Every December, we pull out a few piles of Christmas books and stack them on our coffee table so we can read them throughout the month. We are beginning to get a pretty big collection, so we try to rotate the books, but two that we always read are J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas and Allan and Janet Ahlberg's The Jolly Christmas Postman.
Letters from Father Christmas is a compilation of letters that Tolkien wrote and illustrated for his three sons over the course of twenty years. The letters describe what Father Christmas does the rest of the year at the North Pole, including lots of cleanup from his accident-prone North Polar Bear and problems with the goblins who live at the N.P. The link above is to the full collection of Tolkien's letters. We have a small hardcover version of the book that contains only a selection, but they are printed as actual letters and placed in envelopes so they can be taken out and read. Very fun!
In this story, the Jolly Postman delivers the mail to several familiar nursery rhyme characters: Red Riding Hood gets a fun game from Mr. Wolf, Humpty Dumpty receives a puzzle while he's in the hospital mending from his fall, the Gingerbread Boy gets a tiny book just his size. Even the Postman himself gets a little pop-up surprise from Santa Claus. All the mail comes in little envelopes so you can slip it out to play with it.
Now, on to the DIY part...
Like most parents, we have a baby book for our son. To keep track of all the cards and letters we have sent out, I use the blank pages in the back of the book (for clippings, artwork, extra pictures, etc.). Whenever I want to include a card, I glue the envelope to the page and slip the card or letter inside. Each year I keep our family Christmas card, letter, and photo, and I write a little note to my son in the card. I also keep a few other cards, like his first birthday invitation.
We all love to leaf through the book, open the envelopes, and pull out all the old Christmas cards. We are running out of room, so we may move to a scrapbook of some kind next. No matter what kind of book you use, a collection of family Christmas cards over the years would be so much fun to look through later.
All you have to do is save a card, write a note inside to your children (or have everyone scribble down something they want to remember about that year), and paste all the envelopes into a book. Don't forget to write the date or a description beside each card. You could add family photos if you have space, but I think the best part is the envelopes themselves.
Have fun making your own little Christmas book of letters!