Introduction: Family Stories Treasure Box

About: I like building things. I like to experiment with alternative methods of heating and cooling houses.

The holidays are coming and this is the perfect time to build a FAMILY STORIES treasure-box!  Most people like to tell stories and update everyone on what is happening in their family during the holiday get-togethers.   As we all grow older the stories are forgotten or just pass away with our passing.  This is a great loss to the younger generation.  Wouldn't it be a wonderfull gift to pass along to the grand children some of the life experiences and funny stories from everyone in the family?  Many cultures have a story telling tradition such as native Indian tribes ... and ancient man before writing was invented.  It is also just great fun to collect these family stories.  Everyone gets a laugh out of them during our family gatherings.
I have hi-lited some of the items in the picture to give you some idea of the STORIES attached to each little "charm". 

Step 1: Construction of the Story-Box.

I almost used a simple CIGAR-BOX for my story-charm holder.  But i already had a box that looked like a BOOK.   All i had to do was get some little stickers from a SCRAPBOOK store.  I just applied them to the front of the book... and i was done.   You could also use a CIGARBOX and cover it with some cloth or paper.  Then finish it off with some stickers or fancy papers from the scrapbook section of the craft store.  The Box is not so important as the stories contained inside.   The charms are meaningless without some kind of ducumentation.  So a card file or small notebook are important.  That will be our next step, the cardfile.

Step 2: The Card-File :

If you don't write down some description of each story, then the story will eventually be forgotten and the charm in the box will become meaningless.  The good thing about using little 3 by 5 cards is they can be handed to people during the holiday get-together.  Anyone who wants to partisipate can write one of their own stories and add it to your family storybox. The charms will be of interest to everyone, and will act as story reminders.  Some of the charm / ornaments may be 3 or 4 different stories in your cardfile box.   

Step 3: Inspiration for This Idea:

This idea is not invented by me.  In the movie "Amilee" a childs treasure box is one of the items used to progress the story of Amilee.   I have an old book titled, "A treasury of Great American Folklore"  Written by B.A. Botkin.  It contains old timey stories from more than 100 years ago in the American south.  The stories told by people a hundred years ago are very entertaining in my opinion.  Someday, someone may be entertained by your little story-box when you are long gone... maybe even a hundred years from now.  Wouldn't that be something! 

Step 4: Parts Source

The little charms and ornaments can be found at the hobby shops in the BUTTONS section.  Any kinds of charms or ornaments will work as long as they are SMALL to fit in the box.  Some stores sell little erasers that are shaped like icecreams and other items.  I used some of them.  Miniature doll-house items can be used also.  If a charm cannot be found for a particular story, don't worry about it.  Just make a card-story for it.  Keep a look out for a suitable charm and someday one may be found at a flea market or elsewhere. The important thing is documenting the story.

Step 5: One Example Story:

The Grapes of Wrath... would be the title of this story, as in  the movie of that name.

One of the most inspiring stories is from my father-in-law.  He lived in the southern part of the state of Missouri in a section of the state called the "boot-heel."   He and many other people lived by picking vegetables or cotton for the land owners.  Not everyone owned land and they had to survive somehow.  He says the farm owners didnt get mechanical cotton picking machines until about 1968 or so.  Not all land owners could afford to buy an expensive machine... so they paid migrant workers to pick the cotton.  He said, "In those days they only paid between 50 cents to a dollar fifty to pick a HUNDRED POUNDS of cotton."  Hold a piece of cotton in your hand and it doesn't weigh hardly anything.  How many hours must it have taken to pick a hundred pounds!  I asked him why he worked for so low of pay. He said, "Because we wanted to EAT that day."   

    He moved his family out of that area and into a larger city and their family prospered and are very happy now.   I think stories like that need to be told and need to be NOT lost. 
Not every story is earth shattering. Most of them are just humorous or silly.   I think it is important for families to not forget their history, quotations, achievements and jokes. 

Step 6: Final Notes :


Every family has a few stories that are not in the "happy" or "funny" category. Those stories should be avoided of course!! . I believe that MOST families get along pretty well and this is not an issue. "Normal" healthy families like to laugh WITH each other over life's little hardships. If your family laughs AT each other rather than WITH each other, then maybe this instructable is not for you. We don't want to start any family fights


You might be tempted to RECORD or videotape the stories.  That is fine, as long as you realize the recordings will eventually become obsolete and nobody will have any way to play them.  It is somewhat of a shame that technology moves so quickly.   Cassette tapes worked just fine.  Too bad that anything recorded on 8-track tapes or wire recorders are difficult to playback.  Soon your blue-ray recordings will be outdated by whatever comes next.  Be sure to make your documentation on cards or pictures that will always be usable. 


  As a final note,  i dont want to forget to include the suggestion to document peoples favorite quotations.   Most everyone has a favorite QUOTATION.   My grandmaw had 4 or 5 that i know of.  She has been gone more than 40 years but I still remember her saying, "Everyone eats a speck of dirt before they die."   and  she would often say that, "Poor people have POOR ways."  

I hope everyone enjoys this instructable, and , hey, let us know in the COMMENTS how your Story-Charm_Box worked out for you if you built it.