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Gifts from Children Create Special Memories

Updated on March 10, 2020

Young Children Give from the Heart

Anyone who knows me well can confirm that I am a sentimental person. I save objects that have intrinsic value for me. These include not only hundreds of photographs collected throughout my lifetime, but handmade gifts from my children, grandchildren and, now, great-grandchildren, as well as other special people.

If you’re only comfortable in a minimalist environment with sleek empty surfaces and mostly bare walls, you wouldn’t want to visit me. All of these “things” I display may look like clutter to some, but to me they’re memories. I don’t mind dusting an object that’s attached to a special remembrance and feeling. Sometimes I wish I’d lived in the same big house with an attic all my life. I’m sure that, by now, the attic would be full of “kept treasures.”

Recently, my eyes fell on a wooden plaque hanging over the guest bathroom’s outer doorknob. Its message: “I’ll be out in a minute.” A raised resin teddy bear sits at the bottom of the hanger. The bear was glued back onto the plaque after coming loose when it fell on the floor one day. Luckily, it didn’t break and looks much the same as it did when it was given to me more than twenty years ago.

It makes me smile even now to recall how that plaque came into my possession. When my daughter’s son was about seven, I went to visit them during the holiday season and stayed over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Their home had two bathrooms—the master bath and another off the central hall. My grandson and guests shared the hallway bath. That’s where I first saw the teddy bear plaque on the door announcing, “I’ll be out in a minute.”

I thought it adorable and said so, both to my daughter and my young grandson. In fact, I must have been quite enthusiastic in my praise of the door hanger—enough to make an impression on my grandson.

The next morning when we were gathered around the Christmas tree opening gifts, my grandson handed me a small package with that wonderful look of having been wrapped by a child. When I pulled apart the edges of paper, there was the teddy bear door hanger. Since I liked it so much, he told his mom he wanted to give it to me. It remains one of my favorite Christmas gifts and a cherished possession all these years later. It looks its age, a bit worn at the edges and the paint faded, but that only adds to its charm in my eyes.

I wonder if my adult grandson remembers giving it to me…

Kids Often Give Handmade or Decorated Objects


A Child's Creation is Priceless

Two other gifts that grandson gave me as a child are visible in my home—one in the kitchen, the other on a bookshelf.

Children often make things at school or church school, and one of the items he made was a jar or pot with the shape of a green bell pepper. On one side there was a humorous face with large nose. This "pepper" pot boasts a removable top that can be lifted off by the “stem.” I’m not sure of the medium used to produce this delightful veggie in a mold, but the unpainted interior looks chalky. The outside of the pepper is painted a bright green with features outlined in black. When I first lifted the top, I found a note inside warning me not to use it for food, only for display. I’ve dutifully abided by that advice.

Mr. Pepper, as I dubbed this creation, toppled from his shelf some years ago, and the bottom part broke into three large pieces. Fortunately, there were no shards or tiny bits, and it was easy to glue the pot back together. I would have been devastated to lose it.

Another gift from this grandson when he still saw the world through the eyes of a child is a discarded turtle shell he found and painted in a multitude of colors. There’s no pattern; it looks like abstract art as it resides on one of my bookcase shelves.

Each of these treasures has moved with me numerous times throughout the years, always packed carefully and displayed when unpacked. Every time I notice any of them, I think of this grandson as a young boy. An adult now, he lives in another state and I see him infrequently, but I when I look at something he gave me when he was a child, I think of his ready smile and expressive eyes.


Mother’s Day, my birthday and Valentine’s Day often brought me lovingly handmade cards—some drawn and colored with crayons, others with hearts or flowers cut out of separate paper and pasted onto the card. Small hands wrote, “I love you”, words that were precious to me then, even more so now. Of course I saved them! Need you ask?

I’ve also saved the few letters written to me by children and grandchildren, most of which were penned at an early age before they learned to spell. What charming missives… One letter addressed simply to “Grandmother” above my address was a delight to take from my mailbox and read.

Not all letters deserving to be saved came from my own children or grandchildren. When my brother was twelve years old (I was twenty-one), he mailed a brief letter to me in November announcing that cash would be an acceptable Christmas gift that year. Occasionally I pull it from my box of treasures and laugh aloud just as I did when I first read it five decades ago.


I'll Bet This Made the Mail Carrier Smile


My Home Always has Room for Happy Memories

A small wooden plate sits atop a chest in my bedroom. On the plate are several painted rocks. I’ve had two of these since my own children were young. They glued smaller pebbles onto the larger rocks and painted them. One pebble became a ladybug sitting on a painted leaf. The other is a turtle, its shell painted in white squares.

The other rocks, painted in pastels, were given to me a few years ago by great-grandchildren. They look right at home on the wooden plate alongside the much older painted rocks and evoke more special memories for G.G.—the name that’s easier for small tots to say than “Great-Grandmother.”

Another gift from some of my great-grands that’s tucked away in a drawer awaiting repair is a handmade photo frame, its sides and backing made of pieces of bamboo glued together, its hanger a piece of wire. Unfortunately, one side came loose…I must remember to buy some glue and fix that frame so I can re-hang the photo (of the children, of course) where it belongs.

I have an assortment of drawings from the great-grands, many of them containing stick figure people, plus the trees and houses that children just learning to draw often include in their pictures. As their drawing becomes more accomplished, they may add dialogue balloons or write captions. I have a special scrapbook for these that will hold additional pages as I receive more drawings. Someday the youngest babies in the family will be holding crayons in chubby hands and making more pictures for G.G.

Young children don't strive for perfection when they give something they made or decorated to someone they love. Their gifts, possibly smudged with small fingerprints, come straight from the heart. Nothing is more valuable to me.


I have one “honorary” grandchild, now a teen. I’ve known her all her life, and she lived with me for two years. A miniature glass with a handle holds layers of brightly colored sand, and her name is on an attached label, its print fading. She gave this to me when she was about seven years old, and it’s a reminder of her childhood—a time when she too called me “Grandma.”

Guaranteed to Cause a Smile


Are you sentimental?

Do you have a collection of children's gifts and artwork such as mine?

See results

G.G.'s Art Collection


Unique Artwork

My two sons, both artistic, enjoyed drawing and painting as children. My daughter was more likely to cut and paste to make a paper collage, although as she grew older she learned cross-stitch and I was the recipient of some of her handiwork. Occasionally, my offspring would bring me samples of their work from school art class or something they drew or made “just for fun.”

One picture was created with paint on heavy textured paper, 11x14 inches—not canvas, but a simulation. The paint was brushed on thickly in earth tones. Was it a landscape? No. A still life? Not exactly.

The painting was of one object standing on end—a most unusual subject, but one which my younger son obviously thought worthwhile for a painting: a large pipe wrench. I’m sure he’d seen his father tackling some household repair with such a tool. He presented the painting to me with a flourish. I was duly impressed and kept it until he was grown up, when I gave it and several others back to him. (Adult children enjoy their youthful artwork, too.)

Gifts given to me by children are special treasures. Each one holds a memory that makes me smile.


You see, every surface and every wall in my home holds something with a memory attached. There are numerous photos of multiple generations of family and friends, with the overflow stored in albums and boxes. Handmade objects and pictures drawn by children are visible in every room.

Others are stored for lack of display space, and I love an excuse to take them out and look through them, whiling away an afternoon as I remember the small hands that held them and the oh-so-sweet childish kisses that accompanied the gifts. Precious memories, indeed. Children grow quickly into adolescents, then adults, but these mementoes bring back their childhoods to my mind with clarity.


Yes, gifts from children enrich my life and my home, each one evoking a special memory. I may have to dust more than a minimalist, but that’s a small price to pay for these irreplaceable treasures.

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Submit a Comment
  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Shyron - What a lovely experience, and thanks for sharing it here. Young children are so innocent and full of wonder. They are wonderful to observe and to interact with because of it. As they grow older, of course, they lose the innocence while learning to fit into the world. So it makes their young years all the more precious to everyone who cares about them.


  • Shyron E Shenko profile image

    Shyron E Shenko 

    7 years ago from Texas

    Jaye, your hub is beautiful and you must be one of those grandma who has grandkids who love her very much.

    This also reminds me of the beautiful gift yesterday which I will hold in my heart for a long, long time.

    I was seated next to a little boy maybe four or less and he smiled at me with his angelic face right into my eyes, my heart melted. When we stood to say the Lord's prayer, hubby and I were holding and this little guy stood on tip toes to reach for my hand, then after the prayer was said and we were shaking hands and wishing everyone peace, the little one instead of shaking hands he gave his mom, bothers and sister a hug and then he gave me a hug. Then tugged at hubby's pants and extended his hand. To me that was so precious and I can hold it in heart for a long, long time.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Au fait, both for the explanation and for the comment about this hub. I also appreciate the link.

    What's "leisure time?" Haha. I'm working today, but enjoying it after a more hectic week than usual for me. I took a break to feed my dog (who insists on her lunch whether I eat or not!) and check my email, including HP notifications. It's nice to hear from you, and I do understand about your Comments setting.

    Have a good weekend!


  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    7 years ago from North Texas

    'They' seem to have taken away the ability to email each other so that leaving a comment on a hub is now the only way to contact each other. I guess they want to make sure 'they' are privy to every word we say to each other, and include the whole world too, since this is basically an international bulletin board.

    Was just working on my comments and wanted to let you know that the reason your comments disappear after you submit them is because I have comments received set on approval. Unfortunately some people like to leave unpleasant remarks, to put it mildly, and the only way to keep them from going live is to not let any of them go live until I've checked them. I used to always let comments go live immediately and prefer to do that, but there's always a few who have to spoil it for everybody else, so I've had to set them on approval like so many other people do here. I don't get to come to HP as much as I used to and so ugly comments can stay a long time before I catch them if I don't have them set on approval.

    I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to your comments. I very much appreciate the time you took to write them out, especially since time is so precious to me and it must be to you too.

    Remember when it was said that modern conveniences and computers would make life easier and give people more leisure time? I don't know if that has been true for any of us. Maybe more convenient, but more leisure time?

    Very much enjoyed your story of the door hanger above. This is a great article and goes along well, I think, with my article on Forever Gifts. I hope you won't mind that I'm going to put a link to this article in my article.

    Again, so sorry for the confusion. Hope you're having a great weekend.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    ologsinquito - Thanks for reading and for your comment. Childhood is such a brief period, especially that time when children are so innocent and sweet. How better to capture those memories than with keepsakes and photos? Sentimental people who keep the gifts they receive from kids (or at least photos of them) get to relive those special moments.



  • ologsinquito profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    One of your headlines sums it up, "A Child's Creation is Priceless." These are lasting memories from a specific time period that can never be recaptured. Voted up and shared.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    kerlund74 - How wonderful that your daughter gave you a tablecloth that she made with her own hands! I'm sure she is delighted that your family is using it on the table, but it will also be a wonderful keepsake. When she is grown up, the sight of that tablecloth (or even a photograph of it) will take you back to the time when she proudly gave you a special gift that she made for you.

    Enjoy these precious moments with your children and showcasing their artwork. Childhood seems to last such a short time--for parents, at any rate. Thanks for reading, voting and for sharing your experience.



  • kerlund74 profile image


    7 years ago from Sweden

    I enjoyed to read about all your wonderful memories and all wonderful gifts. I have so many paintings from my children in my home. I put them up on the fridge, in the hallway and try to change them once in a while. My youngest daughter brought me a handmade tablecloth a few weeks ago, adorable, now placed on our table:) Voted!

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thank you, Eddy. Nothing surpasses that moment when a child hands you a handmade gift or one for which pennies were saved to purchase it. Like you, I cherish them all and love to relive the memories of those precious moments whenever I look at these gifts I was given by my (now middleaged) children and (now adult) grandchildren.....Regards, Jaye

  • Eiddwen profile image


    7 years ago from Wales

    Again it has all been said and I along with all love each and every gift I have received from my children. A wonderful and beautiful read.


  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    I can truly relate to other sentimentalists, Mel! Even if you don't keep a lot of keepsakes that you can touch or see, the memories you hold in your heart are precious indeed. One thing about empty nests: they tend not to stay empty for long. Even after they "fly" the nest, children always come back home to visit (often bringing their dirty laundry for Mom to wash!) Some even move back in for a while...some for a short while, others for longer periods. And then there's that special day when an adult child comes back to the nest bringing a grandchild for you to cherish! There's nothing quite like it!

    Thanks for reading and the comment. Jaye

  • Mel Carriere profile image

    Mel Carriere 

    7 years ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

    I am an extremely sentimental person, but I am too disorganized for keepsakes, so my keepsakes are mostly in my heart.

    This hub was especially poignant because I am a recent empty nester. These days my wife and I mostly sit around getting weepy remembering the days when our boys were babies. Great hub!

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thank you, Rebecca - You are obviously a sentimentalist like I am (which I think is a good thing to be--especially with regard to children).


  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    Lovely! You are sooooo right when you say a child's creation is priceless. I don't know how anyone would have the heart to just discard them as trash when the hugs and thanks are over! Thanks for sharing this!

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Writer Fox - I'm glad you pointed out the pleasure children feel from seeing their gift has been treasured--even after they're adults. You're so right. The sight of something they gave you, whether handmade or chosen, and knowing that it means something special to you, is a memory for them as well. Thanks for your insightful comment. Jaye

  • Writer Fox profile image

    Writer Fox 

    7 years ago from the wadi near the little river

    Handmade gifts from children are the most precious. I've noticed, too, that children (even when they are grown) always remember making something that you have kept. It is a memory for them, as well. Enjoyed and voted up.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Deb. I'll try to be around here more in 2014. I've got a number of writing irons in the fire, but plan on publishing at least one hub per month this year no matter what else I'm doing. I'll be reading my favorites, too, which includes your Boomer Lake reports with the gorgeous photos....Happy New Year!


  • aviannovice profile image

    Deb Hirt 

    7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

    I think there are special things out there that bring back memories for all of us. Thanks for the reminder, Jaye. Missed you.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    pctechgo - You will never regret saving all that lovely artwork of your young children. You mentioned recalling the way their small hands held the crayons. Why don't you take photos of them at work so you will have a pictorial record too? I wish I'd thought to do that years ago, and the next time one of my great-grands is drawing at my house, that's just what I'm going to do! Thanks...JAYE

    Audrey - Thank you so much for your kind words. It's wonderful that you wrote a book about your grandchildren. That's a remarkable legacy. JAYE

    Happy New Year!

  • pctechgo profile image


    7 years ago from US

    I have everything my children ever colored, drew, or by some other means created - even those masterpiece artworks created on restaurant paper placemats. They are still small and actively drawing and creating, As they hold their colored pencils, crayons , or markers (non-permanent of course), and occasional pain brushes in their little hands I take mental note at how I've seen those little hands grow from the time they were new-born and infants instinctively clutching one of my fingers as babies and infants do. To drawing and now writing too. Thank you.

  • brakel2 profile image

    Audrey Selig 

    7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    This is a lovely hub Jaye. Many children in your family loved you so much, and you must be proud. I have some things, and I became a published author by writing a story about my grandchildren. Your hubs are filled with great stories, and I love to visit them. Pinning. Blessings. Audrey

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Flourish - I enjoyed reminiscing, too. Since I have a large extended family, I only wish I had a representative photo or description of something from each one of them. Perhaps I'll add pictures and blurbs to this hub as time goes on (and as I have the opportunity to search out some of the stored artwork).

    Happy New Year!


  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    I only have one child, but the art and writings she has produced for me are truly precious. My nieces and nephews also bless me with their work. I have enjoyed your stroll along memory lane here, Jaye.

  • JayeWisdom profile imageAUTHOR

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Mary - We are kindred spirits. I cannot bear to part with something sentimental that speaks to my soul. But I know people who are polar opposites, as was my own mother, who would throw away something you were still using to avoid the slightest clutter. (Otherwise, I'd still own all the "stuff" from my own childhood! Haha.) "Made with love" is the operative phrase for gifts from children. Thanks for the vote and feedback. Happy New Year to you and your family! JAYE

    Bill - If it's possible to live in the moment while still celebrating the happy moments of the past, that is what I do. The memories that spring suddenly into my thoughts (in Technicolor, no less) when I look at the things my own children gave me when they were very young are priceless. I, too, love those memories. Happy New Year to you, too, friend Bill. I hope 2014 is a memorable one for you and Bev. JAYE

    Jodah - Thank you. I was thinking as I wrote this hub and added photos that it might be one that "like Topsy, just grows." It will be a good, reason...for me to delve into the storage boxes one afternoon and find things I can photograph and add to this hub. I would like to find at least one item from each child and grandchild to feature here.

    Happy New Year! Since Australia is closer to the International Dateline, fireworks announcing 2014 will be set off sooner there than happens here in the U.S. I hope the year is wonderful for you and your family.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    7 years ago from New York

    I too save everything with sentimental value. I have a few objects my kids made for me and to this day we're not sure what they are or what they were supposed to be, but they were made for me with love!

    Voted up and awesome. Happy New Year!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Jaye, I could ramble on about this but you said it all. My heart sings every single time I see one of the many gifts my son gave me when he was a little kid. I just love those memories.

    Happy New Year to you my friend.


  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    7 years ago from Gondwana Land

    Beautiful hub Jaye, It's wonderful to keep mementos of your children and grandchildren, and the gifts and cards they put their love into much better than something bought. It would be great to see your collection.


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