Create a Christmas memory book

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. ET

Christmas comes and goes faster than you can say "Santa Claus," and before you know it your family has grown. Capturing the memories of each holiday season in a special memory book gives your family a wonderful treasure that just gets better with age.

Family reading Christmas memory book

The holiday season is filled with so many new memories each year — how can you remember them all? Even the fondest of holiday memories will fade in time unless you find a way to preserve them now. Start a Christmas memory book this year and begin a tradition that your family can carry on for generations.

Who, what and where?

Even the most mundane of details take on greater significance when shared years later. Write down special visitors who stopped by, whose house you visited while delivering cookies, holiday celebrations you attended and who else was there. Lots of things change over the years — favorite neighbors move away, children just keep getting older and beloved family members pass away. Documenting these interactions with family and friends helps us remember and reflect on the holidays.

Favorite memories

One fun thing to capture each year is a favorite holiday season memory from each family member. It doesn't have to be important to anyone else, just memorable to them. Maybe your husband loved seeing your expression when the tree fell over or your son couldn't get enough of watching holiday movies as a family. As your children get older, their favorite things will change — and looking back will bring a smile.

Best cards

So many Christmas cards wind up being thrown away when the holidays end. Each year, there are always a few from friends or relatives that really take the prize. Whether it's the hysterical family picture or just a beautiful message, keep a few of your favorites each year to add to your book — and one of yours, of course.

Favorite gifts

This isn't about the most expensive thing or the craziest, but those gifts that you always want to remember. Maybe it's the year your son received his first bicycle, or your daughter was given the stuffed rabbit she still sleeps with. Remembering who gave your family cherished items at Christmas is a great way to keep them in your hearts.

Visits to Santa

If you have a tradition of visiting Santa — at the local mall or elsewhere — including a memory and a photo of your annual visit in your Christmas memory book is crucial. In future years when your little kids are teens, these photos will make them groan — and make you grin.

Your memory book

You can make your own scrapbook and use your imagination, or you can order one that is intended to be a Christmas memory book. Most of these have enough pages to last for 20 to 25 years, plenty of time for your little family to make lasting memories. We found a few to check out.

  • Mystic Seaport Christmas Memories: This beautiful memory book from Mystic Seaport ($38) has old-fashioned designs and gorgeous artwork on each page inside — and room for 20 years of memories.
  • Christmas memory bookOur Family Christmas Legacy Journal: This Christmas journal available at Amazon ($10) will hold 25 years of your family's cherished holidays, with beautiful pages of artwork in a spiral bound book.
  • Christmas Journal: A 25 Year Christmas Diary: With original artwork on each page, this paperback holiday journal is available at Amazon ($20) and also includes space to record 25 years of Christmas memories.
  • Christmas, the Holiday Journal (seen on right): Available in red or kraft brown hardcover from Journals Unlimited ($18), this spiral bound holiday journal has room for photographs, favorite cards and memories for 25 years.

More ways to celebrate the holidays

Christmas Eve family traditions we love
10 Classic Christmas movies kids love
An old-fashioned Christmas