Remembering Loved Ones

Memory Tables for Remembering Loved Ones at Your Next Family Gathering

remembering tablefamily

A family reunion is a perfect time to remember a special loved one who has passed on.  At more and more reunions, weddings and family gatherings I am seeing beautiful displays dedicated to a special family member that isn’t in attendance.  I especially loved the sentiment in this display my niece put together at our last family reunion to remember my father-in-law.



Memory tables, or Remembering tables are not large displays such as you would find at a funeral or memorial, they are small and simple table displays to give you pause and a minute to remember your loved one when you see it.

At a reunion you can always decorate the table in the theme of the reunion- the theme for the reunion in the above picture was western so the table was decorated in bandanas and sunflowers.

The most important part of a memorial table is a few photos of the person who has passed but accent those photos with flowers or candles.  Photos can highlight special moments in their life such as childhood, marriage and photos with children and grandchildren.  You may want to set a photo book on  the table for those who want to spend more time looking at memories.

deloy chair

If you’ve lost someone who is dear to you, it is only natural to be saddened that they are no longer with you when your family gets together for special occasions and there are many ways to remember them.

You may have seen a  white rose on a chair at a wedding ceremony, signifying that a spot has been saved for a loved one that has passed on well, my father-in-law had a special chair he sat in for every family reunion we had.  He passed away in 2012 but we continue to set his chair up (along with his favorite hat) at our reunions.  It almost feels like he’s watching over us as we go about our reunion fun and it helps us remember the wonderful contributions he made to our family.

A balloon release, in honor of a loved one, is a wonderful way to send our love to the heavens but recently I’ve seen “butterfly” releases as a way of remembering someone. There’s an Indian legend that goes something like this-

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since butterflies make no sound, they can’t tell the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. By making a wish and releasing the butterfly the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

You can find more information about butterfly release at Butterfly Release Company.

The simplest way to remember a loved one is to have a moment of silence, perhaps as the family gathers together for a meal.

Some of my favorite quotes about remembering those we love are below.

Image result for quotes about loved ones that passed away

Image result for those who love us don't go away

Make a Family Time Capsule


A time capsule is a collection of objects put together to preserve the memory of a place, experience, or group of people at one point in time. People often make time capsules for special public occasions, and for others to open many years in the future. You can make a family time capsule at your next family reunion or special event.

The first choice for your family time capsule is the container. It should keep out air and liquid, and be strong enough to protect the contents if it’s dropped. A large gourmet popcorn tin works quite well but if you plan on storing your container for a long period of time or want it to be more official looking you may wish to purchase a container from a company that specializes in time capsules- These time capsules can cost as much as $200.00 but they are very impressive looking and can be engraved with the date assembled and the date to be opened.


We put our families’ time capsule in a new, empty paint can. Paint cans have great lids that will help keep moisture out. If you are concerned about the seal on your can, try turning the container upside down and very carefully dripping wax from a candle around the edge of the lid where it meets the container, to seal it completely.

Determine how long you want to put your time capsule away. Is it something you want to look at in 5 years? 10? 20? Will you take it out for a special occasion, such as an anniversary or maybe Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary? Or do you want to hide it away for 50 years for the next generation to find? On the outside of the time capsule print clearly the date it should be opened.


Write a time capsule log for your initial ceremony. This should be a record of who is involved, their names and ages, and what life is like at that time. This should be included inside the time capsule.

The first thing to put into your time capsule is a current newspaper. Then add personal items such as family photos, recipes, and small memorable from your family reunion or party. Be sure to list specifics such as names and where photos were taken. Include letters to your future self and bits of family news that otherwise might be forgotten. It’s fun to make predictions of what life will be like for you and your family in the future. If you’re putting in paper, make sure that it’s acid-free. Leave out any substance that could decay and damage the other contents of the box. This includes rubber, wool, wood, PVC, and any perishable or edible item.

Decide where to put your time capsule. We buried our time capsule in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard. If you don’t have a metal container you may want to store on the top shelf of your closet or in an attic. Keep in mind that you may move before the appointed time, so think about putting it where you can easily find it. Keep a careful record of where your time capsule is stored- don’t assume you will remember all the details.


Did you know that you can register your time capsule?   The International Time Capsule Society was established in 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, and allows people world wide to register their capsule in a formal registry and database. The site asks you to fill out your contact information, the contents or purpose of your time capsule, and when you would like it opened. You can register at Oglethorpe University.

Keep in mind that creating a capsule for unveiling at some future date is really a two sided adventure involving both you and those who will uncover it once again. Make sure that the items you select will add to the element of surprise and discovery for those who open this capsule of your family history. Imagine what a treasure a time capsule would have been from your ancestors and make your time capsule a thing of wonder and learning for those who will open yours.

Aunt MO

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose

Slide Box Ornament for Your Christmas Tree



For the last 50 years my family has recorded their favorite family memories on photographic slides that can only be viewed with a slide projector.  As much as I love gathering the family together for a slide show I was thrilled when Uncle Steven came up with a brilliant idea for making slide ornaments for our Christmas tree.

Slide ornaments are easy and inexpensive to make.  There is quite a bit of cutting, folding and taping involved but the most difficult part of making slide ornaments is choosing the slides you want to display on your tree.

It is fun to use slides from past Christmases, family reunions or especially embarrassing for children and fun for parents is to use pictures of children when they were small.


Because we were making over a hundred slides we had a print shop print our ornaments and they even scored the fold lines.  You will want to use a higher end grade of card stock, one that has been coated in either or matte or gloss finish.  We used the gloss finish.  Both should be available at your local print or stationary store.  You can download a free  slide ornament pattern at 

We had our name printed on our slide box but  we found that made it a little restricting as we couldn’t use vertical slides in our ornaments without making our name look funny.  I would recommend not using any words or graphics that will limit your options.


We used a good pair of scissors to cut out our ornaments and an X-acto knife and ruler to cut out an opening for the slide.  Tape the slide  to the inside  of the box then fold and fasten together with doubled sided tape.


Display with white or clear lights.  Your slides will be whatever color the light is.

You can punch the hole for the lights in the top or bottom of the box depending on how you want the ornament to hang.

Store slide ornaments in a shirt box for next year’s tree.  They are are long lasting and make a fun family tradition during the Christmas season.

Aunt MO

“Remember that our blessings outnumber the  lights on the Christmas tree.” Unknown