We all know that grandparents love homemade gifts from their grandkids. But for many of us Christmas sneaks up too quickly and we are left with nothing but good intentions and a store-bought gift. Well with 10 days until Christmas I am here to tell you there is still time for this homemade Christmas gift! Several years back, a friend shared her brilliant handmade grandparent gift idea that her kids gave their grandparents… get this: year after year! She called it a memory jar. The beauty of this Christmas present is that your kids can make it as simple or extravagant as time and attention spans allow, and either way your relatives will treasure it.
Here are the basics of a memory jar or box:
- Brainstorm with your kids about memories they have with their gift recipient. Encourage them to think beyond the big events… perhaps it’s a memory of an everyday routine they have with this person, like filling a bird feeder… or maybe it’s a memory of how that person made them feel at a particular point in time. Tell them to think with their senses. For example, “One of my favorite memories of Grandma is how her house always smells of fresh bread when we go to visit her.” Or, “I love how Grandpa sings whenever he is working in his wood shop.”
- Next, get the paper out and have the kids write down their memories on slips of paper. What a great way to get your kids writing! If your kids are resistant to this exercise you could also have them hop on the computer to type up the memories. Even better, if your child is technology savvy, they can incorporate photos. In fact, for kids who have trouble writing, photos can provide just the prompt they need.
- How you package the memories is up to you. Your approach can be as simple as placing the memory notes in a Mason jar and tying a ribbon around the lid with a "Memories" tag that kids created. Or if your kids love Christmas crafts and have the time or inclination, you can have them decorate a box (can find wooden or cardboard boxes at the craft store) with photos, tissue paper, glueables or just about anything. I am partial to providing kids with a range of materials and letting them take charge of the creation.
Think of how much it will mean to grandparents when they read the recounting of memories big and small (probably over and over). Now how many gifts can you say a) get your kids writing b) give your kids something do while you shop, bake, wrap, nap ; ) and c) give your parents tears of joy? Have fun. If your kids make a memory jar or box, we'd love it if you shared photos of their creations on our Facebook page!