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Preserve Seasonal Memories with Handcrafted Holiday Binders

The American holiday season is a festive time of year when family and friends gather to celebrate traditions, share special moments and make new memories. Part of the season’s tradition involves taking pictures and capturing videos of special moments for posterity. Another memory-keeping tradition that is growing in popularity is creating holiday binders.

Holiday binders are handmade, personally designed memory books that hold documents, photos, recipes, handicrafts and other sentimental keepsakes related to the holiday season. Handcrafting these books is enjoyable for all generations, either as a group activity around the dining room table or as a centering activity in private.

Holiday binders are primarily created out of simple three-ring binder notebooks and typically decorated with holiday themes. Writers in the family may prefer designating hardcover journals as holiday memory books, although the rigid binding limits the flexibility and interchangeability of content that loose-leaf binders allow.

There are no hard-and-fast rules to creating a holiday binder to store your special memories. Part of the fun of any DIY project is having complete authority over how you want it to look and what contents you want it to hold. To help you get off to a good start in making one of your own, here are a few suggestions:

Holiday Binder Materials:

  • Heavy-duty, three-ring, loose-leaf view binder with transparent front cover for your cover sheet and inside pockets. Select one large enough to hold 200 to 300 sheets, allowing ample space to grow your content.
  • Three-hole punched notebook paper, lined or blank
  • Standard size construction paper heavy enough to hold collages
  • Transparent, three-ring page protectors to hold delicate documents, photos and letters
  • Page dividers to organize contents by topic
  • Hardback artist’s or writer’s journal of lined or blank pages (as an option to the loose-leaf binder)

Cover Décor:

  • You may want to decorate the binder covers with the colors and symbols of a particular holiday such as a Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.
  • Consider a collage of individual photos of family members or use a family portrait on the cover.
  • Cover the binder with a sketch of your family tree with family names attached to each branch.

Content Suggestions:

  • Journal entries
  • Holiday or generational recipes
  • Shopping, grocery and gift lists (may sound mundane but become special, historic memories over time)
  • Traditions and rituals
  • Old letters
  • Photographs
  • Concert stubs
  • Bus, plane and train tickets
  • Photos of or actual cash and paper denominations (which may soon become relics in this digital age)


  • You may name binders after a cultural or national holiday and include related content.
  • Consider focusing on a departed family member and include mementos of their life.
  • Each family member can create a life story binder to present as a holiday gift or add to a family collection.

Photo by eli_asenova

Need help? The Heirloom Digital team is pleased to offer you a free consultation on our personalized storytelling service. Get in touch today and let’s visit. 


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