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Memory Jar Christmas Gift

Updated on August 18, 2014

DIY A Christmas Gift that is Sure to Please

Over the years I have made a lot of crafts, especially for my family. I can honestly say that this has been my favorite and has meant the most to me.If you're up in the air about what to get that special person for Christmas, why not make a Memory Jar? It's sure to be a family or friend pleaser that will last for years, because it is unique and the only one in the world like it. 

So go ahead; I'll walk you through the steps. Make that Memory Jar now and enjoy the laughter and fun for years to come! You won't regret it.

P.S. Don't forget to take all the Christmas polls below.

(Photo by favored1)

Copyrighted Material by Favored1. Do not copy. Photo credit byFavored1 or Amazon unless otherwise noted. This artwork is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. When used: Animation by www.glitter-graphics.com, www.picgifts.com, www.photobucket.com and www.animateit.net

 


The Memory Jar - A great gift for family or friends!

Photo by Favored1
Photo by Favored1

Step 1: Select a Container (for your memories)

Step 2: Decorate the Jar & Lid

Step 3: Write the Memories

Step 4: Type, Copy, Cut

Step 5: Fill the Jars

Step 6: Put on the Lid

Step 7: Put on the Ribbon and Gift Tag

Step 8: Give the Gift

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Step1:Selecting the Right Size Jar

Glass or Plastic?

The number of memories you wish to use in the memory jar will determine the size of the jar you will need. If you want to create one for the year using 365 pieces of paper, then select a jar that is about 30 ounces. For a 30 day memory jar a container such as the size of a 15oz peanut butter jar works great. You can use a glass or plastic jar for these projects.

A good selection of jars with twist top lips can be purchased at a craft/hobby shop or dollar store. The wonderful thing about purchasing a plastic jar at a dollar store is they often come decorated, saving valuable time. The option is clearly up to you and how much time you have to spend on each memory jar. However, specialty jars are also beautiful and quite often people choose to display their gift. For this reason you may want to purchase a more elaborate type of container

Humm.. let me think.

Have you ever heard of a memory jar?

See results

Why I made a Memory Jar

As my family grew it became more difficult to buy gifts for everyone. Finding the right gift at the right price took a little creativity. By the time my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, to be honest; it was hard to get them anything. You don't need a whole lot when you're married that long.

I had made special gifts in the past, but frankly, I wasn't too interested in making any more that would take up so much of my time. It wasn't that I didn't want to make anything for my family, but that my schedule was pretty full then, so I needed to come up with something easy, but unique.

No, I didn't find unique, but I did find fairly easy. Making a memory jar apparently has been around awhile, but I had not heard of it at this level. We found the idea fascinating and challenging as my husband and I pulled out the photo albums. For several days we poured over pictures in the evening and wrote down ideas of what we might like to share. Before we knew it, we had hundreds of memories and had to begin scratching away at our list.

In the end, I'm glad that I made this gift for all my family (one per each household; I made 8 jars). Over the years my sisters and mother have told me how they still use their memory jars when they need a little cheering up on a somewhat lonesome day. It really helps since we all live in different states, and now that my mom has moved to Heaven, the memory jar is even more special and valued.>

Assorted styles to fit your budget - These may be what you're looking for!

Anchor Hocking Emma Jar with Glass Cover, 32 oz (Set of 4), 4 Count
Anchor Hocking Emma Jar with Glass Cover, 32 oz (Set of 4), 4 Count
Great selection for making and storing crafts or food gifts. Buy by the pack and save money. Also comes in a smaller 20 ounce size.
 
Bormioli Rocco Fido Glass Canning Jar Italian 67¾ oz-2 Liter, 67.75 oz, Clear
Bormioli Rocco Fido Glass Canning Jar Italian 67¾ oz-2 Liter, 67.75 oz, Clear
Oversided for convience. Great for storing crafts or food. Easy open lid.
 
Bormioli Rocco Case of 6 Fido Latch Lid 500ml (16 Oz) Square Canning Cosmetic Storage Hermetic Italian Jars From Italy
Bormioli Rocco Case of 6 Fido Latch Lid 500ml (16 Oz) Square Canning Cosmetic Storage Hermetic Italian Jars From Italy
Easy to open lid and allows you to view the contents at the same time. Just the right size for those inbetween needs. Sturdy container with heavier glass.
 

Step 2: Decorate the Jar & Lid

Let's Get Started!

It's your jar and memories. Do whatever you want in the way of making it fit your personality. You may want to put decals or holiday stickers on it, paint a great scene or leave it plain so the colors of the paper show through the container. Just be sure in whatever decision you make, that you have the memory jar finished in design and completely dry before you place any slips of paper in them.

(Bye-the-bye: Don't put any candy, none at all, in your jars. All your hard work will quickly become a sticky mess.) See below for ideas on decorating your lids.

Is there an artist in the making? - How about trying something new by painting your memory jar.

Donna Dewberry One Stroke Painting - 300 Series Library Set
Donna Dewberry One Stroke Painting - 300 Series Library Set
She has wonderful and easy techniques to follow. Donna's ideas make it a pleasure to paint with no regrets. I love her work!
 

Other Things You May Need - Hot Glue Guns and Jar Toppers

Design your own jar topper with these patterns and ideas.

Hot Melt Glue Gun with 40 Glue Sticks
Hot Melt Glue Gun with 40 Glue Sticks
Cut down on frustrating glues that don't work. Using a hot glue gun will allow you to spend time doing other things instead of waiting around for the glue to dry on your project. A hot dab of glue sets the item in place with no worries of it moving about as you work on your craft.
 
Christmas Jar Toppers: 14 Quick-to-Stitch Gift Ideas
Christmas Jar Toppers: 14 Quick-to-Stitch Gift Ideas
Designing your own jar topper gives your gift that extra touch your friends will appreciate. Check out the easy quick-stitch ideas for yourself.
 
Mccall's Crafts Pattern 3205 - Jar Toppers
Mccall's Crafts Pattern 3205 - Jar Toppers
Creations like these are sure to be eye catching. Put your personal touch on each jar top and see how much your gift will be enjoyed.
 
Image credit by Google Images
Image credit by Google Images

Step 3: Write the Memories

How the Memory Jar will be used.

>Writing down what you remember from the past may seem like a hard thing to do, but it really isn't. With a quick glance through old photo albums and a few conversations with relatives or treasured friends, you will be surprised at the amount of things you will recall. You can write on anything that made an impact on your memories. It could be happy, funny, comforting, or simply just reflection on things you did as a child or with your family. Anything that brings a sense of joy and love to the one whom will receive the gift is what you are aiming to achieve.

How will the Memory Jar will be used?

First decide on the number of days you want the gift to last. For each day you will need at least one memory slip for the individual to read. Depending on the size memory jar you want to make will determine the amount of memory notes (sentences or topics) you will need. If you are doing a small one for your co-workers or friends, you may only want to create a 30 day memory jar (which means you only need 30-40 memories of things that happened at work or with your friend(s). I like to add a few extra slips for those slow days when you need a little something to cheer you up.)

Since I wanted my gift to last all year, I wrote about 370 memory slips that took in to account each member of the family over the past 30+ years. This way they could read one each day if they wanted. Every jar was identical which made it a lot easier to complete. *Look for some of my memories on this site.

Try not to make the saying too long. Let only a few words bring back the memory to the person the way they saw it happening. In other words, let them fill in the blanks and then share your memories of the event and see who is right. I've got to share this with you...our entire family sat and went through the whole memory jar after Christmas dinner. We all remembered things a little differently through our own "lenses", but it was still funny. It's been over 10 years, and we still enjoy looking at the memory jars! Just for fun I've shared some of my own memory slips after the last step, so you'll have to wait a bit.

Photos by google images.

Shopped Yet? - There's still time... but the clock is ticking away.

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

In the past I have tried to have all my holiday shopping completed by November 11th, but as the years have gone by that practice has gone by the way side. Still I try to finish early so I can enjoy watching others frantically shop... (not really).

What do you do? Are you a last minute shopper or what?

How far along are you on your shopping list?

See results
Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

Step 4: Type, Copy, Cut

Typing and Copying

TYPING

I used Microsoft Word, but you can use whatever works best for you.

1. Go to settings and set the margins for .05" on all sides.

2. Use Times New Roman Font (It's easier to read.)

3. Select Fort size 12 or 14

4. Go to format and click on columns and preset for 3 equal columns.

5. It is easier to cut the slips when you have selected to have the line between the columns.

6. Begin typing in the first column and continue from there.

COPYING

Copy your pages BEFORE you begin to cut them into individual slips of paper. Copy one page for each person who will receive a memory jar.  I used a different color page for each page of memory notes I wrote. If you end up with 3 pages, use a different color paper for each page to avoid confusion.

Example: Five people will receive the gift. So I will need 5 copies of each page.

Page 1, color light blue, 5 copies

Page 2, color pink, 5 copies

Page 3, color yellow, 5 copies

Note: Only use light pastel colors. Dark colored paper makes it too difficult to read, so people won't enjoy the gift as much, and therefore it will get put on some shelf and never used.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Did you remember to spell check?

Before you print and copy your memory pages, be sure to spell check everything.

Paper Does Matter - Select a Good Quality Paper

You will need a good quality paper of at least 24lb, because the slips will be handled over and over again throughout the year(s).

Wausau Paper Exact Pastel Copy/Laser/Inkjet Paper, 24 lb, Letter Size (8.5 x 11), Assorted Colors, 500 Sheets (60902)
Wausau Paper Exact Pastel Copy/Laser/Inkjet Paper, 24 lb, Letter Size (8.5 x 11), Assorted Colors, 500 Sheets (60902)
Soft pastel colors are perfect for color coding Great for everyday use and reports
 

Cutting Your Memory Slips - I really found this tool a big help, and the memory slips were cut evenly.

Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

Cut only one color paper at a time. Put one piece of paper in each jar. Then go on to the next color and so on... If you cut everything at the same time some may receive the same memory slip twice in their jar.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Need A Cutting Edge? - A sharp paper cutter is a time saver

Selecting the fastest way to cut "hundreds" of memory slips is only part of getting the job done. A sharp paper cutter makes the job go a bit smoother so the papers do not tear as you cut through them.

Also a grid cutter helps to make accurate cuts and less mistakes. It is worth the expense of getting a good paper cutter.

ELMERS X-Acto 12" Base Guillotine Style Plastic Paper Trimmer, 10 Sheet Capacity, Black (26232), Base Trimmer, Standard Packaging
ELMERS X-Acto 12" Base Guillotine Style Plastic Paper Trimmer, 10 Sheet Capacity, Black (26232), Base Trimmer, Standard Packaging
Use the cutting grid for exact cuts up to 10 sheets at a time Sharp blade to make trimming a breeze Easy carry handle
 

Step 5: Fill the Jars

Ooops!

You're halfway finished. Line up your jars next to one another filling each with the SAME memory slip making sure you don't put more than one in each jar.

Take your time...you're almost done! Remember to do one color page at a time. It takes "forever" to get them all sorted again if you mess up. I know, I had a small "Ooops" of my own.

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

Christmas Trivia

Was Jesus born in a stable?

No, well not the way we know stables. Bethlehem was a small city that was mainly rock like. Stables were made out of stone or part of a cave. Stone "stables" provided warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer because the stone kept the inside temperature rather even.

The night Jesus was born, the sheep (and animals) were not in the "stable", because it was a clear, warm night. Therefore, when the baby was born, the cave stable was not occupied by shepherds or sheep.

Photo by google images.

Step 6: Put on the Lid

This part doesn't take much thought, as you can tell.

Since I don't really have anything else to say in this step, why not get a little snack.

Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

Step 7: Put on the Ribbon and Gift Tag

The ribbon is as important as the jar.

I used a gold stretch cord and tied a bow around the neck of the jar. The jar was quite decorated so I wanted to keep the ribbon simple so it didn't take away from the container.

However, you may want to select several ribbons and do a layered look with a fancy bow. Whatever you choose, I'm sure it will turn out great.

Choose bright or festive colors and ribbons; packaging does make a difference. Keep in mind also, that in most cases, your gift is going to be on display all year long, so make something that will hold up in all the handling.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Ribbons and Bows - Make professional looking bows quick and easy.

Creating your own ribbons and bows combination is fun and rewarding. Using a bow maker is a real time saver. People will think they are professionally made when they see your beautiful creations.

Trademark Global E-Z Craft EZ Bow Maker with Ribbon Spool Holder
Trademark Global E-Z Craft EZ Bow Maker with Ribbon Spool Holder
Professional looking bows fast and easy Spool holder helps keep ribbon in place while you work
 
Fiskars Bow Crimper
Fiskars Bow Crimper
Add distinction to ordinary ribbons
 
Bowdadra Bow Maker
Bowdadra Bow Maker
Complete kit for helping you make great bows for your packages Step by step instructions
 
Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

Some Memories to Share

A look back on my memories

To give you some examples of how I put my Memory Jar(s) together for my large family, I have listed the ones I thought anyone could invision looking back in time. Even though you may not be able to relate to many of them, some of my family memories are quite funny, and we can all picture someone in our own family doing them.

I hope that these events in my life with trigger some interesting memories of your own. The main thing is to have fun remembering family and loved ones who have shared all the up's and down's, and are still there making new memories.

1.Dee working on the Cape May Ferry in NJ.

2.Christmas caroling at the Mater Dei Nursing Home.

3.Mom & Darleen marching in a protest in Washington, DC in 1968.

4.Ann's mastery at make-up on Evan when she gave him a fake black eye and lip, then watching Mom freak out because she thought it was real.

5.When our pony Black Beauty lost her first colt.

6.Watching Mom and Dad open their gifts and pretend that "It's just what they wanted."

7.JT's karate lessons.

8.Brian and the Michael Jackson's thriller phase.

9.Mom calling the police on her own family after we set off fireworks on July 4th (it was illegal where we lived).

10.Dee's flying lessons.

11.Olin's rocking chair he made in woodshop in high school.

12.Watching Dad ski with one ski.

13.Mr. Hall the town's rich man throwing $5.00 bills out of the car window to anyone who would go to the store for him. (Boy I miss those days!)

14.Piano recitals.

15.Lynn M.'s little white piano.

16.Henry wearing his "baseball spikes" while he mowed the lawn.

17.Dee getting caught throwing a snowball down the school hallway in Elementary school.

18.Doing ceramics with the family.

19.Really bad dates.

20.The non-existent store hours at LaMarae' Gift Shop.

21.Every time the school called Mom to come get the ponies from the school yard because they followed our trail.

22.Sharing foot long hot dogs on the trip to Niagara Falls.

23.Making snow angels. (When was the last time you made them?)

24.Waking up Christmas morning to the smells of Dad making breakfast.

25.The silver (metal) Christmas tree with blue balls.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

What makes a great memory?

One that keeps you smiling!

26.Mom making Dad drink cabbage and carrot juice.

27.William forgetting the marriage license and having to go home minutes before the wedding.

28.Singing God Bless America in front of the Chinese Restaurant in Glassboro as part of the scavenger hunt rules.

29.The great block party dances at the ballpark when the town crowned Miss Elmer.

30.Sitting in the V.I.P. box at Veteran's Stadium to see the Phillies game. (....miss that place).

31.William's great bedtime stories.

32.Scott wearing the football uniform he got for Christmas for an entire week when he was 7.

33.Seeing the words "Help Me" on the bottom of William's shoes when he knelt to pray during the wedding ceremony.

34.Dee riding her bike uptown to return bottles, then falling and the glass split open her knee.

35.Transformers, Star Wars and Masters of the Universe toys.

36.Hymn sings at Mrs. Harrison's.

37.Scott at age 7 striking out the first batter he ever faced.

38.Mom getting arrested for using her own credit cards when she didn't know Dad reported his wallet being lost. (She was a real "trooper.")

39.Darleen falling asleep in church and waking up yelling, then pretending to be crying and going downstairs to cover up the embarrassment.

40.The 76'ers games.

41.Hiding Alan (age 8) in Henry's car when he and Ann left for their honeymoon. (We got in trouble for that one.)

42.Brian's competition at the NJ Vocational Championship.

43.Olin cracking his ribs in football

44.Mom playing piano. (I miss that so much.)

45.The old pocketbooks we played with that Grandma filled with paper and pens.

46.The "sit-in" against violence in the high school that resulted in suspension.

47.Dad's great-tasting blue fish.

48.How Grandpa would pinch our cheeks! (Boy that hurt!)

49.How one year there were over 20 pies for Thanksgiving and hardly any veggies.

50.Climbing out on the roof at Aunt Jean's from the attic window. (Not a good idea!)

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

Step 8: Give the Gift

You did it!

>Well, there you have it...a great Memory Jar! Hope you found this to be an easy and fun gift to give for any holiday. If you found this information to be helpful or just interesting, please share it with a friend. Merry Christmas and God Bless you  with a great year!

P.S. Don't forget to take the Christmas Poll.

Photo by google images.

So what do you think?

Will you make a memory jar?

See results

Like to Read More Memories? - I was only going to share a few of these, but couldn't choose which ones to cut.

Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

51.Listening to the grown-ups talking downstairs through the heater vents when we were supposed to be upstairs sleeping.

52.Dee joining the Army, having a big going away party with gifts and then NOT leaving!

53.Little Alan coloring his eyes with magic marker pretending to be like his mommy.

54.When Dad told Mom to call the hardware store to order more sod glue! (That was so funny.)

55.Alan winning the first wrestling District Championship (ever) at the high school.

56.How Mom would yodel and play her guitar when we asked. (Mom was ½ German.)

57.Scott riding a pig.

58.Mom playing baseball.

59.Going uptown to the ballpark when the circus was in town.

60.Throwing out the first ball at Veteran's stadium. (That was a blast!)

61.Singing at Leesburg prison for the inmates.

62.Going to the high school football game on Thanksgiving Day where everyone in the bleachers was eating hot dogs, drinking hot chocolate and sharing blankets.

63.Turning on the radio to rock music when Mom and Dad left the house.

64.Ann's first car - the butterscotch tank (It was really awful, but it ran!)

65.When Darleen was chosen as one of the top five teachers in the state as Teacher of the Year.

66.Dee's '("Cinderella") wedding and the horse drawn carriage.

67.Candy at the 5 & 10 cent store with the soda fountain at the news agency.

68.The hot air balloon landing in the wheat field by the house.

69.How Rain & Sunshine (our dogs) saved Darleen from the fire.

70.Last but not least..."This is good soup William...That's not soup Arlene, it's turkey gravy!"

Hope this was able to bring back great memories of your own.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

How some memories begin... - It only takes one touch to the heart to make a memory. Here are some of mine.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Didn't we fired the last babysitter for sleeping on the job?Are you talking to me?No, it's my birthday.  I'm wearing the hat.School's my life man.Yes, we do have to share.And a one and a two...Si'.Que'?What a workout!  I'll just cut through here.You look marvelous!
Didn't we fired the last babysitter for sleeping on the job?
Didn't we fired the last babysitter for sleeping on the job?
Are you talking to me?
Are you talking to me?
No, it's my birthday.  I'm wearing the hat.
No, it's my birthday. I'm wearing the hat.
School's my life man.
School's my life man.
Yes, we do have to share.
Yes, we do have to share.
And a one and a two...
And a one and a two...
Si'.
Si'.
Que'?
Que'?
What a workout!  I'll just cut through here.
What a workout! I'll just cut through here.
You look marvelous!
You look marvelous!

I captured new memories using this camera.

Kodak EasyShare Touch M577 14 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Touchscreen - RedOrange
Kodak EasyShare Touch M577 14 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Touchscreen - RedOrange
This is the camera I purchased. It has been great. Now I can take pictures of the ceiling, my shoes, the top of my head, the sidewalk or the sky. At least when there are misfires it doesn't cost anything.
 

What's it like around your Christmas table? - Are there oodles and oodles of food choices?

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images
Any holiday can turn into a headache if the dinner is late, right. In our house my husband prepares the main dish early in the morning. His choice of meat is a turkey. What is yours?

Photo by google images.

What main dish do you serve on Christmas?

See results

Got meat? - Memories are made around the dinner table.

Burgers' Smokehouse Holiday Feast Combination
Burgers' Smokehouse Holiday Feast Combination
Who's coming to dinner? Always be prepared for that unexpeced guest with this combo of meat on hand.
 

Christmas Gatherings - Gifts for the entire family

Photo by favored1
Photo by favored1

With company dropping in throughout the holiday season, it is nice to have some extra delights on hand. For years our family has enjoyed Christmas food baskets that we have shared with family and friends.

One year my father was in the hosipital so no one had a chance to shop for guests that were coming. The gift basket literally saved the day and fed everyone! It was complete with coffee, the meal and dessert.

Photos are courtsey of favored1.

Christmas Poll

Photo by animateit.net.

Will you be traveling home for the Christmas Holiday?

See results

No matter where you go or what you do, memories are in the making. Why not share some of your favorite memories and take us all down memory lane?

This week's challenge on my: Daily Favor Blog

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

Thanks for the visit.

Come back soon, and bring friends!

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