February 05, 2019 6 min read
Have you ever heard of a memory jar?
We only started our own memory jar a couple of years ago, but it’s worked so well that I don’t see us stopping it any time soon.
It all started when our little village school started sending home Proud Clouds in the children’s book bags. Simply put, a Proud Cloud is a template of a cloud with a few lines inside for you to write down anything and everything your child has achieved.
We thought we’d continue this idea at home, but we didn’t just note down achievements, we started to keep a note of all sorts of special moments and goings on.
And we kept them in a jar…………………
A memory jar is a little bit like a journal, but much easier to keep, with no pressure to make it look pretty or perfect.
It’s a simple, large jar with a lid that you keep somewhere accessible. You then add memories and moments to it, as they happen (or whenever you remember) throughout the year.
It’s something everyone can join in with, so it’s a family, rather than a strictly grown-ups only activity.
I’m a huge fan of bullet journals, scrapbooks and albums, but keeping a memory jar has been, by far, the easiest way I’ve found to record day-to-day family memories. The kinds of things that are so easily forgotten and lost.
Memories of the funny little things that people say; the first time the baby says "I Love You"; the ‘Well Done’ stickers and random things that come home from school (that you don’t necessarily want to keep), or memories of fun days out.
Keeping a memory jar was one of my absolute favourite things to do last year. I started mine off on the 1st of January and carried it on for the whole year, but I know plenty of people who start there’s off in September, so the jar runs alongside the school year instead.
So What Do You Need?
I have a big clip-top Kilner Jar, just because it looks rather nice perched on the kitchen windowsill, but anything will do, even an empty ice cream tub. I’m guessing glass wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice, particularly if children will be adding to it regularly.
At the end of last year, I decided that I definitely didn’t want to throw all out precious little notes away, but at the same time, I didn’t really want to fill my attic with 20 years-worth of memory jars.
So at the end of the year, I decided to put all the notes in date order and carefully stick them into a much-easier to store scrap book. It also makes an entire year of memories much easier to flick through.
And What Do You Do?
Place you jar somewhere easy to reach and see. If you tuck it away inside a cupboard, you’ll never remember to add to it.
Every time something happens that you want to remember, write it on a note card and add it to the jar.
Your note can be absolutely anything. A reminder about somewhere you went; something you watched; something that happened at school or work; even just something that made you all laugh.
Try to write a name and a date on the card if you can. It’s lovely to hear about moments from different people’s point of view and to pin point when in the year the memory happened.
Then, at the end of the year, open the jar and read all the note cards together.
Afterwards, you can either pop them back in the jar for safe keeping or add them to an album to display your memories of a whole year spent together.
Your memory jar is a fantastic permanent reminder of all the moments shared and helps you to appreciate the little things.
So what sort of things should you Add?
The beauty of making your own memory jar using blank note cards, is that it’s completely personal. You can add whatever memories you like. Whatever moments mattered to you, but here’s a few ideas to get you started:
It’s fascinating to see how children remember these special times and then compare what they write each year. Seeing how their views change as they grow.
Mini obsessions are almost always phases and can be a lot of fun to look back on.
Not all our memories are things that actually happen. Sometimes we might want to recall the things that we desperately wanted or the thoughts that flickered across our minds. Our thoughts and dreams.
These note cards can be private or for all to see. Simply write ‘for the eyes of---’ on the outside of the card and fold it up tight. Sweet and simple.
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