Memory Jar – a year in a jar

memory jar 2014

I started 2013 knowing it was going to be a year filled with joy and laughter, there was to be a wedding, our wedding, holidays at Butlins, in France and a trip to Guernsey. I also knew that the tiny things in life are also special and one day I came across a fabulous idea – a Memory Jar.

What is a memory jar?

A Memory Jar is where you keep all the positive things that happen throughout your year. You pile them all in and at the end of the year you spend a little time and look back on what you have done and achieved. You re-read the funny things your children say, you relive the shows and films you went to through the ticket stubs, gasp again at the size of that cream tea you devoured on a bank holiday through a photo. Anything that meant something to you in a certain place at a certain time during the year, add a memory.

How do I make a memory jar?

Anything will do that will contain your memories, a glass jar with a colourful ribbon tied at the top? For 2013 I was late to the party, I didn’t have time to go out and get a jar so I finished off a box of my favourite Salted Caramel chocolates – a memory in itself – and started using that with every intention of changing further down the line. But I never got round to it :)

memory box 2013

We’ve just had Christmas, if you don’t have a glass jar to hand, don’t panic, an empty tin, tea caddy, chocolate box will do. Something you can put in an accessible place  and add bits as you go through your year.

There will be quieter times of the year when you have time to sit down and write notes and other moments will be frenetic where you stuff bits in with every intention of going back later and ‘tidying’ them up. Does it matter? You decide. I never tidied mine up and I did realise towards October that my box was too small. So get yourself a BIG container and start saving memories.

Can I just say put it somewhere that will nudge your memory to use it, kitchen window sill? Bedside table? A place you visit frequently.

Sometimes life can throw us a rough hand and everything seems to take on a grey hue, this will help you pick out the bits that are good and by focusing on them and not the grey you can see that life is good if you know where to look.

What shall I put in my jar?

I won’t run you through my entire year but here are my top memories that bring joy to me re-reading them :)

memories 2013

Post it notes with short written memories ie 1st Jan –

Funny things the kids say

Beautiful places you have been too

A lock of your husbands hair? A fallen button off his shirt (I didn’t get either if these in 2013 by the way)

A train ticket from the time he took you to a show.

An acorn – I have an acorn from a walk we did in the autumn in Camer Park close by looking for conkers, there were none left but I did come home with an acorn.

Flower petals from a bouquet or the apple tree you planted.

The name of that fantastic book that really touched you

memory jar


  1. December 30, 2013 / 10:43 AM

    This is a great idea! I started doing something similar at the beginning of 2013 but with small things friends gave me, words of encouragement etc. I’d never have thought to save ticket stubs as a reminder or to pop them in a jar! Definately going to do this Lizzie

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:20 AM

      Have fun, it’s really good to look back and I’m thinking I didn’t put enough in it so will double up in 2014 and be more aware of adding to the pot

  2. Mummy Glitzer
    December 30, 2013 / 10:47 AM

    I really like this idea! Thank you. x

  3. December 30, 2013 / 11:10 AM

    What a great idea and something I think we need to do this year!

  4. December 30, 2013 / 11:17 AM

    What a brilliant idea!! I love it, those little details like an acorn that bring back by memories. This would be a great for one of those rainy days where everything feels downbeat, to get it all out and look through and remember everything there is to be happy about…what a great pick-me-up!

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:21 AM

      You know the acorn was one of my favourites? Amazing how such a small object can transport you back to the day

  5. December 30, 2013 / 1:25 PM

    Ahhh now this is a sweet idea – and perfect for memory hoarders like me!

  6. December 30, 2013 / 1:31 PM

    Oh this is such a lovely idea! May have to try it in 2014

  7. December 30, 2013 / 2:54 PM

    This is such a beautiful idea, also to pass onto the kids when they’re older x

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:22 AM

      Yes, not sure what to do with last year’s box right now, I’m guessing a box in the loft?

  8. December 30, 2013 / 4:01 PM

    I love this idea and I do actually have a spare jar so may give it a try!

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:23 AM

      Give it a go, you’ll be surprised at how much good there is in the year and fun activities that cost nothing, a shell from the beach, a leaf from the park. Enjoy it

  9. December 30, 2013 / 4:14 PM

    Love love love this idea!
    I am going to do this for 2014 as it is the year of our wedding xxx

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:25 AM

      Perfect!!! We got married last year and it was a special year for me too, I’ve loved looking back and seeing fragments of the preparations, of the day and beyond. I also had a memory box specific for the day with newspapers, a copy of the menu and lots more in there to discover on our anniversary in March

  10. December 30, 2013 / 4:30 PM

    Oh I saw another version of this last which I going to try.You could do a monthly linky of what we’ve put it perhaps?

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:26 AM

      Nice idea, I might take you up on that as it will force me to focus on the here and now on my blog too making some great diary entries

  11. December 30, 2013 / 5:03 PM

    such a lovely idea! would be great for a pick me up or a reminder how how blessed we are really :) x

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:26 AM

      Exactly! Sometimes life can be harsh but in the midst of all the black there is often some great moments that get forgotten, this helps to focus on those.

  12. December 30, 2013 / 6:20 PM

    Oooohhh what a lovely idea, we will have to do this next year. It reminds me of a box a friend gave us for our wedding. Unknown to us she asked all our friends to write a note on a post it during the wedding breakfast then gave us a box padlocked the following day. A year later we got the key in time to open on our 1st anniversary. It contained a bottle of champagne & messages from all our guests. It was lovely xx

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:28 AM

      Yes Karen, I have the same and am really looking forward to opening it on the 9th March with Paul and the girls, I know there are messages in there for us but lots of other knick knacks to take us back to that day. Can’t wait and before I go – so lovely to see you again, happy new year to you and yours xx

  13. December 30, 2013 / 6:55 PM

    I’m a longtime aficionado of ‘the memory box’. I have shoeboxes going back to my childhood in the attic of our house back in England. All the letters I’ve ever been sent, rosettes me and my sisters made and awarded one another in our mini-gymkanas, cinema tickets, horseshoes – all manner of miscellany!
    Where jars are concerned, I keep a Jar of Good Things – I write down things that brought me great happiness on a piece of paper and pop them in the jar. At the end of the year you can look back on what a wonderful life you’ve led over the past twelve months :-)

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:30 AM

      Three cheers to you! I’m a hoarder too, I’d love a rummage through your loft one day! An Aladdin’s cave of memories

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:30 AM

      You can, any box will do if you’re short of time today – I’ll help finish the chocs if needs be ;)

  14. December 30, 2013 / 7:41 PM

    Oh I do love this idea. I might try that for 2015 as I may get confused with too many jars.

  15. jenni
    December 30, 2013 / 7:58 PM

    Love your memory jars! We had a little box when we were dating but has fallen by the way side since we have had children. A good excuse to start again seeing this.

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:31 AM

      Give it a go, so long as you see it and are reminded you could end up with a year of fun to look back on that you’d forgotten :)

  16. December 30, 2013 / 8:55 PM

    What a wonderful idea Mari. You have some amazing memories in there from this year too, it must have been fabulous looking through. Just lovely :)

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:32 AM

      I’m not done with the looking through yet either. Yesterday was for my blog post, now I can go back over it with calm and really reminisce

  17. December 30, 2013 / 9:04 PM

    What a lovely idea! It’s so easy to just look back and remember the tough times. I think we’re going to try this for 2014 and try to concentrate on the positive. Thanks for the idea. x

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:33 AM

      I found it fun Penny and today I’m going to look through properly with the girls as I think it’ll be a great exercise in memory for them ;)

  18. December 30, 2013 / 10:11 PM

    I just love this idea, and along with Domestic Goddesque’s review and hopes for the year I’m going to add this to my Chrismtas and New Year traditions. All so lovely for creating good memories and bonding the family

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:34 AM

      I often think we are blessed to be in a community with so many excellent ideas as they enrich our own lives on so many levels. Have a great 2014 Helen xx

  19. December 30, 2013 / 11:09 PM

    Am SO on this for 2014, what a truly lovely way to end the year and pick us up out of the post Xmas lethargy :) Gorgeous xx

    • Mari
      December 31, 2013 / 9:36 AM

      Do it Cas, it will help you focus on here and now which can only be positive as you start 2014. Here’s wishing you a fabulous year ahead, may your dreams come true

  20. January 1, 2014 / 9:56 PM

    I love this idea – we have a big memory box but this is so much more visual and would be perfect for the little things x x

  21. January 3, 2014 / 2:52 PM

    I absolutely love this idea, and rushed out to get my jar yesterday. Just wanted to come back and say thanks :) x

    • January 3, 2014 / 9:07 PM

      Yay! I’m so pleased, we’ll have to have an update every now and then to see how we’re all getting on

  22. January 5, 2014 / 1:43 PM

    Started a jar but it is a gratitude jar. I need to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life when those dark, grey days come. Lovely ideas!

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