Make a Memory Jar to Hold Life’s Special Moments

Make a Memory Jar to Hold Life’s Special Moments

Capturing your best family memories has never been quicker or easier.

By: Leah Maxwell

There are so many ways to record family memories -- scrapbooks, photo books, digital photography and video, blogs, social media -- it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Which moments make the cut? What do you share and when and with whom? How do you know if you’re over sharing? If you’re an old-school scrapbooker, are you decimating the family budget with pretty paper and stickers and special archival, acid-free pens? Are you spending more time recording old memories than making new ones?

Life happens too fast to ponder these questions every time your kid says or does something adorable that you want to remember forever. The only way I stay sane while still managing to record and preserve the little moments that make me smile is to make it quick, easy, and no-pressure.

Introducing: the memory jar.

Whenever I want to remember a happy little tidbit from my day -- something that was said or done, perhaps a milestone achieved or a goal accomplished -- I jot it down on whatever scrap of paper I have handy and toss it into a clear-lidded canister I keep on the kitchen counter. No special pens or embellishments or formats or themes or anything else that would complicate the process. My only rule is that whatever goes into the jar has to be a positive thought, one that will make me smile or give me a lift on a down day.

My memory jar is dedicated to kid/family stuff, but yours can include anything you want: the sweet thing your husband said to you, the kind deed of a stranger at the grocery store, maybe an inspirational quote you saw online. Just remember, this isn’t a “wish jar” or a “complaints jar” but a place to store the good, happy-making moments of your life. It’s a little bit scrapbook, a little bit gratitude journal, a little bit sticky notes stuck to your computer monitor. If you include the date on every note (like I do), it can also be a makeshift time capsule.


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So far, my memory journal is for me alone, but I love the idea of one day having a family memory jar that everyone can add to. How fun would it be to go back through the notes at the end of the year and see what everyone has written about each other? If you make a tradition of clearing out the jar at the end of the year (maybe on New Year’s Eve?), you can decide how you want to preserve the notes for the long term; maybe you’ll transfer them into a scrapbook or transcribe them into a Word doc or post them onto social media to share with family and friends. You could even frame a few for display in your home.

The memory jar lends itself to any number of variations depending on what will work best for your family, but the basic idea is the same: keep it quick, easy, and no-pressure so you’ll actually use it. Don’t let those sweet moments slip away.

What’s your favorite way to record family memories?

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

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