The Gift of Memories through Words

Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari has published nine books to date; her most recent ebook is Help for the Holidays: 7 Days of Journaling to Ho! Ho! Ho!
Mari is our special guest writer today, sharing with us ideas on how to use the gift of memories through words to create special holiday journals.  
Readers are invited to leave a message for an opportunity to win your choice of either an ebook of Dark Chocolate for a Journaler's Soul, a Dark Chocolate T-Shirt, or Mari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips (8 1/2 x 11 Spiral Bound).

Welcome, Mari!  Thanks for sharing your thought with us today.

Special Holiday Journal Ideas

When we're looking forward to a ritual or special occasion that's upcoming soon, we may wish for a way to deepen our experience and understanding of the event. We want to record it, savor it, make it last.

We will take pictures and shoot movies; we'll create memorable moments and nooks of wordless enjoyment as the celebration unfolds. Nonetheless, we mostly depend on our fragile memories to keep the wonderful time fresh in our minds.

But there's another way to expand your perception of a special event or period in your life, and that is to journal it.

You might think journaling is a time-intensive commitment, but that's entirely untrue. A mere five minutes at a time or even less can build up a journal of significant meaning.

Here are a few simple ways to journal the holidays as they unfold.

1. Find a very small notebook and keep note of the weather through this month. Describe each day's meteorology in the most meticulous, appreciative words you can find. Alternatively, write out the details of the day's happenings, your world in general as it appears to you today.

2. Enter a daily holiday wish for the world, from today through a month from now.

3. Write out a generous description of something you are grateful for, every day for a month in your journal.

4. Pick a theme that scares or irritates you a little: like why you don't get along with your mom; or how you can possibly find solid, tolerable employment; or why you are overweight. Write a paragraph or more every day for a month relating to this issue.

5. Meditate in your journal on an aspect of the winter holiday season, whatever your religion or outlook. What does snow mean to you? How do you feel at this time of the year? What are stereotypical images of the season to you? etc.

6. Contemplate portions of scripture from your faith, whatever that may be. Write about the meaning of a verse or two each day.

7. Keep a stream-of-consciousness account by dedicating ten minutes every day to writing out your thoughts. Write without stopping, and without censoring.

Other ideas include journaling your holiday baking, your gift buying, your prayers, your sympathies with Scrooge. However far-flung, you can bring your experiences to the tip of your journaling pen and enter a new universe of revelations.

As always, be sure to look back on previous entries every now and then. Your journal will provide delectable holiday treats!


Wow, Mari, what great ideas!  Speaking of treats, I highly recommend Mari's book, Dark Chocolate for a Journaler's Soul.

Dark Chocolate for a Journaler's Soul is a compilation of writings by 17 women on journaling.  In addition, each woman answers four questions about why journaling is important to them, how often they write, what they do to combat writer's block and their favorite quote.

This is a great book for anyone who loves writing, but especially women journalers, who are looking for a bit of inspiration.

Dear Readers, don't forget to leave a comment, so that you can be entered into the drawing for your choice of either an ebook of Dark Chocolate for a Journaler's Soul, a Dark Chocolate T-Shirt, or Mari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips (8 1/2 x 11 Spiral Bound). This drawing is Mari's gift to you!


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Mari said…
Ho! Ho! Ho! Linda. Thank you for hosting me again. My personal favorite is Tip #7. Well at least today. :)Something about December makes my writing soar. WriteON!
Another great article, Mari! I love this list because it shows how very simple it can be to start a holiday journal. For example - just journaling the weather each day is the perfect "small bite" of the journaling "apple." You can take that small bite and be satisfied, or you may find that bite so delicious that you decide to consume the whole apple. The hardest part is just taking that first bite. Thanks for showing the way!
G-J said…
I've always been a bit intimidated by journaling. I don't feel like I have anything insightful or meaningful to say. However, today I followed a link on twitter to this blog and reading the first suggestion, thought that it was actually something non-scary I could do. I believe I will make this a goal for the new year. Thank you! :)
Dear Deborah,

All journeys begin with a single step! You are so right about Mari's showing how we can take baby steps to get used to journaling.

Thanks for visiting! Linda
Dear G-J,

So glad you followed the link! Journaling isn't scary and it can be quite healing and nurturing. Start out small and let your confidence build. And, remember to be gentle with yourself...your journal is for you, not the world (unless of course, you want to share it with the world).

Peace, Linda
Mari said…
So excited to hear your news! Please keep us posted on your adventures. WriteON!
Krysten said…
Never thought about journaling about what the snow meant to me, but yet every year, I always think back to those early December snowfalls as a kid. What a great idea!
Vijaiksharma said…
Thanks for the opportunity to read the article. I found it to be very motivating & useful. Some years back I used to write in a small diary, as indicated, but for some unknown reasons this got discontinued. I hope I can reastart this practice again soon.
Congratulations to Deborah Watson-Novacek! She is the winner of Mari's reader's gift.

Deborah was chosen by
Anonymous said…
Hi my name is nichole. I have been journaling since i was a child, but i quit for a long period of time. And a few months ago i finally freed myself from an abusive relationship. And recently i am slowly picking up the pen again. But with reading mari's ideas, has stirred up some ideas of my own to really start journaling again. I do find journaling theraputic. I will keep reading this site and thank you everyone. Best wishes to all.
Hi, Nichole!

I am so glad you found what is written here to be helpful. I appreciate your comments and pray that you will find peace and healing as you put your thoughts to paper.

Blessings! Linda

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