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Make Your Own Inspiring Traditions

Use these inspiring creations to begin the tradition of preserving your holiday memories.


In my world, Christmas really is the “most wonderful time of the year.” I have vivid memories of Christmases gone by—sights, sounds, music and the feeling of being with my family, celebrating the birth of our Savior.

One of my earliest memories is staring out the window and asking my grandpa, “Which star led the wise men to Jesus?”

He pointed to the brightest, twinkliest star and said, “I think it was that one.”

In my Sweethaven novels, I was able to create a group of friends reunited by an old scrapbook in a small cottage town on Lake Michigan.

The magic I wanted to bring to these novels—especially in A Sweethaven Christmascomes right out of my own Christmas memories, memories that prove that the details make the holiday special. And handmade details are the most special of all.

Why not try your hand at some inspiring creations of your own and begin the tradition of preserving your holiday memories for years to come?

Here are three simple ways to get started:

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  • Create a “Traditions Book”
    Make a list of your favorite Christmas traditions and photograph them as they take place throughout the season. Interview family members and record their favorites, too. When the holidays are over, assemble the photos and thoughts into a dedicated album. You can also publish the book and distribute to family members.
  • Collect family holiday recipe
    Ask extended family members to bring their favorite holiday recipe (and dish) to your Christmas gathering. Photograph the dish before everyone digs in. Afterward, assemble the recipes in a book with the photos. Consider a digital photobook resource like Blurb to create a book you can duplicate for each member of the family.
  • Assemble handmade ornaments
    Here’s an easy way to make a big impact: Purchase clear plastic ornaments from a crafts-supply store. Provide kids with a “buffet” of items they can put inside—metallic paint, glitter, tinsel or strips of holiday-patterned paper, for instance.

    Give the ornaments as gifts or save them for your own tree. Consider filling each one with a “prayer for Christmas” tucked inside as a secret surprise. Years later, when you open them, these ornaments will be like mini-time capsules of Christmas wishes.

It’s never too late to start preserving your Christmas memories. This year after Christmas, gather your photos, choose the ones that best capture your favorite memories and assemble them into a scrapbook. Be sure to include the stories that touched your heart.

Do one layout for each year, always preserving the memories that made this year different from the last.

Before long, you’ll have a priceless heirloom book full of Christmas magic. And who knows—some day, that very book may bring loved ones together again after too many years apart.

Happy handmade holidays!

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