take this as seriously as you! Sometimes my nephew didn’t want to answer the question, but he did want to include a fun drawing. My brother-in-law wrote some jokes on his card one year. And my son is a very reluctant participant, so I am always very pleased to get at least a one word answer.
STEP FOUR – ASK AND ANSWER
I like to have a bit of an explanation prepared, in case folks have questions. But otherwise, I simply present the stack of cards, a pen, and the question written out clearly on a piece of paper. Saying “no pressure, take your time” and then walking away while my each person crafts their response has also been a game-changer. If someone is really stuck, offer them your response, or a suggestion that you know might fit their personality.
Once they finished writing on their card, take a photo and put the items away.
STEP FIVE – BUILDING THE BOOK
Now it’s time to get creative! If you are already a scrapbooker or memory-keeper, or maintain a bu-jo, you are probably set for supplies! If not, here are some basic items you will need:
- Adhesive (glue stick, glue tape, etc.)
- Colourful paper
- Sticker letters or other flat embellishments for the cover and back pages
- Packing tape or washi tape
And finally, Step Six is “appreciate your hard work starting a new lovely tradition for your family or friend group”. When I come together with my family to create that year’s scrapbook, I like to leave out the previous ones. To remind them how fun, interesting, and important this tradition has become for us. Even if they grumble as I hand over the pen!
FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES
This Family Scrapbook Tradition in 2021