I have a favourite chair. It doesn’t belong to me. It sits in the corner of my parents’ house. Many years ago, it sat in the corner of my grandparents’ living room, right next to a shelf full of meticulously labeled photo albums dating back to the Second World War. Some of my earliest memories are of rainy days spent curled up in that chair, paging through history. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the musty pages. Even the distant ticking of the old grandfather clock in the hallway returns to my mind. Every time I see that chair, I find myself immersed in happy nostalgia.
Nowadays, my own children curl up in that chair, paging through old photo albums or watching video clips of when they were much younger. No matter their age, those moments never fail to bring joy to their hearts and a smile to their faces. It makes me both glad (that I have recorded some moments) and sad (that I haven’t recorded more). Time marches on, and I wish I had kept a better record of my kids’ first few years.
This year, I am determined to be more intentional about keeping family memories alive – and I’ve roped my kids in! We’ve begun this year following a tip that first appeared on my Facebook feed: keeping a memory jar. For our New Year’s celebration with friends, we gifted each family with a memory jar and a stack of notelets to record each day’s highlights. My kids have tackled this idea with gusto and, hopefully, by keeping it on our kitchen’s central island, they’ll be prompted to add their slips of scribbled memories throughout the year.
But what about all the photos and video clips? For some, the problem is how to sift through hours and hours of video footage. For others, the problem is remembering to capture some of the everyday moments. For most, having some kind of record-keeping system is the biggest hurdle of all.
I used to blog regularly enough to capture these memories, but the restraints on my time don’t quite allow me the luxury of long, introspective record-keeping posts anymore. And, while I love the Timehop app or Facebook’s On This Day feature, I sincerely doubt that all my social media friends really want their newsfeeds littered with our family memories. So, what is the solution to keeping the fun memories without hours of organizing video clips and photos?
The easiest solution for me at this point is to make use of the tools I already use. Lately, I’ve been posting some of our fun family memories and video clips onto Facebook and changing the settings to “only me” or “only family.” That way I don’t drive my social media community crazy, but we still get to keep our family memories in one place and get to revisit them each year with a this-time-last-year app.
But, perhaps Facebook is not the tool for you. Never fear! There are plenty of other options. For example:
- Start a blog – weebly, tumblr, blogspot, and wordpress.com all offer easy-to-start blog platforms for free. You can privatise your blog for your eyes only or add family members for a collaborative effort. Most of these offer easy-to-upload apps for your phone. Posting to your blog can be as easy as sending off an instant message.
- Instagram it – More and more mamas are using Instagram. Most smartphones include Instagram as an upload feature in the photos app. Like blog apps, it’s as simple as sending an instant message. And you can keep your account private, sharing photos only with those you choose.
- Email it – Create a special family memories account. Or create email accounts for each of your kids, giving them access when they turn 18. In the meantime, shoot off a quick video, photo, or record of a memory to their accounts. To be sure the memories are kept forever, cc them to Dropbox or another online storage facility.
- Stick to a regular date – An older couple in our church once told us how they would videotape a small interview with their children every year on each child’s birthday. Technology changed during this time from old beta video tapes to flash drives and smart phones, but the footage has lasted and serves to bring great joy to this family of grown up kids with families of their own.
More time-consuming options are available too:
- If you have the time, why not create special family albums using coffee table photobooks? If you blog, you could even select some of your favorite posts and have a hard copy version printed in an elegant coffee table book.
- Digital or manual scrapbooking kits make for beautiful memory keepsakes.
- Rope your kids in! Get them to do monthly updates of videos using iMovie or similar apps or programs to compile monthly video clips for each year.
- For us homeschooling mamas, a year-end compilation of awards, recorded activities, field trips, fun events, subjects covered, and a collage of photographs summarizing the year can make a wonderful annual gift – and act as a handy record for transcript proof!
Whatever the method you use, keeping a record of your family’s memories is worth it for the great pleasure that it brings. The moments of bonding and reminiscing are special and provide us with years’ worth of joy, love, and all things good! May this year be your year for keeping a record or sharing more ideas here at Hip Homeschool Moms!
Happy memory making,
Love from all of us at Hip Homeschool Moms!
P.S. Why not kick-start the memory-making with a fun Memory Jar? And, since it’s February, how about giving it a Valentine spin as outlined in this Memory Jar post?