Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I’ll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you’ll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you’ll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.


Letters to Santa

My teenagers laughed at me when they discovered I’d added the letters they wrote to Santa to our Christmas photo album, but I think those letters are just as important as the photos. The photos document the obvious changes our family has experienced in birth, death, hair styles, glasses, braces, and back-to-back height comparison with grandparents and cousins. The letters reveal more subtle changes.

My children’s first letters are full of scribbled circles and arbitrarily-placed letters from their names. The details of their wish lists are in my handwriting, dictated word-by-word during the coloring process. The letters get longer as the child gets older. In some, the size of the child’s handwriting determines how much space is available and therefore, how many toys can be listed. In others, drawings are added to make sure Santa can decipher the spelling.

My first reaction to these longer lists? Greedy kids who were simply asking for whatever toy they’d last seen advertised on TV. But then I noticed these comments -- “Tell Rudolph hi.” “I belv in you Sata Kos.”  “Apples and carrots for rainder. The rest is for you.”  “I’ll be happy with anything.” “How’s it going up in the North Pole? I hope it isn’t to cold up there.” “I hope you have a safe trip.” -- and I realized that they’d begun to create conversations that didn’t revolve completely around themselves.

Dear Santa gave them the opportunity to consider another person’s life and to ask questions so they could better understand that life. They were as interested in reading Santa’s responses as they were in opening the packages.


Journal Entry:  Do your children write letters to Santa Claus?  If so, what have you learned about your child through the words he/she has written (or dictated)?


~~~ A Literary Mama Extra ~~~

Check out this essay from our archives by Editor-In-Chief, Caroline Grant:  Miracle on 34th Street



Karna Converse is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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