Journaling Your Family: A Different Approach

When it comes to building memories with the family, it’s getting harder and harder. Though we all have smartphones, we tend either to have our head down over them or use the cameras for selfies. This year, make it a point to journal your family’s love in a different way. Journaling special moments doesn’t have to be relegated just to a scrapbook. There are a ton of fun ways to preserve memories and relive special events. But when the baby needs changing; you’re trying to figure out what to fix for dinner, and trying to help your second grader practice their spelling words, “memorable” may not be the first word that leaps to mind. However, these are the moments that make up real life. Those conversations, laughter, and days will go by in a blink of an eye.

Consider these ideas to journal your family memories:

  • Utilize social media with a specialty photo album. A writer for Forsyth Magazines recently used her birthday for such a purpose, with a photo album she titled, “A Year in My Life: Take 43.” She’s using this album to catalog a year’s worth of memories between birthdays.
  • Use a shadowbox to collect a year’s worth of memories—movie tickets, concert tickets, programs from special events. Give it a shake every now and then to see what memory comes to the top.
  • As your kids outgrow their T-shirts, save the favorites, or the ones from camp or special sports teams. Have them made into a memory quilt for high school graduation.
  • For the family who loves to travel, hang a map of the United States (or world, depending on how much you travel!) on a large corkboard. When you get home, print a photo from the trip. Cut it out in the shape of the state (or country) you visited and pin it on the appropriate area of the map.
  • The chalkboard favorites and photo opps are a great way of recording developmental progress for babies and toddlers.
  • Have a pretty jar on the table with markers and colorful paper nearby. Once a week, have everyone in the family write down their favorite thing that happened. Read them on New Year’s Eve.
  • When you come back from the beach with seashells, pick a favorite and hot-glue a magnet on the back of it. Everyone in the family will see it on a regular basis when you put it on the refrigerator, giving everyone the chance to remember the fun memories you made together.
  • Keep a sand jar. Get a tall, cylindrical vase and some clear labels. When you travel, make sure you take a small jar to collect a bit of sand or soil. When you get back, pour it in the vase, and label that layer with the place you visited.
  • School art projects can become overwhelming after a while. Frame some for the grandparents as gifts, or even cut them apart for bookmarks.
  • If you read books with your kids, write in the covers some of the favorite points about the book. Years later, if you read those same books to your grandchildren, you’ll love being able to tell them about their parent’s favorite character.
  • When your child begs you to make a stamped penny at a museum, save them. It only takes 5–6 linked together to make a fun memory bracelet.
  • Every year, on the first day of school, don’t just take a standard picture. Have your child hold the picture of the previous year. By the time senior year rolls around, you’ll have built a pretty cool Droste effect.

Creating memories is a beautiful part of family time, but recording them doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Have fun and enjoy every moment with your family!


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