Journal your Christmas is my favourite project of every year… and next Saturday it will start again, for my ninth year! Whether you’ve joined in this project before, seen it from afar or it’s brand new to you, you can join in!
Journal your Christmas was a journey I started nine years ago now, with the first year being just a project for myself, not thinking of taking it online at all. I’d had a rough year. I was worried about the holidays becoming more drama on top of some big events that just had me feeling lost in a very big world. I could remember being head over heels in love with Christmas growing up. It was magical as a child and still amazing when I was a teenager and moved away to college and so forth… and yet I suddenly felt like I had lost every speck of sparkle from my Christmas spirit. And I wanted it back. So I kept a little book and wrote about things every day, sometimes about my Christmas present, sometimes my memories of Christmases past and sometimes my hopes for Christmases future.
That notebook changed my life.
When that new year rolled around and we got back into the normal work schedule, friends and colleagues all commented that I seemed so different – like an improved and rejuvenated version of me. They asked what I had done over Christmas to change my attitude, and the only thing I could point to was my notebook. By thinking things through, I made a more conscious effort to enjoy the good stuff in life and minimise the drama. Sometimes they laughed at the idea, but more than one nodded and said it sounded sensible. So throughout that year, the idea of how this could continue bubbled away in my head.
Journal your Christmas became an online class in 2004, and has continued every December since. That means this is our ninth year of reclaiming Christmas on our own terms, celebrating the very best of the season and taking the time to enjoy both Christmas present and our favourite memories from many Christmases past. I am so very happy to welcome those who have been writing their Christmas memories for those past eight years right along with brand new faces and everyone who has joined us between then and now. I truly look forward to this project all year long.
What is Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas is an online scrapbooking class to celebrate the holiday season. It starts on the first of December and finishes on the sixth of January, with thirty-seven daily prompts sent by email.
Each prompt is a full-colour PDF file you can view on your screen (on your computer, iPad, smart phone or anything else that lets you view such files) or print onto paper. Each daily prompt follows a specific theme of the day, with the thirty-seven days covering all sorts of holiday aspects, from food and decorations to music and gifts. Every day there is something for you to consider and ideas to make the writing come easily. The topics can be applied to this year for documenting the current Christmas or you can get nostalgic with your Christmas memories – and most crafters write a bit about both.
The daily prompts are delivered to you at the same time each day by email, so you don’t have to spend any time logging into a website to download each day’s content. Should you have the time to chat with other participants or share your work, there is a private message board for class participants, and you can spend as much or as little time there chatting to other crafters enjoying the holiday season. Each prompt includes several examples of pages created by Journal your Christmas class participants, so you can see a range of crafting styles (including paper and digital pages) on the same theme. You can gather ideas from any of them or go in your own unique way entirely. There is zero pressure to make anything in the same style as any of the examples, including mine. Everyone and every style welcome!
How much time do I have to devote to this project?
You can devote as much or as little time as you like. Some participants create a entry or a page every day, and that’s a fab way to follow the class prompts. However it’s certainly not required, and it really wasn’t what I envisioned on day one. My original notebook was writing every day but not completing a full scrapbook page. That part came later. Since the class has permanent membership, I encourage scrappers who don’t have the time or the desire to create something every day to just choose the prompts that speak to you (or your schedule) most. You can make a few pages this year, a few pages next year and so on to fill a whole album. Or you can make a mini album every year. Or something that falls in between. You can blog your writing (either to the world or just to yourself) and choose later to add something crafty or not. You can take pictures and put together a photobook at the end of the project. We’ll cover many ways to make this work, and you can choose the options that work best for you.
What if I don’t scrapbook?
You are still very welcome to join us. Reading each day’s prompt, you might choose to respond in the form of a blog post or a plain written journal. My original book was nothing more than penned words and a tiny bit of colour here and there, so this can certainly be useful! Some participants follow the class from a photography angle, and use it as their inspiration to take a series of meaningful photos throughout the holidays. And still others read each day’s prompts just to be more mindful and aware of Christmas and use the class purely to keep them in the right mindset for enjoying the season for its real merits rather than letting commercial pressures and the stress of a busy calendar overtake their Christmas magic.
Truly, anyone is welcome.
What is included in Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas includes permanent membership – so you sign up once and can join in as many years as you would like at no additional cost. That also means once you sign up, you can access the prompts and extras from earlier years at any time, via the class forum. Those extras include printable accents, digital kits and photography challenges.
For 2012, all the class materials have been completely refreshed. If you think you already have the 37 topics in order, there will be an entire holiday season of surprises for you! Plus there is some significant video content this year, when we’ve only had a bit of video here and there in the past.
For 2012, Journal your Christmas includes:
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for writing and crafting
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for holiday photography (like getting an online photography workshop as a bonus)
…videos to support the PDFs (there is not a video every single day but there are many, and they cover a variety of things, including writing, crafting and taking pictures)
…exclusive digital and printable designs for your pages
…private forum to chat and share your work
…online chat to start the project (of course your attendance is optional)
…bonus offers from some of my favourite websites
…£1 donation to The Girls’ Fund via Plan, helping provide education and well-being to girls in difficult circumstances around the world.
And I’m happy to say the class is the same price as last year and the year before that.
How do I join Journal your Christmas?
Easy! Just choose your currency and click the button below for your choice of UK pounds or US dollars. If neither of those is your currency, you can still join us! Choose either and the payment will convert automatically when you make your payment.
You can pay by credit/debit card or Paypal account. If you would like your prompts to come to a different email address than the one on your Paypal account, please be sure to leave a note in the message to seller section with the email address you would like to use. Orders can take up to 24 hours to process, though we are usually quicker. If you haven’t received your class registration after 24 hours, just email me and we’ll make sure your registration is completed and ready for you to get started!
If you participated last year, you don’t need to do anything to join us again. This week you will receive an email with some updated info and reminders for you. The only thing you might need to do is update your email address if it has changed over the past year. By the way, if you don’t remember your username or password for the class forum, send an email here for help with that!
Can I gift Journal your Christmas to a friend?
Yes, of course! Just use the same button to join, and leave the email address of the friend in the notes field of the payment. Or if you miss that step, send me an email. If you would like me to send a personal email to the gift recipient to reveal your gift (or keep your Secret Santa identity a secret), I am happy to do either. Just let me know.
Do I need to prepare in advance?
You don’t need to, no. Some crafters really like to prepare a book in advance. Some don’t. There are many participants already discussing this sort of thing on the forum and once you sign up you can see all sorts of completed Christmas Journals to get an idea of what style you would like best.
There are also a few archive posts here you might find useful: Preparing Christmas page numbers with a video, and a second look at JYC page numbers from a different book, and preparing pocket pages ready to keep all sorts of Christmas ephemera.
Any other questions?
If you have a question I haven’t answered, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.
I very much hope you’ll join me and journal your most magical Christmas yet!24 November 2012