By Martie Duncan, MyRecipes Contributor


Have some holes in your family photo album? If you do and you’re looking for something fun to do with your family and holiday house guests the day after the big day, why not plan a family photo swap party? While sitting around the TV to watch the big game is tradition for the adults, it’s not much fun for the kids. It’s essential to have some activities planned so the kids don’t get bored and cranky. A family photo swap is a fun way to keep the kids busy while the adults talk about good times and family history. Each sibling or family member can bring their own pictures to be scanned and printed to share with the others. Even mom’s best handwritten recipes can be scanned so everyone has a copy and you don’t lose those treasured family recipes.


Set up card tables for the kids so they can create their own mini albums or crafts using the printed copies. Use movie maker software to bring your pictures to life by adding music, captions, and titles to create your own movie. Set up a video camera to record the festivities and you’ll never lose your family’s history. This is also a great party to host for childhood friends, sorority sisters, or the gang from the old neighborhood!

  1. Tell your guests to bring their own photo albums, scrapbooks, and favorite family photos to share.
  2. Hit the craft stores when there is a big sale to scoop up extra frames and supplies to have on hand. Get glue dots, photo corners and scrapbook stickers, etc.
  3. Have plenty of USB flash drives available. If guests save scanned images to a flash drive, they will have them for future use.
  4. Make sure your printer is working well and get extra printing cartridges.
  5. Keep the menu simple. Set up a buffet so guests can serve themselves.
  6. Cover tables with brown craft paper or white butcher paper to prevent stains and damage.
  7. Set up several work stations. Scanning, printing, and assembly.
  8. Let the kids make their own books with pictures important to them.
  9. Go ahead and scan in your own photos before the party starts to cut down on time.
  10. Invite older relatives to come and relate the “back stories” behind the photos so the kids can learn about the family’s past, heritage, and your memories are passed along to the next generation.

MENU SUGGESTIONSMake-ahead recipes like soup are easy to make and easy to serve. Make up one or two soups before the holiday and reheat in a Crockpot or large pot on the stove right before party time. You can even make soup using some of those holiday leftovers.Turkey and Potato Soup with Canadian BaconJalapeño-Ginger Butternut Squash SoupCreamy Cauliflower Soup

I also like to make a few giant sandwiches using loaves of focaccia or other whole loaf bread. It is so much easier than trying to make dozens of individual sandwiches. Slice the bread through the center so you have a top and a bottom. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil or spread the top and bottom with your favorite sandwich spread. Layer on deli meats and cheeses; I like to mix them up and use a couple of different kinds. Put the top on and wrap the loaf in foil. When guests arrive, put the package in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Unwrap the top and let it brown a bit just before serving. Slice into chunks or wedges and serve. You can make almost any meat and cheese sandwich combo this way and it turns out great!

DECORATIONSKeep the decorations simple. Photos in frames or hung from bare branches are perfect for this party. Just make a ribbon loop on the back of your photos and use those to decorate the tree. Decorations done. Reliving old memories and making new ones… my kind of holiday fun!

For more fun party ideas, see Party with Martie Duncan.