So my son turned 20 last week. I spent the morning going through all our photo albums holding memories from the day he was born, and in the process, set aside a few photos to see, again.
Most of these were school memories. I fondly recalled how he liked to gift his friends Classmate notebooks. I secretly think this is because we always stocked those at home and it was convenient as last minute gifts. And of course, he consumed them voraciously, thanks to his love for writing.
We called him to wish him a happy birthday, and in the course of conversation, he informed me that our favorite notebook brand Classmate now has an online store where notebooks can be completely personalized. His friends and he had gotten together and customized a set of notebooks with their group photos on the cover and surprised a classmate on his birthday, gifting him the books. What a creative, personal gift!
It reminded me of how, at the slightest nudge, we’d set off to a bookstore and settle down to spend the next few hours. While he browsed his favorite section, I’d run through the shop quickly before wandering around to the stationery section. Soon, he’d join me there to pick up art supplies, drawing books and notebooks.
We preferred Classmate for their excellent quality and binding. Not surprising, coming from a company like ITC. What he loved about these books was the choice of gorgeous covers, and the information filled pages at the end with facts, snippets of info and puzzles. Amusingly, when the pages were filled, he would keep the covers and those information pages carefully in a file.
You’d laugh if I told you that at the end of each year, we would sit down together with all his used notebooks and rip off the unused pages and covers to bind and use as rough notebooks.
Through all his school years we’ve used Classmate notebooks of various sizes—right from the regular size, which then transitioned into long notebooks and king-size notebooks, science record books, one-side-ruled notebooks, and of course, drawing notebooks of various sizes. He particularly loved the mega sized drawing book.
Somewhere along the way, we started buying these in packs of 10-12 so that we didn’t have to rush to the store every time he needed one. Also, they made great gifts—they’re useful, and every child we knew used them.
I even used to carry a couple of them in my scooter under the seat, just in case—for an emergency!
What’s interesting is, now that he’s in college, he still uses these notebooks. And kind-hearted as he is, he collects the leftover pages at the end of the semester and returns them to the shop, where they bind them into rough notebooks.
So, when he mentioned the Classmate online shop, I was eager to experience it for myself, and visited the website.
The Classmate online store
The process is easy. All one has to do is selecting the size, choose the type of binding and number of pages, ruled or un-ruled and unleash your creativity. And voila! You’re ready to go!
I found myself brimming with ideas and all the ways this can be used! Besides making great gifts for school kids and college kids, I thought, who wouldn’t love a set of custom notebooks? I have a good mind to order a set for my son as a surprise homecoming gift.
Considering how most of us enjoy clicking photos on our phone, imagine converting our favorite photos into book covers!
Since I love lists, I jotted down other innovative reasons to order from the Classmate shop.
- full set of schoolbooks. How nice that would be!
- as personal diaries or journals
- for work, with the company logo on the cover
- as conference handout notebooks
- as part of branded welcome kits
- as a token of recognition to someone
- as birthday gifts
- as personalized drawing books for sketching/artists
- as return gifts for birthday parties and special occasions
- use as giveaways
I found myself smiling, recalling the days of my own childhood when the paper in the notebooks we bought was rather like blotting paper, since we wrote with ink pens. Sometimes, we couldn’t write on the other side because the paper was too thin.
In the summer after my seventh grade, my uncle, who worked in Defence and had gone to a paper manufacturing mill for inspection, bought a ream of paper because the quality was good, along with a roll of cardboard. When I asked him why, he said, to make good notebooks for me.
That summer before I went to eighth grade was spent cutting that paper, stitching it into notebooks with twine and then ruling it. It was a family project. While my uncle cut the paper and cardboard and used a giant needle to stitch the notebooks, my mom, armed with a ruler and a blue pen, drew lines in the notebooks. And I, drew the margins in red.
My uncle presented me with fifteen books. Fifteen! Can you imagine the labor that went into that? And I, I am ashamed to confess that I felt embarrassed that my books were not store-bought. But even by the end of the year, my books were intact. And three years later, when we moved cities and were decluttering, they still looked as good as new. I wish I had kept one as a keepsake! Today I realize the value of that love and effort.
As I basked in those memories, I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of how far I’ve come.
So yes, I am off to personalize my first set of Classmate notebooks online.
What do you think? Do you use Classmate notebooks?
Does the thought of customizing your notebooks excite you?
How would you use the customized notebooks?
Share your ideas with me in the comments!
The top three ideas will be rewarded with free ITC Classmate notebooks.
Winners will be declared on 25 December 2017. Yes, Merry Christmas!
(This is a brand collaboration. But all opinions are exclusively mine)