How to Write a Legacy Journal for Your Grandkids

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

A legacy journal makes for a personalized, heartfelt gift that your grandchildren will treasure for a lifetime. How should you get started, though — and what exactly goes into the creation of a legacy journal?

Legacy journals stem from the ancient Jewish tradition of passing down written memories and life advice to future generations. Legacy journals follow a child’s growth and development throughout their lives, capturing the magical moments that make your family complete. Here’s how to create a beautiful tribute guaranteed to touch any grandchild’s heart.

Select Your Journal and Format

The first step in creating a memorable journal involves selecting an appropriate medium. Given advances in technology, some may opt to create an electronic journal, while others prefer the personal touch of handwriting in a specially selected journal book.

Truly tech-savvy grannies can easily set up a WordPress account and begin typing away. This works particularly well for those with arthritis, who may find typing easier on painful joints than holding a pen. Tinybeans presents the option of a secure sharing page where family members can upload photos and share only between other family members who join, eliminating privacy concerns.

For those who prefer a quill to a keyboard, select a journal that honors the grandchild eventually receiving the book. Creative nanas may choose to decorate the cover scrapbook-style while others prefer journals already beautified with patterns, flowers or leather.

Schedule Time to Write

The hectic pace of everyday life can leave grandparents with little time to write. Many grandparents today choose to work part-time well into their retirement, while others assist working parents with child care duties and cleaning tasks. Some do both.

Select a time to write when the house quiets down and reflection comes easily. Aim to schedule at least 30 minutes per month to add to journal entries. Investing in a tape recorder can help remind forgetful folk of special details they want to include in their writing later.

Whatever to Say?

The contents of legacy journals vary. Some people prefer to journal about only special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations and holidays. Others consider their legacy journal to serve as their last words of wisdom to their families upon their passing.

Anything and everything, from special moments to large milestones, makes for excellent journal fodder. Pay particular attention to capturing events that occur in a child’s early years that they won’t remember but will enjoy reading about just the same.

Focus on Feelings

Even though many grandparents include words of wisdom intended to enlighten future generations, words coming from the heart mean even more. Celebrate the successes grandchildren achieve and shower them with praise.

Include details such as the feelings experienced when holding the little one for the first time. Use humor when appropriate — every family shares little inside jokes that make for marvelous memories. Sprinkle in words of wisdom among the nostalgia.

Consider a Pragmatic Touch

While legacy journals center on emotions, that doesn’t mean they can’t include practical gifts within. One popular emerging trend involves buying children stock and other investments instead of gifts of toys or clothing.

Including information regarding these investments in a legacy journal makes for an extra-delightful surprise, especially among those planning to gift their journals when grandchildren reach adulthood or graduate from college. Imagine the smiles when grandchildren learn they already have the financial resources they need to buy a home or attend graduate school.

Include the Family

While most legacy journals arise from one-person contributions, getting the entire family, or at least certain members, involved can create an even more memorable gift. Everyone views memories of special events through their own unique lens, and additional praise from family members and friends alike make grandchildren feel especially accepted and loved.

Save Letters, Cards and Photos

Legacy journals make the perfect place to preserve favorite letters, cards and family photos for grandchildren. Those utilizing a traditional paper journal can include these items scrapbook style. People creating electronic legacy journals can scan and upload postcards from family vacations and pictures of special celebrations.

Deciding When to Gift

The final step in creating a legacy journal involves deciding when to make the gift. Timing really matters.

Grandparents who consider their legacy journal to serve as a sort of last will and testament may wish to rent a safe-deposit box to be opened only after they pass on. Others, especially those who have made surprise investments for their grandchildren, may wish to present their journal upon the child’s high school or college graduation. Some choose to gift their journals when their grandchild has their first baby to encourage younger family members to continue the tradition.

Legacy journals make the ultimate personalized gift. Leaving a piece of yourself and your treasured memories allows your words and traditions to pass down to future generations. Get started on your own journaling journey today.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired two decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
This entry was posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Heart Song, Is It Work or Is It Passion?, Legal Matters, Women's Work and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.