On Christmas Eve my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, in-laws, and friends join together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. With the exception of a few years spent overseas during my husband’s Navy career, I’ve attended every Christmas Eve celebration since childhood.
This year our party will be at my parent’s home. It’s lovely, comfortable, and very inviting. We’ll eat all the yummy family favorites, pass out gifts to one another, and when we’re ready to sit a spell, I’ll break out the “Christmas Past Journal” and read the entries from last year and some from the year before.
A few years ago I decided to purchase a journal specifically for compiling memories of past Christmas celebrations. I wanted to preserve the memories so my children and grandchildren could read about our family Christmas history, our celebrations, our traditions, and even how those traditions have changed over the years. I too love reading the entries from my relatives. We each have special memories of our own, the ones that brought us joy and excitement, and some that were filled with sorrow over the loss of a loved one.
Try a Christmas Past Journal of your own this year. Here’s what you need/do:
- Purchase a special journal that will hold up over time. I found a wonderful red leather journal with a tie closing.
- On Christmas day or Christmas Eve (or whenever you get together), have each family member record one Christmas memory from past years.
- The entry can be as short or as long as it takes. Or, you may want to come up with your own family ground rules regarding the length and content. If your family and friends don’t get together as a group for the holiday, one alternative would be for you to keep the journal in your home and when family visits or you visit others you can ask them to contribute.
- Make sure you have the journal available every year and you continue to add entries from all family members. Yes, even the kids!
- During your celebration you could either read some entries aloud or keep the journal in a place where everyone who wants to can read the entries, smile, and enjoy the trip down memory lane.
- Over time, at some point you may want to transfer responsibility for the journal keeping to another family member. You could also take turns, whatever works best for you.
- You can make this journal as simple or as complicated as you want. You might decide to add pictures, other graphics, or drawings. Be creative!
I’d love to hear how you take this idea and make it your own.
Kathy Bornarth, MA, NCC, LPC