I recently decided to make a keepsake box for my daughter. Somewhere to keep all of those little treasures gathered during her life so far that have poignant meaning. It’s so easy in the fast moving pace of modern life to forget things. Even precious little things that meant so much to you as they were happening can fade into the background behind the noise of daily life.
A keepsake box is a way to be able to stop for a moment and reflect on all the wonderful things that have passed. My toddler is too young to appreciate it at the moment, but it’s something that I hope she and I can enjoy looking through together as she gets older. A way to share stories that she’s never heard before, laugh and probably cry. Eventually it will be hers to keep, perhaps when she turns 18, has her own baby, or god forbid if anything happens to me.
It was such a fun project gathering things up and making this for Ayla, and for myself. There were plenty of misty eyed trips down memory lane and roping in of my other half to look through it all. So I felt compelled to share what I put in my keepsake box, and hope it gives you, my fellow sentimental Mum’s, some ideas and inspiration.
First things first, you will of course need a box. There are a ton options of you can choose from based on your personal tastes, and price bracket. Traditional keepsake boxes are wooden and carved, but are expensive. You can buy personalised and embellished boxes. The world is your oyster on the box front. Just bear in mind the dimensions. A too small box will limit what you can put in it. A too large one will make it feel empty. I went for this simple storage box, nothing fancy but in a pretty pink colour. I figure it will spend most of the time hidden away in the attic. And anyway, it’s what’s inside that really counts.
I got this one from French Amazon, but you can get a similar one here for £16.49.
So let’s get straight into it; here are my top keepsake box ideas, and what I put into my daughters.
Keepsakes from pregnancy.
- Ultrasound pictures.
Gather and print out some ultrasound pictures from when you were pregnant. This process was bittersweet for me. I had many ultrasounds during my pregnancy as I was carrying twins and so plenty to choose from. Lots of sweet memories of my daughter, captured sucking her thumb, pulling faces and a delightful one of her flipping us off. And also lots of her twin brother who we lost two weeks before their birth. The ultrasound pictures of them both are the only ones I have of them together, so it is always emotionally fraught looking through them. But I know that my little girl will want to see them when she is ready to learn about her brother, and their life in my tummy.
- Pregnancy pictures.
Print off some pictures of you at various stages of your pregnancy. Your little one will be fascinated to know that it was them in your belly and you will love looking back at your pregnant self.
- Their hospital wristband.
Now I think about it, my daughters was around her ankle, but you know what I mean. I didn’t keep my own wristband as it didn’t hold the best memories for me. But if you did you can tie them around each other and put them in together.
- Your baby’s coming home outfit.
That little outfit you lovingly picked out to be the first they wore when they came home. Yes, you will sniff it.
- A meaningful soft toy.
This could be, for example, the first toy they were gifted in the hospital, or perhaps one with sentimental value that they were handed down. For Ayla it is a little crocheted octopus that she was given during her short stay in the NICU. These lovely octopuses are made and donated to premature babies by the awesome charity octopus for a preemie. The idea is that the tentacles mimic the reassuring feel of the babies umbilical chords. It also helps prevent them from tugging on their tubes and wires. Another tale to tell my little girl about when we go through the box together.
- Cards you received when they were born.
A keepsake box is the perfect place to stash all of those cards you couldn’t bear to part with. I have added Ayla’s first birthday cards as well, and you could add cards from their first Christmas and such if you kept them.
A cute tip is to punch a hole in each bundle and tie them with string or ribbon to keep them all together. I also recommend storing them in plastic wallets to protect them from damage during storage.
- A lock of hair from their first hair cut.
You just can’t throw away that first lock of baby soft hair. Keep it in a ring box or taped to a piece of card so it doesn’t get lost.
- Their first dummies/pacifiers, bottles, bowl and spoon.
- Their first pair of shoes.
I mean really.
Extra bits and pieces.
- Photo albums and photo books.
When Ayla turned one I had photo books made for myself and both sets of grandparents. It’s a selection of the best photos of her from the minute she was born up to her first birthday. I still swoon every time I flick through it and am reminded how flippin’ gorgeous my baby was! I just know that she is going to love looking through it as well.
You can get these personalised photo books from a number of places. Mine were from Journi, price is dependent on size, style and number of pages. They were really simple and fun to customize and and are great quality.
- A ‘letters to my baby’ book.
I received this as a gift from a friend when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is the just the cutest. The book is called ‘letters to my baby’. As the name suggests it contains 12 letters, each one titled with things such as “what I want you to know about me” and “my wishes for you are..”. You fill in the letters then seal and date them for your child to read when they are older. It’s a really sweet touch to their keepsake box. A way for them to really get to know who their mum was all those years ago, and something they will treasure forever.
Get it here for £11.05
- A DVD of a movie you enjoy watching together.
This one is somewhat of a wild card I suppose. For me I had to without question include a DVD copy of ‘The Snowman’. This is a hugely sentimental movie for me. It conjures up nostalgic memories of happy childhood Christmases, and in particular of my beloved Aunt who passed away a couple of years ago. To my delight my daughter now absolutely loves it too, and we have shared many cosy moments together watching it. I want her to always remember ‘The Snowman’ and how her mum loved it so much. Plus in years to come she will be able to marvel at the ancient relic that is a DVD!
Things to add in the future.
Making a keepsake box is an ongoing project. There will be more and more to add to it as time goes on, a lot of memories you’ll want to save. Don’t go overboard though, you don’t want to lose the wood for the trees. These are the kind of things I’ll be adding to Ayla’s in the future.
- Tickets to special events.
Anything that is a first, or extra special. The first concert we go to together, the first one she goes to alone, her first time at Disneyland etc.
- Holiday momentos.
Photos, souvenirs, and plane tickets. For example when Ayla flew for the first time at five months old a lovely air hostess took a huge shine to her. She gave us a log book to write all of her future flights in. I will add that to the box once the COVID pandemic has calmed and we have had the chance to fill it up a bit more.
- Their baby teeth.
I’ve just realised how creepy that sounds, but where else is the tooth fairy to keep her wares? Just don’t show your youngster until they know the tooth fairy isn’t real!
- A folder of their first artwork.
You know that ever growing pile of your kids “artwork” that’s questionable in quality but that you can’t bring yourself to throw away? Put them into a folder of plastic pockets. I got mine here for £7.49. Not only will it keep them tidy and save some room on your fridge door, but you can look through them with your older child with a giggle .
- First school book, report and photo.
Starting school is such a huge step, both for you and your kid. We all know how fast our children grow up, and these things will capture a significant moment in time. They will remind you of their true characters at the age when they first ventured out in to the big wide world.
- More photo albums/books.
I’ll definitely make more photo books of momentous occasions, trips and family occasions in the future. It’s great having our photos available for us to look at any time on our phones. But nothing can compare to physically flicking through the pages of a photo album that’s been thoughtfully and lovingly put together.
Making this keepsake box for my daughter has been on my mental to-do list for a while now, pretty much since she was born actually. So taking the time to finally pull it all together has been really satisfying. I’m looking forward to adding more to it and I can’t wait to share it with her in the future. I hope you enjoy making yours as much as I did.
Please comment below to share your keepsake box ideas.