There are many birthday traditions you can start with your child. But, writing a birthday letter to your baby is one of the sweetest. It’s a tradition they may not even know is happening but is one they will cherish the most for the rest of their life.
Ideally, this is a birthday tradition to start at 1 but it’s never too late to start.
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I’m not sure when I first heard this idea, perhaps scrolling Facebook or Pinterest during endless hours of breastfeeding my oldest daughter. But I immediately knew that this was one tradition I really wanted to do.
I grew up with a large tightly knit family and I’m a big lover of traditions. Making memories is the best, but how do you remember them? What about all those memories that happen when you’re too young to actually remember them?
That’s where the letter-writing comes in!
Yearly letters to your child
To preserve these memories each year around your child’s birthday you write them a letter. There’s no strict format for these. They can be more chronological about what happened that year. They can be emotional and be you pouring your heart out to your child. They can be hopes for the future. They can even be all of this in one.
Delivering your gift
You store up all these letters (more on storage options later) and save them until your child graduates from high school. Then, you present them with this box full of memories!
I would use your own judgment as to whether they are ready for this gift at 18. Kids, of course, do mature at different ages and they may not be able to appreciate it then.
High school graduation is the first big right of passage so it’s a great time but you can also save them until college graduation, marriage, whenever you decide.
Make other family members a part of it
Don’t keep this tradition to yourself, get the rest of your family in on it too. I was blessed to grow up knowing many of my grandparents and my daughters are also blessed with multiple grandparents.
I’ve invited all of them to write my girls yearly letters too. I’ve given very little guidance so all the letters will cover different things and be written differently.
This is also the beauty of this tradition. By the time your child reaches graduation, it’s a sad but true fact of life that some of these people may no longer be around. While I’d love to still have my girls great-grandmother around she’d be almost 100 years old by then.
The letters create a beautiful reminder and memory of those that were so important to their childhood. I’d love to have letters written by my grandparents in their own words now that most of them are no longer here.
It doesn’t have to be just family, you can ask close family friends to write to them as well. Just don’t go overboard or you won’t have enough room to store all those letters!
Best ways to store the letters for your child
I chose to use a memory box for my girls letters. I purchased these gorgeous wooden boxes with their names on the front to store all the letters in. We purchased the large size so there would be plenty of room for lots of letters.
Our boxes may look empty now, but that’s because my oldest is only 3! They will fill up in no time.
If you need something faster and easier you can always use a file box, at least temporarily.
I love that using a box creates an actual physical gift. It also allows you to add a few photos or small items in there as well. It also means you can physically write the letters with your own handwriting on them if you’d like, something you can’t do if you store them digitally.
Create one book of letters & memories
Want to keep everything in one place? This cute book comes with question and other prompts and also leaves space to write a letter each year.
This is nice because they will all be together in one place. This one is called “Letters to You” which pretty much explains it all.
Store them digitally
The other option is to store them digitally. I’ve heard of people creating an email address for their child and emailing the letters there.
My concerns with storing them that way are that the email provider you choose could shut down, there could be a max amount of time the emails are stored, or technology could change completely and email could be replaced by something else entirely.
Other digital options are to save them on your computer or in a place like Google Drive or Dropbox, again you may end up having to move the files at some point if these services shut down.
You can, of course, do both. Create the physical letters and save a backup digitally. My mom always writes them on her computer then prints them out and sticks a physical version into an envelope for our memory box.
Have fun creating lasting memories to share with your child!