Start A Holiday Journal — The Easiest Most Satisfying Tradition You’ll Ever Find

I have no memory where the idea came from, but my husband and I started a Holiday Journal during our first Christmas together, and we use it each year to write a couple of pages of summary about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. If I have any ideas for next year, like a new Christmas book I’d like to add to our collection, I’ll include those as well. Sometimes the kids add drawings or their own notes.

As with all my grand ideas, I’m not always consistent — last year the Christmas journal never even made it out of the box. But usually it does. And now that some of the kids are old enough to write, they’re helping the tradition stay alive.

Anyway. Writing my notes this year made me think about how I measure and evaluate Christmas:

-Stress level
-Success of the annual Christmas recital
-How Christmasy the house smelled
-How the Christmas tree looked (meaning: was I happy with the decorations)
-Quantity of peppermint bark & wassail consumed
-Kids faces on Christmas morning

This year will go down as happy on all measures. I especially loved our tree — knowing I had lots of vintage wrapping at my disposal, my friend brought me boxes and boxes of vintage glass balls that she found when she bought a very old house. The pure vintageness was totally awesome.

How do you measure the Holidays?

2024 Update: It’s been 17 years since I first wrote about this topic, but our holiday journal is still going strong. With so many writers in the house, the reports get longer and longer each year. (Which is wonderful!) A delightful part of our holidays has become looking back at earlier reports and remembering together.

I highly recommend this tradition. It’s easy, stress-free, low-cost (or free if you have a spare journal), doesn’t take much time, and provides huge satisfaction. Start this year!

P.S. — Beautiful leather journal.

6 thoughts on “Start A Holiday Journal — The Easiest Most Satisfying Tradition You’ll Ever Find”

  1. That is cute. My MIL does this too and she has the kids write their Christmas list’s in it (or she tapes it in) so now she has all the years of the list’s in one place. I love that idea and we do it too… we also have a book that is just our families Christmas cards…we put it in the Christams box too…. :-)

  2. Thats my kathryn…the super shopper! Also Greg was so happy that he could eat fish and was doubly flattered that he made it on your christmas memory happy moments!

    We Love You Gabby!

    p.s. the singing time with the chimes was wonderful. Bravo to your MOTHER who is obviously every bit as talented as her daughter!

  3. This is a lovely idea. I started a personal family blog in the early 2000’s when my children were toddlers. Each year near the end of December I posted a ‘year in review’ entry highlighting our, well, highlights and any lessons the year brought. Now that my children are adults in college they provide me their entry to post with a photo from the year that brings them joy or holds special meaning. This has been a priceless tradition for me- and I think for them.

  4. Wow, this brings me back. In storage I have a half dozen or so books that I created for various vacations I took when I was younger (pre kids). Whenever we’d take an interesting trip, exploring new places, I’d journal every day. I’d also take lots of photos (which needed to be developed) and insert them in after. I haven’t looked at this in ages! I need to do that.

    I never considered doing so around a holiday! It’s a good idea.

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