I love our Christmas tree. Handmade ornaments hang proudly on each branch along with elaborate store bought pieces. Decorating the tree was a big event when our children were growing up. It started with a trip to the mountains to cut the tree and new ornaments to represent milestones for that year. The collection grew with ornaments made at scouts, christmas parties and school. Along the way, ornaments were purchased as souvenirs documenting years of family vacations. Actually, the term “ornament” became very broad as I am adept at hot gluing a hook or ribbon on things we collect and hanging them on the tree.
Our tree is covered in so many balls and baubles that the branches barely show. Luckily, I was diligent at putting the year on everything with a sharpie marker. As a result, decorating the tree is a walk down memory lane, with almost every ornament conjuring a memory.
Several years ago, as I was placing a precious manger made from a toilet paper tube on a branch of the tree, and remembering my son bringing it home from his Mother’s Morning Out class, I was struck with sadness. What if no one else remembered the stories and memories behind these baubles? More than anything else we own, these ornaments are the most complete representation of our family story. If something happened to me, I wanted these precious memories to be passed along. I didn’t want that paper tube tossed out.
That is the year that the Christmas Decoration Journal started: 1998. When I took the tree down, I notated, in a partially used spiral bound notebook, all the ornaments by the year they were added to the collection and I have added new additions since. The notebook is packed with the ornaments.
The old spiral book was never intended as the permanent book, it was just what I could get my hands on at the moment. I believe this collection deserves more so I am in the process of putting it into a handcrafted journal- adding detailed stories and pictures. It is a big job but one that will be well worth the effort.
Making a Christmas Momento Journal of Your Own
You don’t have to be a writer or even make a daily commitment to logging your thoughts. This journal can simply be lists, pictures or a short paragraph. The easiest thing to do is make it part of your holiday clean up.
You can use a simple spiral notebook or create something more personalized. There are store bought options specific to the holiday that can be purchased online. If you are crafty, you can make a personalize bound book or use a loose leaf binder with pages and pockets. Another option is creating an online photo book with blank space for writing your lists and memories.
When selecting your journal, consider the paper. Do you want lined paper for writing or a heavier paper that will hold a picture. Will you be using a marker that could bleed through or possibly even watercolors or paint?
My goal was to create a journal that was nice enough to become a part of our christmas decor and sit on the coffee table with other Christmas themed books. I chose a moleskine 5 X 8.25” sketchbook. I like these books because they have a nice quality acid free paper for better preservation. They offer ruled or unlined art quality paper. This is a good size for 4 X 6 vertical photos or even a special Christmas card to be pasted to a page.
For preservation and a consistent look, I am using a fine point permanent sharpie marker. If you use a lighter weight page, you may have some bleed through – so plan accordingly and don’t plan to use the back side of the paper.
I am working chronologically starting with some of my childhood ornaments and progressing forward to 2017. In some cases I am including a picture of the ornaments, the christmas tree or the trip when the ornament was purchased. Some ornaments have a story and will get a page of their own. Since I already have an organized list, this is an easy process. However, you can organize your journal in any manner you like. Perhaps divide it into ornament selected by different family members, or just pick out your favorites to include. Just remember to leave space for future years.
No matter what method or supplies you choose, the important thing is to enjoy the process. Record your memories. They will to be appreciated down the road.