How to start a family holiday journal

So you’re thinking about starting a family holiday journal–good for you! It’s a great way to capture your family’s holiday experiences, traditions and wishes in their own words and handwriting. Plus, it’s simple, inexpensive and fun for everyone.

For older relatives who may be uncomfortable writing or have vision problems, ask them what they remember and write it down for them. Little kids can draw or scribble on the page.

Journaling can help older kids write better and think more creatively, even if writing is not their favorite thing. My son, who is 10, does not like to write (yes, this kills me because I am a writer), but he eagerly writes in our holiday journal. It’s fun to look back and see what we were all thinking and doing.

For little kids, pretend to “interview” them and write down their answers. Take it up a notch and pretend like you are one of their favorite TV or book characters. You’d be surprised at how important kids feel when you take the time to ask them questions and write down the answers–it can lead to some interesting conversations!

The Rules:
There’s only one rule: There are no rules! No editing allowed. Forget proper grammar, capitalization, etc. Just let it rip! There’s no wrong way to do it, so no red pen, no criticism. Everyone should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without fear of being judged or ridiculed. Keep the journal in a visible place, such as the family room or near the holiday tree–make it easy to write in. Set aside a few minutes on set days to write in the journal. We like to do ours before bedtime and on Sunday mornings. Think about what works best for your family’s schedule.

Not sure what to write about? Here are a few ideas to get started:

– Santa: tailor it to fit your kids’ ages. Maybe an older child doesn’t believe anymore, start a journal entry about that. Younger kids can draw pictures of Santa and his reindeer.

– Traditions: what are your family’s favorite holiday traditions and activities? Write about what you do, funny things that happened. Want to start new traditions? Use the journal to brainstorm new ideas.

– Holiday memories: describe your best/worst/silliest/funniest holiday memory. Who was there? What happened? What do you remember? Where was it? What were you drinking? (Adults may have more fun with that one, obviously.) If it’s hard to get started, try to remember something about a person or the place where it happened–what objects were around? What did the place smell like? What colors do you remember?

– Hopes: what are your hopes, dreams, goals, wishes for the new year?

– Having guests? Turn it into a guest book, where everyone signs their name and shares a favorite memory or favorite part of the day at your home, wishes for the future, etc.

Most of all, just relax and have fun. Happy holidays!

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