The Scrapbook Ghosts of Christmas Past

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking77 Comments


I recently designed a new "Holiday Memories" layered template in order to help me do something I haven't done in years: document Christmas.

I have a red Kolo binder where I keep my Christmas pages, and honestly? It's a little on the thin side. I just haven't done much Christmas scrapbooking. It's not that I'm a Scrooge or anything. I guess I just took the whole "you don't HAVE to document holidays" message a bit too seriously over the years.


But with my template in hand, an overflowing library of digital photos categorized conveniently in iPhoto by Month and Year, and one set of digital papers and embellishments, I set out to knock off a few years of Christmas past, just to see if I could. Here's layout number one:


SUPPLIES Layered Template No. 16 (Cathy Zielske) • I Believe Kit, I Believe Solids Pack (Mindy Terasawa) • Archer Medium font

And that literally took minutes. So I thought, what about 2007?


And 2006:


Boom. Just like that. Three years in less than 20 minutes. For realz.

Did I capture a complete picture of each holiday season? No. Did I capture a decent enough slice that will remind me of a time since passed? You bet.

When I was done with the designing part, I could have printed these at home, but to save ink I uploaded them to and paid $2.49 per page. The quality is stellar and I think they look fantastic in the album.


The other cool and liberating part of all of this is how you can take one design, and one set of papers and embellishments—digital ones in this case—and use them more than once to tell your stories.To me, that's not a boring approach. It's an efficient one—both from a time and financial investment standpoint—and one that let me add a group of new pages to an album that was feeling a bit neglected.

It also reminded me that there's no real time limit to when you can tell a story. That in and of itself is a pretty liberating thought. Tell it when you're ready.

I think I've got a new holiday tradition for covering a few highs from each Christmas season from this day forward. 

P.S. And this one? Took 8.5 minutes. I'm sorry, but there's some liberation in them there digital hills…

This template is also available in a 12 x 12 format.


P.S. If you like this template, but think, "Well I wish there were other title options to pair with the word 'memories'" then you're in luck. Here's a set of PNG and Brushes with different script words you can simply copy and paste into this template to cover a variety of different "memories."


Cathy ZielskeThe Scrapbook Ghosts of Christmas Past

77 Comments on “The Scrapbook Ghosts of Christmas Past”

  1. #1

    I really love this! A blog friend and I have recently decided we are the “lazy-scrappers” now that we’ve found digital templates! But really “efficient” is a much better word! Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of photos I have that I decide I can’t possibly scrap them all, but since I found digital, it’s fine to be “efficient” sometimes! 🙂

  2. #2

    Oh Cathy, these are PERFECT! The template and the word art are a perfect match! I’m so happy I feel the need to use way more punctuation than is normally required!! (Sorry…)

  3. #4

    Where were you when I decided to scrap Christmas in waaaay too much detail many years back, each and every year? Oh yes, NOT documenting Christmas! I love this idea and now my kids are teens I think this is the way to go. Thank you, yet again for showing the way 🙂

  4. #5

    These totally Rock, and now I am going to make an entire digi album about Christmas past and pretty much call it done, oh my how liberating will that be! Thanks Cathy.

  5. #6
    Tammy Eberhard

    Beautiful Cathy! You make me feel like I could catch up on old memories in no time at all! Great design as usual.

  6. #7

    Love, Love, Love it! I was just thinking about an album for “Cousins, Nieces & Nephews” to put years and years of school photos in. I was trying to get a template that I could use throughout and entire album!! This is perfect!


  7. #9

    OK, purchase made, and now I am jumping up and down with excitement because I plan to make my 10 y/o twins their own versions (made into photobooks) to give as gifts for Christmas next year. I’m thinking of adding pages of how Mum and Dad celebrated before they were born, our childhood Christmases etc. Woo hoo! It really is a great template!

  8. #10

    Cathy those layouts are lovely. I can definitely see myself taking inspiration from that design. Why invent the wheel indeed!

  9. #11

    Cathy, I used your HERE & NOW template to do a recent album of my grandson. Instead of over thinking how each page would look,to show his daily activities, it was so simple to use your template just add a few embellishments. I feel relief looking at this Memories template because I’ll soon have Christmas done for a second updated album. TKS for much for these classic desgins.

  10. #12
    Deb Rymer


    PS – Cathy, your wonderful little “thankful” album brought sweet tears to our Thanksgiving table. Thank you for your continued inspiration.

  11. #14

    Oh, the days when our teenagers loved American Girl dolls, not that long ago. Now they are sitting in the top of the closet waiting for the grandchildren…sigh.

  12. #15
    Melissa G

    CZ, you must try I used to use Scrapbook Pictures, but for 12×12 (and 8.5 x 11) pages, they are just cheaper! $1.89 for 8.5 x 11. $5 flat rate shipping. And their customer service rocks.

  13. #16
    heather (h2)

    Nice…..THIS POST COULD HAVE SAVED ME OOOOOODLES OF TIME if you would have posted this BEFORE the weekend:) This rocks. LOVE. IT.
    P.S.You are forgiven

  14. #18
    April P

    Cathy, I’m right there with ya on the “I don’t need to scrapbook every holiday” bandwagon, and while I’ve enjoyed the hiatus, these are layouts I want to do – but with a “get ‘er done” approach and not take hours on a layout! I’m so glad you’re coming out with templates that are just perfect! Off to go spend money at DD

  15. #19
    Wendy Holifield

    I LOVE this! Thank you! I think I can make this template and make it into a calender for my in-laws!! I think you just saved me lots of stress!

  16. #21

    Do I need to have photoshop to purchase these? I’m so untechnical with my scrapping. Everytime I try to print a photo, they come out crappy. Where does one even begin?

  17. #27

    Tammy, the templates are for use with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements only. So, yes. You do need one of those programs. I recently saw PSE on sale at Costco for $49 which is a steal, actually! Good luck!

    Also, check out for beginner classes on PS and PSE! Totally will help you start out!

  18. #28

    I’m in the process of doing something similar – scrapping past Christmases – so it’s great to see a take on the process that streamlines it, because honestly I don’t want to dwell in that past but just want to get it down on paper. Great design!

  19. #29

    Wow Cathy! You did it again! BTW what a change in looks in your dear sweet Aiden from just a year ago. She is definately a young lady now-girlie girl last year, beautiful young woman today.

  20. #30

    Oh Cathy,
    You digi temptress, you!
    I just adore these templates.
    If anyone can sell me away from paper,
    it is you.
    My white flag is raised.

  21. #37

    Really love your templates, Cathy. All of them. You’ve done such a great job. And don’t you just LOVE those KOLO albums! I love them all–and the boxes–great quality, design, colors.

  22. #38

    That’s what I keep saying to her… it’s not an all or nothing proposition. I am happy to scrap paper, digital OR hybrid these days.

    C’mon, Jody… you know you want to! 😛

  23. #40

    This is a great idea.
    I just wanted to say that as I look back through your memories that you can just see the thoughtfulness emanating from Aidan. What a great mom you must be.

  24. #41
    Carol Wehner

    So fun to see your family’s pics and stories. But, where are you and your hubby in these??? Hand over that camera to the kiddies for once. 🙂

  25. #42

    I sort of realized that after the fact… trust me, I have three All About Cathy albums. I may not show up in Christmas, but there’s more than enough documenting mama! LOL!

  26. #43

    Oh Debbie, thanks, but… i think my kids just are who they are. I just try to let them be, and reign them in from time to time.

  27. #44
    Marg NZ

    Hi Cathy, I’m really keen to give your templates a go. BUT…. I’ve only used PSE for the MeTAV class so have no clue what to do 🙁
    Is there a chance you could give some instructions on how to use your templates and digital papers (yes, no clue on them either) in order to create a layout?
    Your MeTAV instructions were brill by the way, I just pointed and clicked where you said and it worked a treat 🙂

  28. #45

    Brilliant! I was just looking through my photos and realized that I had soooo many unscrapped Christmas photos and voila! you have shown me how I can address this problem. Thanks. I think I will have to go make some pages pronto before the next Christmas season hits.

  29. #47
    Ann in WI

    Wait…I need help…so you put this together …in some magical way …I so don’t understand this whole digital thing, but then you print the page on a) what kind of printer? b) what kind of paper? And it’s all clearly printed like real photos?

  30. #49

    YAY! I bought that holiday digital kit a few weeks ago and you have given me way more ideas on how to use it than I could have come up with! Thanks so much for sharing your digipages. I’m off to designer digitals to deplete the old checking account!

  31. #51

    These are fantastic. They are really tempting me to give this digital thing a try!I feel like I am too computer illiterate but you make it sound so easy.
    I love your blog and all the great tips that you provide.

  32. #52

    So, I want to say thank you for making me poor. No really, all your digi goodness is making me poor. I’ve got ALL of your 8.5×11 templates on my DD wishlist just waiting for the next quarterly sale. But, I just splurged and bought this one so I could get working on Christmases past. Thanks for the inspiration. Oh, and by the way…since your already making me poor…could you please make an 8.5×11 template for recipes (perhaps with a cover sheet and a square for the kolo or AC album)? Obviously, I have a problem. :o)

  33. #53
    Jennifer Larson

    OK, I’m not anti-digi, but for me, considering digital is like turning to the dark side, I love playing with paper so much. However, you, Cathy Z., are Darth Sidius to me right now. It’s mighty tempting…

  34. #55

    Ann, i sent it out to a online photo printer, who prints it out onto photo paper. Looks just as crispy as a regular photo. : )

  35. #56

    Stacy, save for those sales. That is SUCH a great time to buy!

    I am noodling some ideas around (no pun intended) for a recipe album for an 8.5 x 11 binder!

    Stay tuned!

  36. #57

    I will not harm you in any way! LOL!

    You know, here’s the thing: right now i’m just dabbling and feeling my way around. And the weird thing is, i am loving creating fully digital pages. Right now, for some reason, digital is enabling stories to flow out of me, and then quickly be documented in a way that meets my simple aesthetic requirement.

    I still like to use paper too. So, stay tuned.

    And may the force be with you.

  37. #58

    You really are pulling the traditional people over to the digital way of life. Thanks for sharing your passion with us!!!

  38. #59

    Ha ha ha. Noodle around if you must. :o) I will wait patiently for the recipe album. Oh, and the 8.5 x 11 school one as well. It must be somewhat gratifying knowing that people stalk the DD site every weekend just to see what CZ magic appears. Or, perhaps that’s just me.

  39. #60


    It’s so funny that you made those pages. I was looking at that template and thinking to myself, “should I go back and do all my Christmas pages like this?” Then I wondered if I would get a little bored with the same layout template. But….. you’ve answered my question! You rock. Keep those templates going, especially in 8.5 x 11! It’s easier to switch that way than the other!

  40. #61
    Sarah MacKenzie

    I think you may have just solved my nearly 3 year long dilemma of what to do with photos from the trips we take to visit my family. I get bored of doing layouts each time since we do much of the same stuff, but this would fit perfectly and I could have an album of just photos from these trips now. I could even do two pages per visit if i wanted to show more photos. Thanks for being so awesome!

  41. #62

    I was hoping you could tell me the font details for your journalling. I had some 100% digital layouts printed from the same place and used the same white textured background as you but the text was faded when I got them back and it looked horrible. I did everything at 300dpi, I think I used Avenir Light, size 10.

  42. #63

    I’m seriously in love with you. Don’t let that scare you. I live far far away from you and I’m anti stalking. BUT I LOVE YOUR TEMPLATES. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!

    I’ve been totally digital for a year and half now. And I have to say its changed my scrapbooking and my life. Dramatic, but true.

    Thank you for your creative genius-ness!!

  43. #64

    Thank you for sharing those templates! I’m just venturing into digi scrapping (I did one LO last week) and I can see myself using these alot. They are so perfect. I love your LOS – and seeing how your kids have changed! Happy December to you!

  44. #65

    Awesome template, Cathy!! I’m grabbing it in just a minute, and thankfully I waited to buy the other stuff I put in my cart tonight at DD!
    I have a question for you though because I’m trying to make a big decision right now about photo organization. I’m currently using iPhoto ’09 and definitely LOVE IT! But, I don’t like how it uses up my hard drive space behind the scenes. Since you mentioned that you use iPhoto, I’m wondering if you allow iPhoto to duplicate your photos, or did you uncheck that box in Preferences>Advanced before you started uploading your photos? I’d sure love to see a post here on your blog on how you organize your photos in iPhoto! That would be so awesome!! TIA!!

  45. #66
    Margy Eastman

    I love this template! I’m with all the ladies who are feeling a twinge, turning away from the paper. I just finished a calendar of Jack for the grandparents – all digital and now in the able hands of Shutterfly. How fun to bang out a big project and not make huge flippin’ mess! Between the drop shadows and scalloped border mask, I may never go back;)

  46. #67

    Thanks Cathy. I look forward (most anxiously) to getting these so I can embark on creating the layouts like yours. From one trainer to another, I must say I really liked your MeTav instructions. I was anxious that being new to PSE I wouldn’t be able to follow it but it was just enough to get me through without being too many instructions with screen shots of every mouse move. Thanks so much.

  47. #69

    I love the idea of a quick template to get things done yet be able to make each page look a little different. I have three different families worth of photos to scrapbook for 11 children and I’m overwhelmed! I turned to digital scrapbooking to help me accomplish this huge task and to duplicate books easily. This same template idea might just be my next great literator. Thanks for sharing these great layouts and ideas.

  48. #71

    LOVE IT gonna have to do it….because 8.5 minutes is all the time i can dedicate to scrapbooking right now. But I can dream!!

  49. #72

    I love your templates and I loved seeing your samples of Christmas pages. So glad that you are selling at DD now and thanks for including 12 x 12, too.

  50. #73

    this will be my first template purchase other than all the freebies out there.
    you are my hero.

  51. #74
    Wendy A

    Hi Cathy – thanks for yet another great template. I just bought a few of your other templates last week & have had a blast playing with them. My question for you is this. I am a very new digi scrapper but want to only use your photo templates for now & still paper scrap the rest of the layout. Is there a way to just print out the photo collage part of the templates I bought? Then & now is one I bought if you want to use that as reference? Thanks for all your help & your wonderful templates – I cannot get enough!!!

  52. #75

    I had template dreams last night… seriously. With that one template I plan to make pages for Hawaii, Yellowstone, Vancouver, Cannon Beach, six years of Christmas, six years of Thanksgiving, a couple of birthday’s… the possibilities are endless! Thank you!!

  53. #76
    Lisa R

    Oh Cathy, you are a genius! I love this idea. Why keep reinventing the wheel, right?! Maybe I’d get more scrapping done if I didn’t wrack my brain thinking of different layouts all the time.
    I’m off to get your templates.
    Merry Christmas to me 🙂

  54. #77

    I bought this template and I LOVE it. Just a quick question. I’d like to follow your lead and send to But, I’d like to know whether you save your photos and then your layouts in sRGB or RGB? Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Cathy.

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