Five years ago, I convinced both my family and my husband's family to forgo a typical gift exchange at Christmas and instead... to exchange family scrapbook pages. Surprisingly, everyone was on board pretty quickly and we decided to each create a 2 page layout that depicted our family that year, then duplicate it for everyone and exchange. As you can imagine, we now all have an AMAZING family album... and with our 5th year approaching, it is becoming a true family treasure and heirloom.
If you add together both families... my husband and I have 9 siblings... and 9 families is tough to keep tabs on, especially when we live all over the country, literally. With us in New Jersey and siblings as far West as Washington, it's a challenge to stay connected. I haven't seen some of the sibling families for years, but every year... I am excited to get their pages and see how their kids have grown. I'm also excited to show them what our family has been up to as well. Anytime my kids want to see their cousins... we can pull out our album and it keeps them close.
Just last month, we attended a wedding and my brother-in-law got out his album to show his kids which cousins were coming to the wedding. Even though it had been more than 2 years since we had seen them, the kids knew each other immediately. It was awesome. :)
The first couple of years, I scrapbooked my pages with paper and after duplicating the same layout 12 times (1 each for the 9 sibling families, 1 for both sets of parents, plus a set for myself)... it became a near impossible (and expensive) task. That's when digital scrapbooking was born in my heart - I realized I only had to create the page once... then with a click of the mouse, ordering duplicates was easy and WAY inexpensive. With printing AND shipping, our family gift exchange on both sides together costs me less than $40 a year. It's not only brilliant from a budget perspective, it's creating a priceless album that we all love and cherish... far more than any game or sweater we might have gotten each other.
Like I said.... BEST. TRADITION. EVER.
Just like with all the printables you see on my blog and in my shop... I use a super easy scrapbook design program called Scrapbook Max. They are offering a free 30 day trial, so if you are even just curious about giving digital scrapbooking or digital art a try... you should give it a whirl! I have several tutorials (HERE) to help you get started and will be easy tasks to try out with your trial. Give it a try, I'm betting you'll be glad you did!