memory jar

Last January I blogged about a project we were going to be doing as a family over the course of the year: we had an old fashioned sweet jar on the window sill that was going to become our ‘happy memories jar’. There was a pile of coloured paper next to it and the idea was that over the course of the year, whenever we felt like it, any one of us could write down anything at all we’d experienced that had made us happy and put that in the jar. Here’s what it looked like in January:

Our Happy Memories Jar

I’ll admit we got off to a flying start (the boys leapt on the idea and immortalised lots of little moments) but I wondered at the time if we would be able to keep up the pace.

It’s certainly true that during the year there were weeks and weeks where we forgot to write anything at all… but with 2014 well and truly over I can report that at midnight on 31st of December our jar looked like this:

happy memories 2014

So on New Year’s Day (we meant to do it on New Year’s Eve but I… er… forgot) we sat down to read them all. We took it in turns to take them from the jar and criticise each other’s handwriting read them out. It took well over an hour and was so lovely! Some of the captured memories were more obvious things like our trip to Lego Land or the boys’ birthday parties but many of them were just little moments – cuddles in bed, my middle son saying he was proud of his big brother, my eldest’s reaction to the baby cutting his first tooth (“Well Done Mister!”) – things that I might have forgotten had they not been recorded by one or other of us.

It was also great to see the progress in the boys’ handwriting, particularly my five-year-old who was only four years and four months at the start of the year. The first memory he included was a picture of a stick man giving someone a hug and all his notes for the first few months are just things like “Mee and Daddy” (or name of other family member) but by the end of the year he’s written full and complex sentences.

I also really loved seeing what was important to us throughout the year. Some memories are mentioned by more than one of us which happened without the other knowing (we didn’t necessarily announce we were putting things in the jar and we certainly didn’t read any of each others’ until New Year’s Day) and there are also friends of ours that appear time and time again. It was really lovely to re-live the events and one of the reasons it took so long to read them was because we were reminiscing too.

One of the best things about this project though is how positive it makes you feel. I KNOW that 2014 wasn’t perfect; there were times when it felt like a real slog and we certainly had problems to face, some which we’re still dealing with now. But reading through the jar helped all of us to focus on the good times. It put a wonderful gloss on the whole year. And I’m all for that sort of glossing – the past is in the past so why dwell on it unless you’re thinking of the good stuff? Reading our memories together made us all, as a family, feel that we’d had a very good year. It was like all the memories were little shining baubles that we gradually piled up all around us and by the time that jar was empty the room was full of them; you could see their glow reflected in all our eyes.

2014 was brilliant. It’s true now.

19 thoughts on “memory jar

  1. Mummy Tries

    Oh hon what a beautiful thing for the whole family to do together on NYD! I am going to set up a 2015 memory jar this very minute. Thank you for the inspiration xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Glad to have inspired you Reneé although I can’t claim the original idea was my own. Glad you’re going to make a memory jar of your own. xx

      Reply
  2. Rachael

    This is so lovely! I have seen a few posts about happy memory jars this week and the idea is growing on me… I might start one this year! Mushroom can’t write at all yet but maybe we could capture his memories other ways (or get some practice in!) What a great way to capture all the Joy from the year.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      It is particularly lovely when kids can write their own but you could still write them for Mushroom or he could draw little pictures. I really do recommend the project. xx

      Reply
      1. Rachael

        I have just bought ‘Joy Jar!’ Going to help Mushroom write his first note tonight. I’ve done one already :-) – Thanks for the inspiration Maddy x

        Reply
  3. Nicola Young

    Maddy, what a lovely, inspired idea. I’m always on at the kids to be positive about things and this is such a wonderful way to demonstrate that concept. I bet you are so glad you kept it up for the whole year and now have all those little individual memories to look back on. It’s a great piece to start off your blogging year too!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Nikki! I wasn’t sure we’d manage to remember to add the memories all the year through but, despite a few lulls, we managed it and I’m so glad we did!

      Reply
  4. Dana

    Oh this is such a beautiful idea! I love all those gorgeous colorful slips of paper especially knowing the sweet sentiments inside. Definitely trying this out for 2015. So lovely.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I’m a bit of a sucker for things looking nice hence the use of an old glass sweet jar and coloured paper – I wanted it to look pretty all year! Glad you’re going to do it too. xx

      Reply
  5. 75sunflowers

    I have mine set up with a killer jar, ribbon and heart. So far we have a panto ticket stub in it but really hope to have a range of memories. I love the way it focused you on the positives of the year. Hope you have a memory filled 2015 :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Good idea to put ticket stubs in the jar – that hadn’t occurred to me! Hope you fill your jar with lovely memories too. Thanks for commenting. x

      Reply
  6. Helen

    What a fantastic idea, and so simple to do. I’m tempted to give it a go, perhaps on a small scale, trying a “memory month” first so that the 3yo has a more immediate return on it. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Helen, and I love the idea of a ‘memory month’ as kids do perceive time differently! You can still build them up into a year of memories at the same time. xx

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge