Every December our family makes a list of 100 family memories from the year.
We use a notebook or legal pad and usually share scribing duties over the last few weeks of December.
The first year we made a 100 memories list, we used the “notes” app on my phone and printed the list out at the end. We switched to a legal pad the following year, because we find it easier to have the list easily accessible for people to add to as they think of a memory.
This year, with three of my kids away at college until this week, I tried creating a family google doc. I shared it with everyone about a week ago, asking everyone to add some memories. No one added to it, so I figured out that didn’t work. The magic of the 100 memories activity, I discovered, is in the group brainstorming.
It doesn’t matter where you create the list (although I wouldn’t recommend a google doc!). You can use your phone, a legal pad, or even sticky notes – one for each memory tacked to a bulletin board would be fun! You can even use a poster board or a flip chart pad.
As long as family members can write down the memory when they think of it, it will work. We get the majority of our list done over family dinners, when we can all brainstorm together and remind each other what happened this year.
We started our first list back in 2010 and have one for every year since. I wish we had started sooner, as my memory is getting so muddy that I can’t remember when anything happened! The lists include small events and large ones, happy memories, funny memories, and sad ones. Some of the memories include everybody, and some are individual events or accomplishments. Combined together, the list creates a wonderful family mini history for the year.
A side benefit to this activity, I’ve realized, is the gratitude it produces. Taken together, we all see that despite setbacks and sad events, many good things happened this year.
I have lofty goals for what will eventually happen with these lists. A beautiful photo book of each year, with the list and pictures to go with some of the memories, is one of my dreams. A slide show commemorating the year would also be amazing. So far, neither of these ideas has come to fruition, but I do wistfully hope that I’ll live to be an old granny with some extra time on my hands. And I’ll take out the crispy aged yellow legal sheet from the early 2000s, remember fun family times, and create memory books from the lists.
It’s always easy to come up with the first 30 or so memories — somebody graduated, somebody scored a goal, somebody turned 16 and got their driver’s license.
But the fun really starts when you have to start digging for numbers 75-100. That’s when I pull out my calendar and photos to cheat a bit. Some of the best items on the list are some very non-momentous (often funny) memories. We also sometimes add in our “favorites” of the year – as in, our current favorite TV shoes, music, movies, books.
Whatever ends up on the list, the process of creating it brings our family closer and is a great reconnection point, especially now that some family members aren’t home much.
Let me know if you try this activity with your family by commenting here or sending me a message!
I hope you have fun remembering your family’s year!