WHAT IS A MEMORY JAR?!
Train ride to Union Station for coffee!
Each year on New Year’s day, we plan a family date. One year we did an Escape Room. Last year we rode the train downtown and ate at Cheesecake Factory since my son had never been before. This year the kids chose the Museum of Nature and Science and brinner (that’s breakfast for dinner!) at our favorite diner.
At dinner I dump the memories in the middle of the table and we take turns going around the table taking a note from the pile and reading it aloud. You will be surprised at the things you forgot, and even more surprised at the things your kids come up with. One of my son’s notes this year read “looking forward to my hot, summer bod!” You guys he is 14. For the love!
Here are my suggestions for pulling it off:
1) Shhh….it’s a secret! DO NOT SHARE what you write. It’s a surprise until the end of the year when you do the big reveal as a family!
2) What did they say?! Be sure and capture the funny things your kids say. Those are my fave ones to read! And you’ll think at the time that it’s so funny you will never forget, but you will. (Like that time I wore the same outfit 2 nights in a row and my daughter said ever-so-casually as I was walking out the door “we’re just going to pretend you didn’t wear that outfit last night!”)
3) Prompts are where it’s at! I give my family writing prompts so they have ideas on something to write about. What are you most looking forward to this summer? What is one thing you did nice for someone today? What were the top 3 highlights of our vacation? Easy stuff like that, but it gets them thinking (and writing!)
4) Don’t forget to actually write! I drop random notes in the jar whenever I think of something to add. And I use my phone’s note app to record memories when I’m out and about, to the point now that whenever someone says something funny the whole family shouts “Put that in the jar!”. But my family would never remember to write if I didn’t remind them. So a couple of times a month after dinner I pass out slips of paper and make them write!
5) Dates are important! Be sure and date the slips. And we can tell whose note is whose by the handwriting, but you may want to put your name too.
6) The devil is in the DETAILS! Remember to be specific when writing your note. You may not remember what the note means 6 months from now when you read it!
7) The big day! Plan a fun family date at the end of the year to read the notes. We always do it on New Year’s day. People in the restaurant will look at you like you’re crazy, but they’re just jealous of all the fun you’re having!
Museum of Nature and Science is always a family fave!
Me stalking the kids taking a break in the food court!
And that’s it!
And that’s it! It’s super easy and super fun. Even my teenagers look forward to it every year. Life goes by so fast, and I want to capture every moment I can with these two! And be sure and save the notes from each year so that someday you can pull them out and laugh again!