It's time to UNBOX the year!

It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for all year. The boxes filled with months of hard work, late nights and last-minute photos have arrived. The theme you planned in your head and developed on your computers has finally materialized into a real product hidden inside those heavy cardboard boxes. It’s time to unbox the year.

You made it! After numerous deadlines and edits, the yearbook has arrived. All of the stories and photos that recall the year are bound together with 100 lb paper and a splashy cover. It’s time to open those boxes and celebrate what you accomplished.

Bask in the yearbook sun

As you scramble all year long to cover football games, band performances and club meetings, it’s easy to forget the "why" behind what we do. The sheer number of tasks it takes to complete a spread, let alone a whole book, can be overwhelming. But the beauty of delivery day is forgetting all those long hours and stressful times. Opening the boxes to see your creation for the first time is a cathartic experience. All the frustration and angst over the book is replaced with happiness and satisfaction.

students looking at yearbooks

On that first day, take some time to revel in the unboxing experience. Make the unveiling a big deal for the staff, and allow them time to bask in the yearbook sun too. Skip lesson plans and scheduled activities on delivery day and truly take time to enjoy the book. After you worked on it all year, it’s nice to take some time to see the fruits of your labor. It’s amazing to watch staffers respond proudly to seeing their finished work and discuss different spreads and photos. They often remember brutal deadlines and tough stories, but with a fondness for the final product.

Celebrate in style

Enjoying the unboxing isn’t enough. It took a lot of work and people to make that yearbook come together and you deserve to celebrate its completion. If you don’t have a party planned, throw one together! Have staffers volunteer to bring food and drinks (you might write down suggested items so you don’t end up with 10 bags of chips and four dozen cupcakes). If you want to go all out, play music, create a slideshow of pictures, and have editors blow up balloons and hang streamers. The more festive the surroundings, the more excited staffers will be for the celebration.

McDonald Junior High

Give props to the staff

During the year, it’s easy to be frustrated with a student’s work effort or deadline success. But at the end, it’s important to remember the book was finished and a lot of people made that happen. Thank all the staffers for their impact on the finished book. Consider having editors create awards for staff members. They could be serious or silly, but each award should have a personal touch, connecting to the staffer’s personality or impact during the year. Maybe you’ll have a Design Diva or a Rookie of the Year. Or give awards that celebrate yearbook excellence, providing certificates for the best photo, design and story. You could even include categories for best sidebar, headline and caption. Celebrate successes, big and small.

Staff opening yearbooks

Celebrate with everyone else

As you celebrate your success, don’t forget to share it with the school community. Photograph opening the boxes and your staff’s reactions. Have your entire staff take pictures holding their newest treasured belonging. Share the photos on social media using the hashtag #unboxtheyear, building excitement for the distribution day. Have editors take a personal copy to the principal with a thank you note and have the top leader take a picture with his/her newest prized possession. Ask the principal to share the photo on the school social media accounts to heighten the buzz factor. Your principal is holding one of the school’s best public relations tools. Now that’s something to celebrate.

 Yearbook distribution party

If your boxes haven’t arrived yet, no worries, they’ll be here soon. If you’re a summer or fall delivery, the staff knows the chance to celebrate will come eventually. And then all those long hours and page changes will come together in those iconic cardboard boxes that hold a year of memories.

Last, but not least, be sure to share your unboxing moments with us and follow along on social media using the hashtag #unboxtheyear!