Gratitude in a Jar 2

Create A Family Memento

Last January I saw a great idea on Pinterest that grabbed my attention—a Gratitude Jar. Starting on January first, my family was supposed to write the good things that happen in our lives on small pieces of paper and put them into a decorative container. Then on the last day of the year, it would be time to open the Gratitude Jar and reflect back on what made us happiest.

I immediately pinned it and posted it to Facebook, publicly declaring to friends and family that I was going to create a Gratitude Jar and start a new family tradition for 2015. Then I did the same thing I do with about 99% of the things I pin–nothing. I looked around the house a few times for a container I could dress up that was worthy of holding our most special memories, but nothing ever seemed good enough. Eventually the idea fell by the wayside.

Five months later I was at a women’s retreat and one of the craft activities was to create a decorative jar. The Gratitude Jar idea that had lain dormant in my mind came rushing back. Using a hot glue gun and a few decorative items, I finally had my Gratitude Jar.

The year was almost halfway over, but it was not too late to start appreciating all the great moments of 2015. I placed the new jar in the middle of our kitchen island so our family would see it often. It took more than a few reminders and gentle nudges to get my children to contribute to the jar, but even just seeing it served a purpose. Each time I passed by our Gratitude Jar it provided a visual reminder to focus on the good things in life and to pause for a moment to be grateful for even the smallest pleasures.

Then on New Year’s Eve we sat around as a family and took turns reading those beautiful scraps of paper. It gave us a chance to relive some great moments from the year, many that I had already forgotten. It was also a wonderful surprise to learn about what had made other family members happy throughout the year. I plan to save all our precious pieces of paper in a scrapbook and add new pages each year. We’re building a special family memento that we’ll treasure.

This year we will all be faced with happy moments and sad moments. We can’t control many of the things that will happen to us in 2016, but we can control our attitude. We can choose to let the negative events in our lives weigh us down or we can focus on the positive. A Gratitude Jar is just one small way to help us do the latter. If you’re having a particularly bad day, sneak an early peek into your jar to help lift your spirits.

on’t delay the start of your very own Gratitude Jar. Don’t wait like I did to create the perfect vessel—an old coffee tin or empty shoebox will work just fine. Start off 2016 choosing to focus on the good all around you and this could be your happiest year yet.