Romantic Traditions: Displaying Keepsakes Like Chopsticks!

We love sharing little household traditions with you guys. There are just so many cheap and easy ways to commemorate special dates and display unique items in your home that can make it feel more personal and meaningful.  For example, we whipped up these vacation jars a while back…

… and also explained that we love sending a postcard to ourselves to help remember all the details of every vacation that we spend together (they look great tossed in a large glass vase):

We also shared how we framed old keys to commemorate all the places we lived before moving into this “forever home” of ours (as seen to the left of the postcards in a vase above).

And how I snagged a vintage map on ebay, mounted it on cork, and framed it for a simple pinboard that helps us chart all the places we’ve traveled together (we’ve since added a bunch of pins thanks to our big Texas road trip):

And how we love to pose for some cheap-o photostrips on big days like anniversaries and other momentous occasions (like the day we found out I had a bun in the oven):

But enough looking back, let’s get back to 2010 shall we? Speaking of the brandspankingnew year, John and I actually have a strange little New Year’s Eve tradition: a nice romantic sushi dinner. It actually became a tradition after we were together a few years and realized that we had subconsciously gone out to a sushi dinner on Dec 31st ever since we began dating. So after accidentally enjoying a nice little Japanese feast together in 2005 and 2006, of course when the end of ’07, ’08, and ’09 rolled around we kept the tradition alive. And somewhere along the line John suggested that we save a pair of chopsticks from each restaurant (unused ones of course) and label them with the date, the occasion, and the place where we dined. It’s such a cheap (well, free actually) way to keep tabs on our year-ending whereabouts- and it’s fun when they’re displayed en masse atop a lacquered box, stashed in a cup on my desk, or even stuck in this Ikea vase:

We love that we can glance at them and remember evenings spent celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another- and it’s great to see that we actually kept the tradition alive no matter where we were traveling at the time (from Georgia to Delaware and of course on the home front in Richmond, VA).

Oh and not to worry guys, this year it was only cooked fish and veggie sushi for me since the bean is “on board.” But it was still just as delicious and memorable. So that’s our odd little sushi inspired tradition. What about you? Do you have any “momentos” that you collect or even label to help you remember special events or milestones? Matchbooks? Bottle caps? Sea shells? Wine corks? Snow globes? Menus? Shot glasses? Tattoos? Do tell.


  1. Tiffany T. says

    Every Christmas we go to the movies and have a glass of wine. I always keep the bottle and the stub. We love going to concerts so I like to keep those tickets too.

  2. Sophie says

    These are all such good ideas. I have memories of my dad organizing all the photos and putting them all in albums. I love going back to my parent’s house still, and seeing all the albums year by year, perfectly organized. My goal, is to go through my immense digital photo collection, and start creating albums for every year. I just need to find the time!

    I have a random question – I’m loving your bathroom reno posts, and I know you’re revealing slowly in chapters on the blog.. but as of now, do you guys have a fully functioning bathroom?

    • says

      Hey Sophie,

      Yup, we’re a bit behind when it comes to sharing our bathroom progress on the ol’ blog (thanks to holiday madness and the time it actually takes to write up each post after we complete each stage). But as of now we have a full functional toilet and tub so two-thirds of the bathroom is complete (we just have to install the vanity this weekend to complete the trifecta). Then the tub is getting reglazed on Monday so as of Tuesday (once it fully cures) we’ll have an 100% completed bathroom to enjoy. Wahoo!


  3. Colette says

    Ok, this may sound strange, but ours is ROCKS. My mother-in-law started this little tradition. My husband and I got married outside and when my mother-in-law got home she had a big rock stuck in the heel of her shoe. She took it out and wrote the date and that it was from our wedding. When she passed away 2 yrs ago we got the rock. Our daughter has become interested in rocks and likes to collect different ones, so when we are someplace I want her to remember I have her snag a rock and we write the date and occasion. Strange but fun!

  4. Lauren M. says

    I stole your glass jars idea for our new house (first one!) and I get so many compliments. It was probably the easiest project ever. Thanks for the idea (one of the many I took from you!)

  5. Tammi M. says

    We’re getting married in May and are starting ‘our new tradition’ on our honeymoon. For each trip, we’re going to get an absolute tacky-to-the-bone souvenir. We’re going to buy a very nice chest to store all of our ‘treasures’. We often laugh about how when we have kids we’re going to tell them how they HAVE to be good or they won’t get our ‘treasures’ when they’re older. We’re goofy people in general, but the constant thoughts about us shopping and choosing the perfect tacky souvenir, carrying it through airports, putting it in the chest, giggling the entire time….keeps me entertained randomly through the wedding-planning process.

  6. Nicole P. says

    Our family collects a few cool things: I collect wine corks, my son collects ‘cool’ rocks, my husband and I both love to get a shot glasses from each vacation – we have recently started collecting snow globes – snowmen or santa only : )
    I love looking at each collection!

  7. amy says

    My husband and I have “soundtracks.” Whenever we travel a long distance to see friends or a mini vacation, we make a CD of songs. It started in college when we were each at a different university over an hour away from each other, and we’d make a soundtrack at our apartment before leaving to see the other. They have their own CD book we keep them in. It’s fun to get them out and listen to the ones from 2003…or even 2007!

  8. Teri says

    My husband is retired navy (submarines). Ever since we began dating I have hunted down a sub ornament for Christmas…. some are classic navy, one has Santa in it, one is from the former Soviet Union, one draw by a child, etc. Amazing how many boats, planes, even motorcycle ornaments you can find, but not many subs, so it makes it even more special to find an interesting one. This year I made one! Next year maybe I’ll break down and get the classic Beatles Yellow Submarine one on ebay.

  9. says

    These are such wonderful ideas. I’ll be reading through all the comments to get more :)

    So far, the only things that my husband and I collect are Christmas ornaments from our yearly visits to a Disney park. After this post, though, I’d love to collect more thoughtful items, like your chopsticks. I think it’s a great way to decorate meaningfully.

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  10. D says

    So cute!

    I have friends who save the corks of every bottle of wine they drink. They write the date/occasion on the cork and save them all in a glass hurricane vase.

  11. Christina says

    We collect matchbooks and keep them in a clear jar on one of our shelves in the living room. It’s fun to go back and see where we’ve been – hotels from various vacations, restaurants where we’ve had romantic dinners, even fun bars that we’ve hung out at with friends. Plus, we’ll never have an excuse not to light candles around the house!

  12. Jen says

    I buy a Christmas ornament from trips we go on and write the date somewhere on them. We have a miniature cruise ship, lighthouse from Outer beacher, Anne of Green Gables House, Santa in a hammock on the beach in St. Thomas and so on. I also buy each of my sons a special ornament significant of the year and something about the year or something they loved that year(John Deere tractor, new big brother etc.)
    I love Christmas and love pulling out our special ornaments each year.

  13. says

    My Dad and I save the cut portion of the bottom of the christmas tree and write the date on it each year. After all the years of doing this we have a vase filled with ‘slices’ of pine trees. I always love the look on the Home Depot guy’s face when I ask him for the cut piece.

    My fiance has also started the tradition of making a “coke can angel” each year. It started because we didn’t have a star or angel to put on top of the tree the first year we were together so he made the angel out of a coke can. Now THAT is DIY. Haha

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