21 Unique Memory Box Ideas to Capture Life's Best Moments

21 Unique Memory Box Ideas to Capture Life's Best Moments


Sometimes life moves fast like a train barreling out of a station. Other times it inches forward in painfully slow moments that feel like a lifetime. 

And some seasons of life are so full of joy we wish we could stop time and savor it a little longer.

But what if you could bottle up time and come back to it whenever you wanted? 

You can—in a way—by creating a memory box.

What's a memory box?

A memory box is a special keepsake that holds mementos and special items that remind you of a special person or time in your life. You might create a memory box to celebrate the birth of a child, a wedding, or the memory of a loved one.

Every time you open the box, the memories come flooding back, and you can relive that special feeling again.

Today, we're bringing you 21 memory box ideas you can make, either for a personal keepsake or as a gift for a special person in your life.

But before we get into the list, let’s talk about what kind of things you can put into a memory box. 

What Can You Put in a Memory Box?

Almost anything can be saved in a memory box, as long as it fits inside. Think of yourself as a collector of historical artifacts that capture the time and feeling of a memory. 

Here are some things that work well for a memory box:

  • Photos
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings
  • Letters and postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Ticket stubs
  • Coins
  • Little souvenirs and trinkets from travels
  • Drawings and art prints
  • Takeout menus
  • Packages
  • Business cards
  • Pressed flowers
  • Journal entries
  • Jewelry
  • Certificates and awards
  • Personal items

Anything you want to remember counts. Just don't add anything that's going to introduce moisture into the box or degrade over time.

And with that in mind, let’s dig into the list of 21 memory box ideas for every occasion.

21 Thoughtful Memory Box Ideas to Make

Looking for ideas for your next memory box? Wondering what kind of memory boxes you can make, and what to put in them?

We’ve got you covered with 21 unique and thoughtful ideas that cover almost any occasion or situation in life.

1. Baby Memory Box

Baby Memory Box

This box captures special memories of a pregnancy, birth, and the first year of a baby's life. You can keep it for yourself, gift it to the child when they become an adult, or gift one to soon-to-be parents.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photographs of ultrasounds (not the originals, as they fade over time)
  • Footprints and handprints
  • Hospital bracelet
  • Locks of hair
  • Baby socks
  • A favorite toy or rattle
  • A letter to your baby

2. Child Memory Box
Child Memory Box

A child memory box goes beyond baby's first year, holding mementos from a child's life. You could make one for their preschool years or keep it going until they turn 18.

Some ideas to include are:

  • First tooth lost
  • A pinecone picked up on a walk (preserved to last longer)
  • Drawings and notes from the child
  • A letter from you to the child
  • Photos of the child
  • A favorite toy or doll (after outgrowing it, of course)
  • Event tickets
  • Preschool papers
  • Flyers from preschool concerts or recitals

3. School Memory Box
school children

Going to school for the first time is such a special experience for little kids, and a school memory box is a great way to bottle up that excitement and help children remember it for years to come.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photos from the first day of school
  • Favorite school projects
  • Report cards
  • School dance flyers
  • School merch
  • School play and performance programs
  • Papers from a child's sports team
  • Spirit Week photos
  • School photos
  • Awards won

4. Vacation Memory Box

Vacation Memory Box

Maybe your family's been on a special vacation, and you want to remember the experience. A vacation memory box is a great way to capture the places you went, activities you tried, and lessons you learned on the adventure.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Boarding passes
  • Train tickets
  • Souvenirs and trinkets
  • Travel brochures
  • Memo pads from hotels
  • Coasters from bars or restaurants
  • Takeout menus
  • Materials written in a foreign language
  • Road maps from your destination (if you can still find those)
  • Favorite trip photos
  • Seashells or jars of dirt

5. Housewarming Memory Box

Housewarming Memory Box

Why not surprise a couple moving into a new home with a housewarming memory box? They can use it to keep memories of their move and new start in a new home.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A photo of the family in front of the house
  • A letter written to mark the occasion
  • Mementos from memories made while living in the house
  • A printed copy of the deed to the house

6. Couple Memory Box

Couple Memory Box

A couple memory box gives couples a place to store all their favorite memories together.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photos or mementos from the first date
  • Old couple rings or keychains you're no longer using
  • Takeout menus from favorite restaurants
  • Love letters to each other
  • Little souvenirs from trips taken
  • Symbols of little things you love about each other

7. Engagement Memory Box

Engagement Memory Box

Mark the happy occasion with a personalized engagement memory box. The couple can fill it with special mementos from their relationship and engagement.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A few engagement photos
  • A Save the Date invitation
  • The engagement ring box
  • Love notes talking about why you want to get married

8. Letters to the Bride Box

Letters to the Bride Box

The Letters to the Bride tradition brings together all the special people in a woman's life to send their best wishes to her on her wedding day.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Advice to the bride
  • Notes about how much she means to you
  • Best wishes for the new couple
  • A love letter from the groom to the bride

9. First Fight Memory Box

First Fight Memory Box

The idea behind the first fight memory box is to give couples a few helpful items to smooth over their first big argument.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A bottle of wine or favorite drink to set a more romantic mood
  • Two glasses
  • Sealed love letters to each other to be opened during a big fight

10. Wedding Memory Box

Wedding Memory Box

Choose a personalized wedding memory box for an unforgettable wedding gift for a couple in your life. They can store mementos of their wedding day, honeymoon, and other fun items from their first year together.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Wedding photos
  • Wedding invitations
  • Wedding programs
  • Signage or calligraphy pieces from the wedding
  • Copies of your vows
  • Copies of best man speeches or family speeches
  • A USB drive of songs played at your wedding
  • Letters to each other on the couple’s wedding day

11. Graduation Memory Box

Graduation Memory Box

Give this box to a new graduate from high school, college, medical school, nursing school, law school, or other secondary school! They’ve worked so hard to get their diploma, and this box can capture that feeling of accomplishment forever.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A diploma or proof of graduation
  • Letters and cards with advice and well wishes
  • A journal entry from the graduate detailing their dreams for the future

13. Confirmation Memory Box

Confirmation Memory Box

Gift a child this memory box after their confirmation or baptism to make the milestone even more meaningful.

Some ideas to include are:

  • The church program from the confirmation service
  • A meaningful Bible verse for the child
  • A letter to or written prayer for the child

14. Baptism Memory Box

Baptism Memory Box

This baptism memory box is a great gift for parents of small children, an older child, or an adult who have made the decision to be baptized.

Some ideas to include are:

  • The church program from the baptism service
  • Photos of the baptism
  • Baptism gown (for a baby or small child)
  • A special verse to mark the baptism or about baptism itself
  • Well wishes from family and friends for the person getting baptized

15. Godparent Proposal Box

Godparent Proposal Box

The godparent memory box doubles as a “proposal” to the godparent and a memory of the relationship between the godparent and child.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A letter from the child and/or family to the godparent
  • Photos of the godparent and the child
  • A Bible verse that expresses who the godparent is to you

16. Memory Box for a Lost Loved One

Memory Box for a Lost Loved One

Some memories make us feel sad, but they're still so important to remember. You can put together a memory box for a loved one who's passed away to honor their life and share their stories to the next generation.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photos with the person
  • Favorite items of the person
  • Program from the memorial service
  • Letters they wrote or journal entries they made
  • A favorite book of the person's
  • Rings or other accessories they wore

17. Military Memorial Box

Military Memorial Box

This is a thoughtful gift for someone going through the unthinkable loss of a loved one in the military or to honor a veteran’s life. A military memorial box is a respectful way to capture memories of the person's life and honor their sacrifice for their country.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Insignia, medals, and badges
  • Parts of the person's uniform
  • Photos of the person
  • The flag
  • Memorial service program

18. Infant Loss Memory Box

Infant Loss Memory Box

Our heart goes out to anyone who's experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. An infant loss memory box can help you remember and honor a baby's precious life.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photographs
  • A baby blanket
  • A matching bracelet for mom and baby
  • A letter or journal entry from the parents to the child
  • Photos of ultrasounds (not the originals, as they fade over time)
  • Baby hat or socks
  • Lock of hair
  • Handprint or footprint
  • A special poem, quote, or verse that gives comfort
  • Messages and cards from friends

19. Pet Memorial Box

Pet Memorial Box

Anyone who's gone through the loss of a beloved pet knows how painful it can be to say goodbye. A pet memorial box is a touching way to remember a special pet that left a lasting mark on your heart.

Some ideas to include are:

  • A collar
  • Photos with the pet
  • A favorite blanket or piece of a blanket
  • A favorite toy
  • Paw print
  • Fur clipping
  • A letter written to your pet

20. Birthday Memory Box

On a happier note, birthdays provide a great opportunity to shower someone with love, and what better way to celebrate someone than to give them a special box of memories? This is an excellent way to mark milestone birthdays like a Sweet 16, 18th birthday, 21st birthday, 40th birthday, and more.

Some ideas to include are:

  • Photos of the person
  • Best wishes for the birthday
  • Small mementos from the past year
  • Gift cards or other small gifts

21. Retirement Memory Box

And finally, consider creating a retirement memory box to honor a person’s career and celebrate the start of a new season!

Some ideas to include are:

  • Awards or accolades received during their career
  • The person's business card
  • Photos from their career
  • Well-wishes and cards from colleagues, family, and friends

Looking for a personalized memory box? At Engrave My Memories, we engrave names, dates, and personal messages on memory boxes featuring dozens of different designs for every occasion. 

We offer multiple sizes, wood types, and many customization options. 

See our full lineup of personalized memory boxes on Etsy

And before you go, don't forget to sign up for our mailing list to get 20% off your first order!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you put in a memory box?

Anything that reminds you of the person, life season, or event you'd like to remember is fair game! Think: photos, trinkets, ticket stubs, cards, drawings, accessories, and more.

How do you make a grief box?

Add items that help you remember and honor a person's memory, like clothing, notes and cards, rings, photos, and other mementos. You can also create a memorial box for a special pet.

What do you put keepsakes in?

A memory box is a great place for storing keepsakes! You can create personalized engraved memory boxes to honor a person, season of life, or milestone.

What does a memory box symbolize?

A memory box often symbolizes a special time in a person's life, the memory of a loved one, or a relationship that you cherish.

What do you put in a couple's keepsake box?

A couple's keepsake box captures memories of a life spent together. You can throw in sentimental items from good times and bad, ticket stubs, takeout menus, little love notes, and other mementos to tell the story of your relationship and honor your commitment to one another.