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chyna's avatar

Am I in the minority for not being sentimental?

Asked by chyna (45320points) November 24th, 2015

I have been seeing commercials for Christmas about people keeping and handing down keepsakes for generations. It kind of makes me feel bad that I didn’t keep any keepsakes from my own family. To me, it is just items. The real memories are in my heart and head.
How do you feel about keepsakes? Do you have them and do they bring back memories? If so, does it make you happy or sad?

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31 Answers

Seek's avatar

I have no heirlooms. My father was an orphan, my mother’s father died when she was young. My maternal grandmother died several years ago, and though I asked only for her handwritten cookbook and her krumkake iron, I received nothing – not even the set of collectible dolls she bought (and stored for safe keeping) for me every year of my life.

This, I give no fucks about heirlooms. I don’t have any to care about.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Keepsakes serve as an enhancement to those things in your heart and head. They serve as a reminder too. When you’re old and forgetful – such things can bring back a flood of memories that you wouldn’t have otherwise retained.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am somewhat sentimental, but I don’t think I’m extremely so. I have some items given to me by loved ones that I like. It’s enough. I have relatives who are very sentimental. They are maudlin. I don’t go that far.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Keepsakes are good, but I don’t go so far as to have as many keepsakes as possible. Like you, I think the real memories are inside me, and the keepsakes are just a reminder. That’s also the reason why I don’t have a habit of taking pictures. When I have a good time somewhere, I prefer to keep the pictures in my head. They are more “real” than the taken pictures.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t have kids, so the last time I moved (10–11 years ago) I rounded up most of the family items I had and had my favorite cousin (around 20 at the time) come over and I told her who/where the things came from and she could take none, any, or all. I had a yard sale scheduled, so it was her call, as I was going to be rid of them.
She took everything, and I was pleased.
The few things I have left date to my great grandparents and, thuthfully, I’m ready to let go of them too. All but for the rug my GGrandfather traded the Navajos for – it’s hanging on a quilt rack in the living room.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t have lots of keepsakes. I do have some really special things that mean a lot to me. My grandmother’s ring. I’ve got Christmas ornaments my children made. Letters people have written to me. I wouldn’t call myself sentimental, but there are things that I’ve lost over the years that I’d love to have back. The baby blanket my dad had made for my first child (my ex threw it away), my grandmother’s chair (he got rid of that too), a chain my dad wore (that was stolen). It would appear I’m more sentimental than I thought.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t have any, either. Except, maybe, some Christmas ornaments from my dad’s side of the family. But other than that, it can’t go back generations. My paternal grandfather was bought by a pedophile and separated from the rest of his siblings when they were all given up for adoption and then he abandoned my dad and grandma, so I never met him. When my paternal grandmother died, I didn’t get to keep anything of hers because her step son was a greedy asshole and took it all away after my dad’s sisters had already sold most of my grandma’s belongings for cash.

I never met my maternal grandfather because he died when my mom was eight. Nothing went back generations on my maternal grandmother’s side, either, because she grew up in a Catholic boarding school with her sister because her dad left the country to go back to Ireland and her mom just wasn’t the best mom because she grew up in an “orphanage” for Native Americans and only knew how to raise my grandma and her sister to the extent that she was raised – which was to just send them somewhere.

I get the idea behind it, though. That’s why my sister and I do what we do with Christmas ornaments, which is to make some every year. We’ve been doing it for years simply because we like to make them and the memories associated with the holidays tend to be good ones. We didn’t have the best childhoods, so we have to make traditions where we can, I guess.

ucme's avatar

I’d loved to have kept most of our kids toys & stuff, because i’m a complete sucker when it comes to them & memories & keepsakes. The wife however saw the financial aspect & sold the whole bloody lot of them, even baby toys. I wept bitter salty tears for a full 3 minutes then, once she’d stopped laughing, we moved on with our lives.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I am very sentimental about heirlooms and the stories behind them. But I travel fast and light, live in tropical climates often without indoor climate control, have very little space and therefore, my ability to preserve these things responsibly is null.

When I embarked on this life, I sent my portion of these things to my older sister along with the lore attached to them. She became the matriarch of the family after my mother died. She had a nice, big house and felt as seriously as I about these things. When she died, my niece took over. She is very respectful of these objects as was her mother and does her own research. She is the perfect repository. I feel myself lucky to have people in my family who wish to preserve and pass these things on.

Whenever we gather at her house, all those heirlooms are available to us and we spend a lot of time reviving old stories and in this way pass the family lore, the good and the bad, on to the younger generation.

jca's avatar

I have all kinds of sentimental things, from relatives living and dead, and things I’ve picked up along the way. However, I don’t think sentimentality comes necessarily from possessing things. Sentiment is in your mind, and things that make you feel nostalgic can be found in a park, on the beach, with family and friends, or any other of a zillion scenarios.

Cruiser's avatar

I can’t think of any Christmas item from my childhood that I miss not having. I suppose when my mom dies and I go through her things there may be something I would want to have pass down to me, but in the 30 plus years I have been on my own I have a pretty sizeable collection of Christmas decorations that mean more to me now than anything from my childhood. I did inherit a box of 100 year old ornaments from my grandma and it has become almost sad to open that box this time of year to see how fragile and beat up they have become and hoping there will be one or two left to hand down to my kids.

canidmajor's avatar

I’m not into heirlooms, but I do like a keepsake or two. My Dad’s coffee cup brings happy thoughts of him when I use it, a clamp in my toolbox that was my cousin’s reminds me of things he taught me when I repair stuff, things like that.
I really have to place in my life for valuable heirlooms, I see them as more of a burden and/or obligation than anything else.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Whether due to laziness or overwhelming family demands after my mom died, my father threw out very few of our toys and keepsakes. The stuff stayed in the basement until he remarried 12 years later and moved to Florida. He could not deal with it so he asked if I would take it since I had/have a big house. We cataloged and boxed up what he did not have space for and put it in my 2000 sq ft, (200 m2) attic – read that number again. Over the years he would ask me if I still had XYZ and I would say “Yes it is in box number xx. Do you want it?” He would usually answer “No.”

He died over 15 years ago and those boxes are still in my attic. Some day my brother and I will get to them. Meanwhile I figure they are thermal mass and in a small way are helping to regulate the temperature in my home. Thanks, Dad!

thorninmud's avatar

Awhile back I was weeding through an overstuffed curio cabinet that has been the repository for much of the delicate sentimentalia in our lives. I knew this was a perilous undertaking, kind of like disarming a bomb, liable to blow up in my face if I disconnected the wrong wire. I set all of my candidates for removal on the table for review by the Director of Sentimental Affairs for our family, my wife.

One item was a lump of dried clay which was a passable representation of a dog turd, but not much else. My wife snatched this up as if she were rescuing a baby from a burning house. “You can’t throw this out!”

“What is it?”, I asked.

“Something Chris (our son) made. I think it’s a dinosaur.”

Now, it just so happened that Chris (who is now 24, just for the record) was sitting on the couch at the time. I called him as a witness for the defense: “Yo Chris, do you recognize this thing?”


“I rest my case”

rojo's avatar

Why I can’t clean out my garage. Everything I find is a treasure chest rewarding me with memories, ideas or plans for future projects.

marinelife's avatar

I have a lot of things from my mother. When I wear them or use them I sometimes think of her, but those thoughts are just as easily and just as often triggered by memories or, recently, a funny video I saw on the internet. I thought how my mom would have laughed and laughed if she had seen it.

I agree things are just things.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rojo Are you standing my garage? I have the same problem skill set. I can think of a use for everything. I needed a rotary spring for a device so I bought a pack of do-it-yourself earring wires. I can’t throw then out. What if I need to make another spring?
That left handed frammistat is 20 years old but it will be useful if I need to resuscitate a CRT monitor.
Containers are always useful. And so it goes….

Coloma's avatar

I am not very sentimental at all. I have always been more of a “out with the old, in with the new” type and do not like clutter and hoarding stuff at all. My daughter who is 28 has some things I have given her that are more, interesting pieces of art, cool objects, furniture, her baby book and photo albums etc. but nothing that I was overly sentimental about having/giving away. Stuff is just stuff.

I have a friend that is a borderline hoarder and it drives me nuts. She is super, neurotically, sentimental and has all of her mothers dishes, sewing things, saves every card from people, etc. just stuff, stuff, everywhere. I have also read that personality type factors in with sensing and feeling types more prone to attaching a lot of emotion and sentimentalism to objects and being more prone to hoarding traits. I’m an intuitive thinking type of female and between maturity and my personality style I am just not driven by sentimentality.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, for the last 3 years I’ve been passing on things on to my kids that are near and dear to me. Most recently, for my daughter’s wedding, I gave her a ceramic bowl that my mom’s sister gave to me as a wedding present when I married my first husband.
I also gave him a large oil painting that my Mom painted in 1978. It’s of a snowy mountian side, featuring some snow laden trees. I haven’t told him this, but there are features in the paining that disturbs me deeply. But I know things that he doesn’t know so it shouldn’t bother him.

About a year ago I gave me son a depression glass candy bowl that belonged to my dad’s mom, who died when he was 13.

It’s not really so much for sentimental reasons, but I just want to be in control of where these things go and above all, I don’t want people fighting for the shit.

I already gave my son my silver ware because he carved his name in the box when he was 10, because he wanted it! LOL!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey @rojo Do you have a distributor cab and points for a 1970 Chrysler 318? If you need them I’ve got ‘em right here for you.

chyna's avatar

@LuckyGuy , @rojo You both are making me anxious.

Seek's avatar

I want to go shopping in their storage boxes…

LuckyGuy's avatar

@chyna That is why I’m successful in my job. Everything can be reused or repurposed. Right now I am weaponizing used Keurig cups. ;-)

@Seek If you are ever up this way you can browse. I’m sure I have something you need. Shotgun shell refrigerator magnets anyone?.

JLeslie's avatar

I get more sentimental as I get older.

When my grandma died I took a bunch of photos I found in her closet in a brown paper grocery bag and made an album. I love that album.

I have several pieces of my grandma’s jewelry. One piece was her mother’s engagement ring. I had never seen the ring before the day I took it when my sister and I sorted through the jewelry. I thought it might be fake at first, it was very dusty. I threw it in my purse and flew home a few days later. Finally, probably a week after I got home I found it in my purse and rinsed it off. I called my sister and told her it looks real. I had it appraised a few weeks later. Crazy that I threw it in my purse like a pack of gum. Later I found out it was my great grandmother’s engagement ring.

I have my great grandfather’s prayer book. It’s small and cute. It looks like the cover is ivory, but I doubt it is. I don’t know real ivory from a fake.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is probably real, @JLeslie. Can you please share the album you made from your Grandma?

Seek's avatar

I’m in the market for a hand crank drill…

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’ve never been able to figure out how to put photos online to link them here. I once tried photobucket and could not figure it out.

I do have some of the photos in an album on Facebook called “Grandma’s Photos” but I don’t think any pictures of the full paper album pages are on Facebook. When I put together the paper album I added commentary. When I wrote about my mom I used a font similar to her handwriting (difficult to read LOL) and on some pages I used layers of paper to coordinate with the color in the photos (some pages are black and white, because of the age of the photos, but then more recent ones are color).

All the photos are attached with photo corners for a more traditional look and so I can remove the photo if I need to.

jca's avatar

I never figured out how to put photos on here either. I put them in FB and FB friends can see them,

@Seek: I used to have a hand drill. They’re great – so easy to use. Do they still make them any more? I have to check Amazon.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does this help at all, @jca and @JLeslie?

jca's avatar

Nice little tutorial, @Dutchess_III!

@Seek: I found hand drills on Amazon so it’s nice to know they’re still being made. I bet it’s something you could find at a tag sale, though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You can find them all day long at auctions, especially farm auctions.

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