An Editor’s Thoughts on Journaling: Six Ideas for “Thought-Full” Gift Giving

An illustration of a journal with a ribbon and a pen

By Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

Two weeks ago we shared some thoughts from our publisher Phyllis Hoffman DePiano concerning journaling, gift giving, and preserving life’s special moments. We promised a journal gift guide, and today Phyllis is sharing six special inspirations. These journals make fun and lasting gifts and allow others to get involved in the enjoyment of journaling.

  1. A Journal for a Newborn

Present a small journal for a mother-to-be to have at the hospital when her baby is born. Visitors can write a short note to the baby and to the proud parents, recording comments, reactions, and good wishes. When the baby is brought home, the journal can be handy for well-wishers to jot a few lines when they visit. The joy that people feel at the birth of a baby will be remembered in a special way.

  1. A Recipe Journal

A clever idea that a bride-to-be shared with me is to create a recipe journal as a unique keepsake for the bride. Before the wedding, members of the bride’s family and the groom’s write their favorite family recipes in the journal. Such a collection from the women and the great male cooks of the family makes a wonderful just-getting-started cookbook. And it’s even more treasured because it is written in the hand of each loved one who contributed.

  1. A Graduation Journal

Graduation from high school or college is a major milestone in a person’s life and in the lives of the family. To mark the occasion, create a graduation journal and ask those who attend the celebration to record their thoughts on that day. Or you can pass the journal around ahead of time to be signed weeks before the graduation ceremony. This gives each person time to reflect and to record memories and wishes for the graduate.

  1. An Anniversary Journal

A journal is an excellent way to make a wedding anniversary more memorable. When my cousin’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, she asked each family member to send a handwritten letter, along with photos, to be compiled in a keepsake journal. What a wonderful idea! Choose a loose-leaf journal so the pages can be sent to the people participating and then easily reassembled. In addition to having thoughts and feelings permanently recorded in letters, the photographs that turn up are always surprising!

  1. A Special-Year Journal

Special years of our lives can take on added significance when recorded in a journal. Your first year of marriage. Your child’s senior year in high school. I wish I had a journal for the year I learned to drive! (The first outing included my slamming on the brakes, causing my mom to be thrown to the floorboard of the car.) The secret to creating a special-year journal is to plan ahead for the years you want to especially remember.

  1. An Every-day Journal

There is nothing ordinary about an every-day journal. Much of what we know about our past comes from personal journals written long ago. Keeping a daily account does more than record the happenings of each day. It gives us a chance to reflect on that day, to put it in perspective. And, of course, rereading our personal day-to-day journals at a much later time enhances that perspective and gives us insight—if we just keep writing.

Your loved ones will be thrilled with any of these thoughtful mementos, and they will cherish the meaning behind them for years to come.

See more thoughts from our publisher Phyllis Hoffman DePiano on her blog, The Ribbon in my Journal.