Family Real Life

Making a Memory Jar

Toward the end of last year, a great idea popped up on my newsfeed: making a memory jar. It’s really simple: start the new year with an empty jar and fill it up over the year with recorded memories, fun moments, blessings counted, and joys celebrated.  At the end of the year, reflect on the year past by reading through them.

making memories in a jarI am a sucker for nostalgia and figured this would not only be a great way to count our blessings, but it would also make a great gift. So, our New Year’s Eve guests received a jar for each family!

While making them, I realised that it’s the kind of gift that could be given at just about any time of year. It didn’t have to be something started at the beginning of the year. Nor did it have to be a daily discipline. And it’s totally transferable to a number of different forms or for different occasions.  Before long, I had a list of ideas for a variety of Memory Jar gifts and a whole bunch of enthusiasm for sharing the ideas with our awesome Hip Homeschool Moms community – you!

So, without further ado, here’s a number of ways to adapt your Memory Jar for any special occasion.

Start with the basic Memory Jar gift idea:

  • Buy a decorative jar or clean up a recycled one.
  • Use glass pens, decorative fabric or paper, ribbons, and other goodies to pretty up the jar in the theme of the occasion.
  • Pop a pen inside the jar.
  • Finish up with a stack of post-its, notelets, or a cube of note paper.
  • Bundle the gift together with a special note of instructions.

Then adapt the Memory Jar to reflect your specific occasion:

  • Birthdays: Decorate the jar with your friend’s birth date or special birthday memories. Add a special memory verse or add details specific to her birth month – birthstone, birth month, color, etc.
  • Anniversaries: Decorate the jar with the anniversary date or special messages related to the anniversary. Is it a wedding anniversary? Include something special inside the jar related to the number of years they’ve been married. Is it their 9th year of marriage? Make the jar a pottery one. Maybe it’s their 13th, in which case lace is the traditional gift.  You could include a lace bookmark or cover the lid with a lacy doily.
  • Baby showers: Make a booklet of milestone-specific notes with space for the new mom to fill in special memories: first smile, first tooth, first word, etc.  Better still, have everyone at the baby shower bring along a small gift card for baby stores, local restaurants, babysitting, or diaper services, and pop them into the jar as a collaborative baby shower gift.
  • Valentine’s Day: Instead of having your valentine add his own special memories to a jar, why not fill the jar with special memories to be opened every week of the year until the next Valentine’s Day? Obvious decor ideas include lots of hearts. Double points for chocolate hearts!
  • Mother’s Day / Father’s Day: Just like Valentine’s, these special days are made all the better with notes that are to be taken OUT of the jar to be read weekly or – if you can muster up 365 separate memories – every day! Some years ago, I created a similar thanksgiving jar for my mom on Mother’s Day. It remains one of her favorite Mother’s Day gifts to date.
  • Thamaking memories in a jarnksgiving: Without a doubt, this special occasion is the most obvious choice for a memory jar that focuses on counting our blessings! You can have loads of fun with decor ideas – starting with a pumpkin jar!
  • New Year’s: We decorated our New Year’s Jar with the new year’s date on a chalk painted label; a Bible verse for the year, and a short poem encouraging the new owners of the jar to record special memories each day of the year.

Present to your special person with his (or her) Memory Jar along with a note of instructions:

This is a chance to be as creative or as simple as possible. For our New Year jar, the poem below got our message across, but you can use anything that suits the occasion.

Count your blessings each day this year;

Recall a moment joyful or dear;

Write it down and pop it in here;

12 months later, open and share!

Feel free to share your ideas or even photos of your own memory jar. We’d love to see how your family is blessed with this simple idea! Happy memory-making!

About the author


Taryn Hayes calls Cape Town, South Africa her home. The crazy antics of her husband, Craig, and their four kids feature regularly over at their family blog, Hazy Days. Taryn is also the author of the youth novel, Seekers of the Lost Boy, about a 12-year-old homeschooled boy and his family. They end up on an incredible adventure after finding a mysterious message in a bottle, washed up on the beach one morning. Read more at her author site:

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