Did you plan to keep a diary as your children were growing up but haven’t got around to it?  Somewhere to note down all those funny things they say but time keeps charging along?  Yep, me too!  Let me tell you about the Christmas Journal because it might just be what you’ve been looking for!

  • Family Friendly
  • Time & Effort
  • Supplies Needed
The Christmas Journal displayed in festive setting

Life is just so darn busy isn’t it?!  All those incredible ideas we daydreamed of during pregnancy and plans we formulated during night-time feeds. But it takes some serious commitment to keep momentum going through hectic timetables and constantly changing routines.  

I had all sorts of plans to keep a diary of moments as the boys grew up.   All their firsts, the cute things they said, the activities that filled our days.  

In fact I have a whole bunch of notebooks dotted around the house with beautifully written notes in pages 1-3 and then … nothing.  

I would regularly berate myself for not prioritising it.  Not capturing the details of those special moments.  But it felt nigh on impossible to fit it in.

Which is why I cannot deny being mighty proud of The Christmas Journal concept which came to me in the early hours of the morning in a hotel room in Lapland.

The Smith Family Christmas Journal tucked in between festive decorations

It was December 2015.  I was too excited to sleep.  We were going to visit Father Christmas the next day.  The real one!  At his snowy home in northern Finland.  What’s more, I had just stumbled across the concept of Christmas Eve Boxes!  And my mind was whirring.

The box was a no-brainer; I knew immediately that this would be a new part of our Christmas rituals.  But, with less than a week until the Big Day and most of our Christmas budget wrapped up in the Lapland hotel bed beneath me right then, I needed to be creative about what to put inside. 

And then it hit me!

This is the one time of year that things are the same.  The one time of year when we always take the time to sit down and enjoy each other’s company.  The one time of year that I might actually be able to make a memory book work!

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And so it was that I found myself scrambling through the stationery cupboard upon our return home to find an empty notebook in amongst those kinda started.  And just like that, the Christmas Journal was born.

Now our (decidedly dogeared) vintage-world-map-covered notebook is greeted with as much excitement as the Santa sacks when it is pulled from the Christmas Eve Box. 

And the box is not allowed to go away until the next instalment has been added to those treasured scribbles.

Simple DIY Christmas Eve Box

Perfect last-minute cheap and easy ideas for creating and filling a Christmas Eve Box!

The beauty of this Christmas Journal lies in its simplicity.  Leaning heavily on the repeat routines of the season, its single annual entry allows you to capture a snapshot of each passing year.  So you can finally come good on your promise of keeping a diary and build the most amazingly personal family heirloom with virtually no effort (or cost!) at all.  Win, win and win!!

capturing christmas memories

What Is A Christmas Journal Anyway?

Daughter lying on the floor writing Christmas memories with parents either side and Christmas tree in the background

Simply put, it is a notebook containing the annual answers to a variety of self-selected questions. The idea is that each year the family revisit the same questions and answer them together as a group.

After a few years, it becomes as pleasurable to read back through the answers of previous years as it is to note down the new responses for the current year.

And, eventually this simple notebook becomes a treasured heirloom, full of wonderful memories and shared experiences.

two simple steps

How To Create Your Book of Christmas Memories

There are really only two steps to creating your Christmas Journal:

  1. Selecting the notebook
  2. Selecting the questions

1. Selecting Your Notebook

There need not be anything special about the notebook you chose – it will become special in its own right as time goes along.

We would suggest a reasonably robust notebook that will stand the test of time.

You could decorate it as a family or have one designed by a small business specifically for purpose – it would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a newly married couple or a first family Christmas with a new arrival.

Or, you could chose to print / write on loose sheets of paper and create a Christmas Journal binder instead.

Notebook with festive bow in top right corner

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2. Selecting Your Questions

This is the list of questions that you will revisit each year.  Note them down on the first page of the journal for easy reference year-on-year.  

Of course you can include anything you wish in the list.  Whatever will mean the most to you. 

I’ve detailed our question list below as a start point.

Questions For The Christmas Journal

What are you doing to celebrate Christmas this year?

What has everyone asked Father Christmas for?

Who came into your life this year? (new arrivals / friends / colleagues / teachers)

What holidays did you have during the year?

What happened within your family this year?  Any major events?  What did you do for your birthdays?

What happened in the wider world this year?

What would you like to do next year?

Once you’ve completed the questions, you might like to add a photo, a copy of this year’s Christmas Card and a little handwritten message or signature from everyone as well.

Christmas Family Games

We’ve rounded up 15 easy fun festive game ideas for you to enjoy with your family this Christmas.


It’s All About You!

Journal Front Page with List of Christmas Questions

As with every part of the Christmas Journal, it can be completely tailored to your family. Bring the book to the dinner table for one of the festive meals or snuggle down with a cuppa and treat one afternoon and discuss your answers.

However there are two tips that we would recommend keeping in mind as you fill in the book to keep it as personal as possible:

1. Family Perspective

Questions about the wider world can of course be answered by printing off a summary of news events. And, whilst this could be a lovely addition to the Journal, the intention is to try and capture perception of these events by family members rather than focusing on factual accuracy.

2. Capture The Inaccuracies

Fondly remembering the way little ones saw the world is such a pleasure as they grow. So try to use quotes as much as possible when noting down answers rather than being tempted to correct or improve responses.

Remember the book is purely for you, not for an external audience, and it’s the inaccuracies and funny replies that will make it all the more special!

Once the book has been completed, simply pop it back in the Christmas Eve Box and it’s all ready and waiting to be rediscovered the following year!

And that’s all there is to it! 

Now, go and find that notebook!  And enjoy 🙂

Share Your Adventure!

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And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We love to see which Christmas activities you’ve been enjoying!

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