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. Kym says

    I have also adopted your vacation jar idea, I love to look back and remember my husband and my vacations.
    I have always kept our concert tickets stubs and now I have them on display in a large vase, somewhat like your postcards.
    My husband collects yardage books (from golf courses)and anytime I have been away without him I try to pick them up for him as well, so I have displayed those as well in a large bowl in our living room. May be places he has golfed personally or places he wishes one day he will.
    My husband has also had a continuing collection of interesting logoed golf balls, so I have them on display in our glass top coffee table. Brings a conversation peice to the room.

    Thanks so much for all you do in your blog, I am an avid reader and always look forward to see what you both have been up to. Keep up the great work.

  2. says

    We shoot video with our flip HD camera whenever we go on vacation – or even just do something fun and unusual like taking a Segway tour of or biking or canoeing in our own town. Afterwards my husband creates short 5-15 minute edited films and adds in music. He amazes me every time with his ability to pull the very best moments and to find the perfect music to set everything to. We’ve only had the camera for a year, and our new tradition is to watch all of the films from the previous year on New Year’s.

  3. Brittany says

    My boyfriend and I don’t have a set tradition, but I’ve been hanging onto ticket stubs and other misc. mementos for the past two years. I never cared much for the idea of buying some fancy scrap box that you can’t even see into, so I’ve kept all these trinkets in an old shoebox, which is not a suitable home for happy memories. Thank you for the keepsake jar idea!

  4. Heather says

    Hey Guys! We have a small bowl in the kitchen with seashells in it that we collect from different beaches we visit! We even went to Gatlinburg (Smokey Mtns) this past November and I found a shell that had turned into a fossil. I found it in a place called Smokey Mountain Knife Works. They have tons of great and fun stuff, not just knives! LOL! Anyway, I love the sushi tradition. We started doing the same thing for Valentines day! I think we will start doing the same with the chopsticks too! :)

  5. Hilary says

    Hubby and I love Disney World. Love might be an understatement, actually.
    I haven’t come up with a good way to display our disney love- we have hats, some mementos and ticket stubs, etc. While I love Disney, I don’t think all of our collections are good design. I have them in a little box that I pull out every once and a while.

    I love the map idea. I might steal it.

  6. says

    I’ve saved a little branch of our Christmas trees since we’ve been married (07, 08 & 09). I have them labeled in zip lock bags but when I save enough I creat a “specimen” shadow box. I also have the Champaign corks (labeled) of the night Brad proposed, our wedding day, first anniversary & the day we bought our house.

  7. Barbara says

    Well, speaking of tacky souvenirs, I started collecting float pens in 1997. I’ve accumulated 195 of so far. They are kept in little buckets from IKEA. My grandkids get a big kick out pulling them out and tilting them to see the floater go by.

  8. Destiny D says

    This is one of my all-time favorite posts so I’ll be checking back later to read all of the new comments. Afterall, what is the purpose of a great looking crib if you don’t have special someones and memories to fill it with? Way to go!

  9. says

    We have a large glass vase like the one that holds your postcards and I’m always struggling with what to put in it. I filled it with ornaments for Christmas, but it’s empty again! Have you used yours for anything other than postcards?

  10. Carissa says

    (We tried to save our champagne cork from New Year’s this year, but the puppy stole it yesterday and chewed it to pieces!)

    We collect fun Christmas ornaments from our travels. We have a beautiful hand-crafted porcelain one from Vermont (featuring a snowly mountainside), silly plastic ones from Seattle, the Smoky Mountains, and Boston (salmon, a bear, and Paul Revere, respectively), hand-painted pottery ones from St. Thomas, St. Martin, and Mexico.

    It’s really fun to look for them (especially the hand-crafted ones from local artists) while traveling and they’re a wonderful reminder of our time together when we decorate the Christmas tree.

  11. Stormy Smith says

    I noticed you have a pin on Des Moines, IA – that’s where I live :) Glad to know you’ve made a stop here!!

    My husband and I DIY an ornament every year – our first was an oversized ball ornament that we drew on and decorated with stickers (2004). The year we got married we saved tickets and printed tiny pictures and decopaged it all onto a cut out shaped like Italy. It’s fun to find an interesting way to document our year and usually comes together as we wander around Micheal’s, we never have a plan!

    After nine years together I wish I would have thought to save more, I love all of your ideas!!

  12. L E A N N A says

    We have a Memory Box full of ticket stubs, cards, corks with coins stuck in them, etc.
    Since we love to travel, we get a Christmas ornament from every country we go to. It is almost always something indicative of the country. It’s cool to revisit the memories.
    We couldn’t find one in Belgium and our London ornament broke. Anyone have a spare ornament from those two countries lying about? ;)

  13. says

    Mick and I bought special champagne flutes for our wedding and every year on our anniversary we take them out and do a toast.

    We aso met on New Year’s Eve, so ever since then, *every* time we toast (which is every day actually), no matter what time of year, we say “Happy New Year.”

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