The Joy Jar, A Reminder of Happy Times

Some events and happening we remember, no problem, others require a little prompting, and there are those that need full-on reminders. I’m quite happy not remembering every bad thing that has happened, every sad event, forgetting some of those are fine.

The good things, happy events, fun happenings, those I want to remember in detail. When I did my last post, most of those events were things I remember (my niece’s wedding, my birthday party) others needed a little jog, once jogged I remembered the event in detail.

How can we jog our memories so we remember the wonderful times we’ve had over the last year (or month, or week, it’s your life you choose.) This year I relied on pictures and my calendar, and some events were still overlooked, eating at the Melting Pot for the first time, putting on a blouse that was now too large, which was definitely a joyous moment. How can I avoid forgetting such stupendous events? I’m going to use the Joy Jar again.

I first wrote about the Joy Jar here after I learned about it from my friend and relationship expert Shel Harrington. While most of Shel’s posts are about keeping your relationship strong and intact, sometimes she has ideas that can be used if the relationship is no longer, like the Joy Jar.

The first time I did one, it was more of a Joy Bowl, but it worked.

The next time I tried an actual jar, might have worked if I’d used it. This year I’m using a small bag purchased in New England a couple of years ago with a coffee mug inserted to give it some stability and body. The pen fits in the cup, the note pad not so much, but since there are three I should be able to find something to write on when the occasion arises.

It doesn’t matter what the notes are written on or where they are kept. The important thing is to make a notation when you do something, or something marvelous happens. You can date them or not, I prefer to have dates on them, it’s my little nod to organization.

At the end of the time period, there are a couple of options. I’m sure there are more ideas, these are just the ones I thought would work well.

  1.  You could do like I did and simply write them down.
  2.  You could simply pour them out and read them on New Year’s Eve or New Years day as you drink your beverage of choice and listen to your favorite music.
  3. You could find pictures that accompany many of the events and make a photo album for your year. I’ll be doing one in print because I like holding books and looking at them, but it could easily be done digitally too.


The Joy Jar not only helps at the end of the year, it helps throughout the year too. Once I got in the habit of writing the joys or happy days I began to notice more of them. Also, my friends liked being part of the Joy Jar, once I told them about it, they’d ask if time with them would be going in the Jar.

Having the Joy Jar makes me more aware of the good things going on in my life.

While I do the jar for a year, it could also be helpful during super rough patches. If it seems like every time you talk to someone it’s more bad news, start a Joy Jar to help make you more aware of the happy moments. Once you’ve traveled that rough valley, take time to look through the jar and remind yourself that no matter how bad it was, there was some good happening too.

Have you ever done a Joy Jar?

What kind of container would you use for a Joy Jar?

About Nita

Quilter, writer, speaker, mom and grandmom. I enjoy making quilts for my grandkids, and other children. I especially love hearing and sharing quilt stories with others, that's how the book came about and this blog will continue to share quilt stories and how God works with quilts to comfort and teach us.
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4 Responses to The Joy Jar, A Reminder of Happy Times

  1. Doug Jarvie says:

    A journal is a great way to end each day with a note about a good thing that you are thankful for in the day. Even if it is a lesson you learned from what went wrong. Sometimes it requires a commitment to write it down before you put your head down on the pillow.
    How is a journal different from a diary or an agenda?
    Blog on!

  2. Martha DeMeo says:

    This is a great idea. My granddaughter is doing something similar where she writes notes about happy things her daughter did each day.

  3. vidyatiru says:

    i have seen this before, and thought about doing it a few times as well. but i mostly end up writing it down in a journal for myself.. love the idea..

  4. Too many of us only recall our hurts, not the highs. If you can maintain the Joy Jar, more power to you.

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