Make Your Own ‘Year of Us’ Jar

The other day, I convinced my husband to take the 5 Love Languages quiz with me. I realized we’ve been married for 7 years and dated for 3 years before that, but we never talked about what makes us feel the most loved.

Even before taking the quiz, I knew my results would show Words of Affirmation as my primary language. However, I was shocked to learn that my husband’s top result was Words of Affirmation, too! We are different in so many ways — him being a scientist, me being a designer — but there’s something sweet about knowing we both crave the same kind of love. My daughter is too young to take the quiz, but if I had to guess, her love language is buying Barbies at Target.

Armed with this new information, I wanted to make a new family tradition around our love of words, so our Year of Us jar was born. It’s the simplest idea: an empty jar with a pad of paper next to it. But, it’s become so much more. Our jar helps us capture all the small things, funny things, great things, tiny victories, and everyday moments that make us, us! We keep our jar in a high-traffic area so we are reminded to leave a note or capture a moment often. It only takes a minute to help each other feel more loved, and seeing the jar fill up makes me so excited for our end-of-year reading time!

I actually can’t take credit for the idea, that belongs to my good friend, Sarah, who gifted me the most meaningful birthday gift a few years ago. It was a jar filled with notes of things she loves about me and every time I see it, it brings a smile to my face. I don’t even need to re-read them — just knowing she took the time to fill the jar is enough to make me feel special.

It’s easy to create a jar for every year so each one becomes a family time capsule, and they make the most thoughtful gifts. You can even go wild and make each family member their own jar to encourage as many words of affirmation as possible. Hurry up and eat those pickles so you can make jars for everyone!

The great thing about this project is that you probably have all the stuff you need on hand, especially if want to keep it simple. I’ll give you a few ideas for adding some craftiness below, but the real value is what you add to the jar throughout the year. In fact, it’s the messy handwriting, kid scribbles, and lack of perfectly crafted anything that makes this feel perfectly like my family.

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed

  • Glass jar (I use this brand which is also perfect for storing leftovers)
  • Ribbon or string
  • Thick card stock or blank paper tags
  • Notepad (I love this one that comes with cute colored pencils)
  • Collage materials, assorted pens, markers, or crayons
  • Modge Podge, glue or tape
  • Foam brush if using Modge Podge
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch would be helpful, but not necessary
  • For bonus points: create amazing colored glass jars with this fun trick!

Instructions

  • Gather materials
  • Make sure your jar is clean and dry
  • Collage, stencil, hand-letter words onto a piece of card stock or paper tag
  • Attach finished tags to jars with ribbon or string
  • For More Bonus Points: Decorate your jar with your own stickers!

Writing Prompts

Keep them short and sincere, and don’t forget to add the date!

  • Things I love about you…
  • You made me proud when you _____
  • You made me laugh when you ______
  • Describe the details of a great day, amazing meal, event, etc.
  • Sweet, funny, or weird compliments
  • Thanks for _____
  • I love the way you ______
  • Notable quotes

And that’s it! It’s so easy, and you can be as creative or simple as you like. While you’re at it, why not make a few extra jars for gifts? Just bundle a cute pen or pencil with a little notebook and personalize the tag, and you’re good to gift!

Even if your particular love language isn’t Words of Affirmation, the benefits of taking time to acknowledge and encourage our chosen families are huge and transformative. So much of our lives are digital, it’s amazing to have a tangible reminder of how much we are loved.

Approximately 1 day of her life, Rachel hiked on a glacier in Iceland. The other 99.9% of her days her hands are full doing creative strategy at Hallmark Cards, being a mom to Luna who is a five-year-old Queen of Sass, wife to Matt who is a funny Google-a-holic, and dog mom to Rosie, whose sweetness is matched only by her smelliness. Her favorite ways to avoid cleaning the house are leisurely strolls through Target (pre-pandemic) listening to mostly crime podcasts, spending a small fortune on curly hair products, crafting Barbie schools out of Amazon boxes, making complicated recipes with too many ingredients, playing 1 million games of Zingo, and enjoying her Westside downtown neighborhood with her family.

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