Several years ago my sister-in-law gave us a Christmas gift that surprised me. It was a very nicely bound book that said “Guests & Friends” on the front. She said she thought we could keep in our guest room and every time she or anyone else visits they would write a note.
This is something I would have never thought about buying or making for myself. To me, guest books were something you would see at weddings, special occasions, or bed and breakfasts. But when you think about it, what occasion is more special than the moments you spend at home with your closest family and friends?
We live far from our families. My in-laws live in Sweden, my siblings are spread across the country and my parents are in Texas. And because we have moved a few times ourselves, we have friends near and far as well. The guest book doesn’t just have to be for overnight guests, you can also use it when grandparents visit a newborn baby for the first time, for family gatherings, and birthday parties.
When my sister-in-law gave it to us I put it in our guest room and left it there. Occasionally I’d say– “Oh did you sign the guest book?” But for the most part, I put it there and forgot about it.
Now it is one of our more treasured possessions. Here’s why:
Our family members wrote about the first time they met our son
My sister announced her engagement to our family while staying with us
My son’s friends have drawn pictures in the book of them hugging
The special relationship between cousins is recorded through quotes and anecdotes
Friends and family share anecdotes and inside jokes that we laughed about
Grandparents who stay often, track our son’s development through their eyes
The other great thing? I don’t have to do anything. As the kin-keepers of the family, it often falls to moms to do all of the little things that build traditions and connects families. Here’s one thing that takes little effort from me, but creates a meaningful keepsake for years to come. That is why I say it is the memory journal every mom should have!
After guests have gone I will be changing sheets and cleaning up when I see the journal there and I will get all excited when I realize that we have a new entry. We open it and read it together as a family and relive the best moments of the trip. It’s fun for our visitors as well. They enjoy reading what others have written and even their past entries. It’s their memories as well.
So, I have to say a big thank you to my sister-law who gave us such a thoughtful gift all those years ago! She purchased it in Sweden, but below (affiliate links) are a few similar versions. The key is to find one that is unlined. You don’t want a guest register book, but rather a guest journal. You can also make one yourself, just be sure to put “Guests & Friends” on the front so your visitors will know it’s for them!