The Journal. A Christmas Gift.

“Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.” ~Oscar Wilde~

Christmas was almost upon me and I could not think of a thing to give my sister. The year before I had given her a journal, a journal to write down her thoughts, her memories, something to leave behind. I had kept journals for years and thought that perhaps she would enjoy it too. That it was a place she could write memories, thoughts, whatever she wished and that way her boys could have those memories when she was gone. The look on her face that Christmas told me that a blank journal was nothing she wanted! I wasn’t going to make that mistake again the following Christmas!

I started to peruse the Internet for ideas on what to give her, something that would be a memory. Searching and seeking for that perfect Christmas gift, and something she may remember for many years to come. My sister gives the utmost care in selecting gifts for those people she loves. She is the type of person who believes Christmas gifts should not be practical but something that the other person would not buy themselves, something fun, something frivolous.

I couldn’t find a thing. But then I read this wonderful lovely story about a woman and her daughter, passing between them “The Yellow Shirt.” A truly inspirational story of a mother’s love, and one that her daughter carried with her always, and one that would be etched forever into my own memory. I wanted a gift like that! I wanted something that would invoke laughter, tears, memories, something that when my sister and I were gone, our children would have in memory of the love my sister and I shared.

 

That is how “The Journal” began. I went out and bought another journal to give my sister that year. Only this time I did not leave all the pages blank. I wrote the instructions on the front page. I took a picture of her “big sis” underneath the Christmas tree, and glued it on the back page. This was to be our private journal, something we were going to do together.

The instructions were, that first year I was giving her the journal, and I would write my entry, whatever it was to say. And once it was in her possession, she HAD to write her entry, and then choose a Holiday, a moment, the next Christmas, the choice was hers, but she had to pass it back to me. The rules were very explicit, she had to do this, after all I am the big sister and she is the little sister. And the big sister is supposed to get her way!

There are eight years between us, and I love to tease her about the times I had to baby-sit her, take her with me everyplace I went, she was my little tag around. But when we grew up, we truly became best friends.

I saved that gift until the last. Everyone at that time had unwrapped all the gifts, waiting impatiently for Christmas dinner, and telling us to hurry! Watching the expressions on everyone’s face, hoping it was not going to take that much time, unwrapping that last gift. I watched my sister’s face opening that gift and it was priceless. I could tell she was thinking, “Not another journal!” I laughed as she began to pry open the pages.

 

She laughed, she cried. I laughed right beside her, I cried right beside her, and our tradition began.

 

It was the perfect Christmas gift.

 

We have been doing it now for a few years. Year after year that journal is passed between the two of us. The pages are starting to get worn, we have added many pictures, we have added many memories, and laughter and tears stain those pages. It is always the last gift opened. And every year, and I mean every year the kids, (now grown for the most part) grumble and moan and fuss, and say, “Here they go again!” “They are going to cry again!”

 

But one year, my sister’s oldest son did not think we did The Journal. It was my turn that year and I told everyone that I did not write in it that year. That they all complained too much and I did not want to waste their precious time, waiting to get to the dinner! One by one as I looked around the room their faces all took on the gasps and the look of disbelief. They sat there, they did not move to go and prepare their plates to eat, and they did not move to go about their own business. They waited.

And then I pulled out the last present underneath the couch. The Journal! They started to laugh, and said, “Here they go again!” All was right in their worlds once again. The Journal was carried on in the tradition. Even though they had never read one page, even though my sister and I had never shared the inside contents, they came to expect that gift. Year after year they had their own tradition, making fun of their moms, but that one year when they least expected it, and thought it was not going to be, they were upset, because it broke tradition.

 

This year is my turn! I guess I had better get to writing!

 

This is a wonderful inexpensive tradition you can start of your own. It doesn’t cost much to buy a journal, and a pen.

 

But the memories are priceless.

 

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Comments 28 comments

North Wind profile image

North Wind 6 years ago from The World (for now)

I think this is a great idea as it keeps the bond strong that you have with your sibling. People's journals change lives. A lot of the documents we have of people's past lives is through their journal.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Thank you North Wind. I couldn't agree more. I kept a journal with my husband who has now passed away, and I will forever have his words etched in his hand writing. More precious than any gift I could have gotten from him.

I will have them always to go back and read our memories.

Blessings,

Laurie


dianeaugust profile image

dianeaugust 6 years ago from Tennessee

I absolutely love this idea. And you have told the story of it so well that I was in there wanting you to pull out the journal just like the rest of your family. I may try this with some friends or family. A beautiful tradition born. I love journal and writing in them. They have offered me a place of solace, a place to heal, a place to find wholeness.

Best to you, DA


FloBe profile image

FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I love what you did with your sister...that is such a precious memory for the two of you! I started writing in a journal when I was a teen and that is many years ago, a box full of books, and many "forgotten" memories ago. One day I will go back and read what I have written (or someone else will.) When I'm ready :) Thanks for sharing this story with us--happy writing!


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Diane,

Thank you for stopping by and for your well received compliments. I have written in journals for years, and they have helped me through many a dark time, many a joyful time, and many tears.

I was only glad that I could share this with my sister.

It is nice to "meet" you and thank you for stopping by.

Blessings,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings FloBe,

How true that is! I have boxes upon boxes of journals that I have written in over the years, and one day I will go back and read them, just to encounter those memories again.

Thank you for your nice comments and your nice compliments. It has been a fun journey writing in that journal and so many memories to share with her.

It is nice to "meet" you and thank you for stopping by.

Blessings,

Laurie


AngRose profile image

AngRose 6 years ago

I am the "bratty" sister written of in this Hub. :) And, Yes, I was NOT thrilled with the blank journal for me to write in the year before. I do not enjoy journaling my thoughts, I guess I'm too paranoid about someone else reading them when I'm gone! But I have to say, this journal is one of the best gifts I've ever received. There are funny things shared in it, like the year I put on the page Tag you're it, and she thought that was all I wrote, until she turned to back where I'd written instead! There are lots of tears on those pages as Laurie said, we've shared alot of things in our lives. Pictures have been added of us, of our kids, of my dog even! And little gifts have come along with the journal to emphasize certain entries. I would encourage all of you to do something along these lines with either a sibling, a child, or a best friend. You will be amazed at how it touches your lives, and the lives of those around you.

I love you Laur, you're the best (and bossiest) big sis a girl could have!

xoxo

Ang


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

I love you too Ang! (My lil sis)!

xoxo

Laur


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Rated Up for great Hub.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Thank you Patty. It is a pleasure to have you here. I hope you return, and it is nice to "meet" you.

Blessings,

Laurie


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Laurie, now you made me teary eyed. What a beautiful gift to give to each other. I wrote a hub about gifts for sisters and it brought me to a feeling good place just like what your hub did to me. Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Please go and vote and promote to your family and friends (including your sister) to vote for your hub as well. The more votes, the merrier! The link to the Hubnuggets: http://bit.ly/e24X3R Merry Christmas to you and your sister! Blessings and love...


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 6 years ago from Canada

This is beautiful, and such a great idea! I remember reading that story, "the yellow shirt." Was it from the magazine, "Woman's World?" What a wonderful hub ... beautiful!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

What an amazing idea! I know, I know, everyone is saying that...but it IS!! Love the hub, love the idea...great writing and thanks so much for sharing it with us...think I better talk with my sisters ;)


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination.

What an awesome idea. I will start this with my own kids. My older ones have moved away. What a great way to keep in touch with them, on a deeper level.

Namaste.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Ripplemaker,

Thank you so much! It truly has been fun, a fun way to express all those feelings and emotions, and share all those memories, and the likes with my best friend. (my sister) We have had a wonderful time doing this, and it is amazing the legacy that we will have to pass to our children.

Thanks for the congratulations on the hub nugget nomination! I am honored, and flattered.

It is nice to "meet" you and thank you for stopping by!

Blessings,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings PrairiePrincess!

Thank you for your kind words! Yes it was from the magazine and a wonderful story. I recommend everyone reading that story, it is all over the internet. I read that one day and I knew I wanted something that would last forever. Something to pass down to the kids, hers and mine, that they would always remember us by.

It is a pleasure "meeting" you.

Blessings,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Enelle,

Thank you so much! It is a wonderful thing to do with sisters, best friends, children, any loved one! To share something special, something that can never fade, our love.

It is a pleasure to "meet" you and I hope you stop by again.

Blessings,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Deborah,

Thank you for stopping by and thank you for your congratulations! I am so flattered that I was chosen. And it would be wonderful to do with your children, something to always remember treasured moments by.

Blessings,

Laurie


Johnny Parker profile image

Johnny Parker 6 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

I started a journal to sort out my head after divorce eight years ago and have kept it going ever since. I think it becomes addictive and it has helped me to realise that writing is 'my thing'. I started a pal on journals when he was suffering anxiety and it helped him calm down. Great therapy, can't recommend it enough.

Great piece - so many Christmas presents are trash - I can see why the family look forward to the 'Journal' finale.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

WoW! What a gift of yourselves and your hearts to each other. AND...what a gift tis journal will be in years to come to your children and grandchildren! I can`t imagine the treasure it will be. I too have a sister that is 7 years younger than I. We too are very close, she calls me her second mom, and I am honored to wear the label!We do all kinds of special little things for each other, but I had nevr thought of this! What a grand idea especially as we live two provinces apart! Thank you Laurie Dawn for the excellent hub and the creation of a new tradition! Blessings to you (and your lil' sis) Ulrike Grace


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Johnny,

I too write in journals all the time, thoughts to put down that I cannot speak outloud, negative things, positive things, and sometimes actually just scribbles that make no sense. I think that is a wonderful idea what you did for your friend! Anything to help out a friend I say!

Thank you for your compliments. I always want my gifts to have meaning to those I love, and sometimes we just hit on an idea.

Blessings,

Laurie


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Grace,

Thank you for your compliments! We are so blessed to have sisters in our lives that we are close to! She always gives me such wonderful memories that I wanted to share something special for her. I am glad I could pass this tradition along to others, for it surely does give a legacy to pass down through the years.

Blessings,

Laurie


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Oh, this is a beautiful idea, and I am absolutely going to do this with my mum (I don't have a sister, and I know my brother would just forget!). We both keep journals of our own, and we both write all the time (my mum writes poetry, I write prose - so a journal filled with a mixture of both would be so nice). I know this will make my mum cry! Thank you for this :)

Linda.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Lady Wordsmith,

Thank you for your sweet compliments. That would be a splendid idea to share that with your mom! I am sure she would love it, and cherish it, just as you would! And you are most welcome, I had to share this with others, it has brought much to my own life.

Blessings,

Laurie


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 6 years ago

I love this story. My oldest sister gave me a birthday card at the very bottom of the card it read "If I was smart I would save it and give it back to her." I did that. She loved it. It ironic today is her birthday again.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago Author

Greetings Mimi,

Thank you for your sweet compliments. And what a beautiful idea between you and your sister! Memories like that are wonderful!

I wish you and yours a blessed Holiday season.

Blessings,

Laurie


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

I love your ideas of making the journal personal by adding special items. I too have enjoyed the story of the yellow shirt. Journals are a treat to you and your family. Write and enjoy!


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 5 years ago Author

Thank you Sally. It has been a lot of fun that is for sure and something that our entire family waits for every year. Even tho they do not read it, they still wait every time for it to be presented and watch their moms cry and carry on!

Blessings,

Laurie

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