This Christmas, give a jar full of memories

The Christmas rush is on and it’s not even December yet. Everywhere I go I see stores telling me what to buy. Some places are even open on Thanksgiving. What’s up with that?

I think the holidays mean something bigger than a January credit card bill. I think they are about taking love and making it grow into something that can inspire the whole world.

That’s why this year for my sister’s Christmas present, I’m borrowing an idea Andrea Brown first wrote about for The Daily Herald in a story called “One sister’s gift was memories to last the years,” published on Dec. 25, 2012.

It shared the story of Sue Jones, who while battling ALS, created a jar full of 52 childhood memories for her little sister Sylvia Hustad.

Some of the memories were poignant and some were funny, but they were all worth writing down.

I’ve been inspired by this idea ever since. I really want to make a jar for my own sister, but finding time to write down 52 things seems daunting. Then I realized that today is Nov. 3 and there are exactly 52 days until Christmas. All I need to do is write down one memory a day.

So today I’m gathering 60 pieces of paper. I figure I’ll misspell something at least eight times. I’m also hunting down my nicest ballpoint pen and a clean mason jar from the garage.

Then I’ll carve out a space in the cabinet where I keep the coffee filters. For the next 52 mornings while I’m waiting for coffee to brew, I’ll be writing down a memory.

The very intention of doing this means that memories are popping up in my head at odd times, like when I’m driving my kids to school, or when I’m vacuuming the living room.

Here are my first three:

1) Do you remember the time when you were 2 and I tricked you into eating dog food by telling you not to eat it?

2) Do you remember how “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was your favorite song when you were 9? I didn’t have the heart to tell you it was about drugs.

3) Do you remember when I was at Girl Scout camp and you sent me a picture you drew of your foot? You said I was at “camp for smelly feet.”

Some of the things I’m remembering, I had forgotten. It’s so easy to get caught up in my life as an adult, that I forget all of the nuances from childhood. Remembering for my sister is like a gift for me too. It’s a double blessing.

This year, I want to give something more meaningful than another sweater or gift card to Starbucks. I want to take a good idea, rooted in love, and make it grow.

Will you join me?

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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