We live surrounded by objects, but the ones we cherish the most likely remind us of someone or something we love. We often call them heirlooms, but once upon a time they were brand-new and free of symbolic significance. Their value is purely in the memories they recorded, played back in our heads and hearts. I read about a man who handed his daughter a worn-out piece of metal for her 18th birthday. It was a quarter he'd kept in his pocket since the day she was born. To anyone else, it was worth 25 cents. To his daughter, it meant the world.

Even simple objects can be transformed into heirlooms. Like the wooden rolling pin your mother used to make Sunday lunch for all the kids, that now you use to make Sunday lunch for your kids.

Dress up otherwise dull events. Every birthday means another cake, cake, cake. I collect jewelry to up the bling-factor on a homemade or store-bought wonder: pearls, broaches, tiaras, bangles, and cameos.

Make the memory last. When you plan your events, think about including elements that will always remind you of good times and good friends.

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