I posted this last year but it still stands true to being a helpful tool for all of us. I hope you'll try it this year.
About eight years ago a very good friend gave me a terrific gift at Christmas. It was a beautiful red journal with all kinds of sparkly stuff on the outside. She knew I was a writer and would think of something to do with it. I have filled those pages every year since that time with memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved myself from embarrassment by referring back to my holiday journal. It’s basically the same for both holidays except for the gift giving.
What To Include
1. Plan your menus right here ahead of time
2. If there is a special recipe to use (like sweet potato casserole from A Taste of Home) include it or write down where you found it so you can use it again next year.
3. List of people attending
4. A summary of the events throughout your holiday. I do this after the fact because of a busy schedule. This is where I sit down to breathe and realize: “Wow! I’m awesome to have pulled this off again.” I also include the things I need to change, adjust or get rid of.
5. Gifts – I make a list of everyone and their Christmas gift. For my children and grandchildren they get extra space. I make sure everyone has the same amount of gifts to unwrap. Nothing wrong with wrapping that pair of socks like it was something Michael Jordon would want. I wrap everything! The advantage is I can always refer back next year to avoid buying the same thing twice. I also include a list of gifts I received.
6. Be sure to include the year at the top of your entry each holiday.
7. At Thanksgiving I have sometimes up to 17 people staying a few days with me. I like to include how many towels, sheets, etc. I used. Makes me feel like superwoman when I’m finished. It also makes me pause and wonder how long I intend to continue the madness.
After Christmas I tuck the journal away until the next November. I love reading what happened the last year and begin to plan what needs to be done in the days ahead. Someday I plan to pass the journal on to one of my kids or grand kids. It isn’t all that neat and tidy to read. My penmanship is not my best and I admit there are a lot of grammatical mistakes. But it’s all off the cuff to help me remember how to make another magical season the next year. It’s one of my favorite things to do. When family members talk about a certain holiday and try to remember something specific they have often turned to me and ask “What does the journal say?”