Preserving the memories whether or not you keep the “stuff”

Growing up as an only grandchild with divorced parents, I didn’t grow up with the family traditions my friends grew up with. There was never a set Thanksgiving “host” and I was never sure whether I’d be with my mother and grandparents or with my father (his parents passed before I was born).
If I happened to be celebrating with my grandparents, the one thing that was constant was my grandmother’s “Strawberry Jello Mold” which would accompany the turkey (from wherever or whoever made it – sometimes it was bought premade from Publix.)  Since having Strawberry Jello Mold was the only consistent tradition from any holiday I can remember, as a mother, I have made sure my children have had this same Strawberry Jello Mold for their Thanksgiving – whether they were celebrating with me or with their father.

It’s also why I’ve stood unwavering in my insistence that it be made in my grandmother’s bundt pan despite the fact that the bundt pan is older than I am and there are much easier ways to make the mold ensuring it “comes out” properly.

In fact, part of our tradition has become the wager as to whether or not the “mold” will set properly and stay in it’s intended shape. In years when it hasn’t, I’ve scooped it up and served it out of trifle bowl. It tastes the same but I don’t think it’s quite as enjoyable.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from clients and from audiences of my downsizing talks is the sadness when loved ones don’t want our belongings. This is because we are living differently and experiences are valued over things.  Think about it – when was the last time your family gathered around the dining room table and ate a meal with the fancy china?

If you have items in your life like my grandmother’s bundt pan and want to make sure the legacy is passed down, create a “Legacy List” with credit to Matt Paxton who hosts the Emmy Nominated show and suggests identifying the most significant items in your family’s story and sharing these.  A great site you can use is  If you aren’t “tech savvy” and would like help creating your own legacies, Silver Linings Transitions provides this service either as a stand alone service or as part of our downsizing.

The jury is out as to whether or not it will turn out this year but one thing is certain. My children will always remember our Thanksgivings with Strawberry Jello Mold just as I will think of my grandmother each year I make it.