During a family reunion this summer, my family wanted to let my Grandma Anna Marie (our amazing matriarch) know just how much we love her and to thank her for bringing the whole family together. I came up with the idea to surprise her with an “I Love You” Jar.
I bought a beautiful glass jar (this one happened to be made of mercury glass) and some die-cut paper in the shape of leaves. The leaves represent our family tree.
During the family reunion when my Grandma was out of earshot, I asked everyone – even the little kids – to write Grandma Anna Marie handwritten notes on the leaves that said something along the lines of:
- I love you because…
- I remember when…
- Because of you…
- Thank you for…
That was just to get them started because really they could write anything that conveyed “I Love You.”
They could write about something that happened in the past or that happened that week at the reunion. They could write one note or as many as they wanted! (Make sure and remind everyone to sign their name on the note!)
It was a beautiful sight to see that jar fill up higher and higher with the paper leaves as people added their love messages.
On the last night of the reunion, we presented my Grandma Anna Marie with the “I Love You” Jar. She was very touched that the gift came from everyone at the reunion and said she couldn’t wait to read the notes!
She later mailed me a note saying: “I’m fortunate to have so many delightful people in my family. I’ll re-read and cherish the leaves always.”
The “I Love You” Jar gift idea can be used for all sorts of occasions. For example, besides family reunions, it can be given to a loved one on Valentine’s Day or to a teacher from an entire class of students.
You can easily tailor the type of jar and the shape of paper you use to the person and the occasion.
You can also change the name of the gift to an Appreciation Jar, Thank You Jar or Memory Jar.
Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. – Unknown