BINGHAMTON, NY – Each Christmas, instead of going to the store and getting gifts for her family members, Esther Pettengill does something a little untraditional, but it’s something everyone looks forward to.
Growing up, Pettengill never knew her mother’s cousins and that was always something that made her sad.
So, about twelve years ago she came up with the idea of creating a yearbook.
She asked everyone to send her about ten pictures with explanations and she picked the best ones and created a twenty page scrapbook to hand out at Christmas.
“Everybody was reading the yearbooks. One of the girls said ‘yearbooks we have to sign them.’ So they got passed around and everybody signed their yearbooks, and so the first one has everybody’s signature because they were all here. After that they said this is such a good idea,” she said.
Since then the yearbook has grown in size each year.
This years is the largest yet with one-hundred four pages.
Mother of five, Chantal Rogers, says it’s a great way for all the generations to see what everyone has been up too throughout the year.
“It’s a nice way to reconnect with everyone and it’s something that we talk about, you know, everybody says ‘oh it’s time to get your yearbook pictures in.’ We have a cousin group chat and so everyone says ‘oh that would be great for the yearbook you have to send it to Grandma.’ It’s a fun way to connect with everyone and it’s a really precious gift that we get,” says Rogers.
Pettengill says that she makes twenty-one copies.
Twenty people get them and she likes to have one extra just incase someone loses theirs.
She also said that each year there is a warning; if you do not send her pictures she will raid your Facebook page.