Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Hopechest

Recently a dear reader asked:

"I have kind of a silly question, but I just don't know (I wasn't raised in a Christian home). What exactly is a Hope chest and how do I make one for my daughter?"

Certainly this is not a silly question at all, hope chests of the past have been replaced with modern store and online bridal registries but there is no reason why we cannot create and bless our daughters with a beautiful gift of a hope chest today. Hope chests were originally used to store items for a daughter to be used after she is married to take to her new home.

Whatever your budget is you can begin today to begin saving and collecting items for your daughter's future home. Traditionally items were kept in a cedar chest to preserve items and keep them safe, but if accumulating an actual wooden hope chest is not any where in your near future (if your husband is handy, he could even make one), don't worry! You can begin gathering items and placing them in a box or plastic tub in the attic or garage as long as the items are stored carefully. Here are some ideas of what to begin collecting:


A family Bible
childhood books
inspirational books
practical books
religious books
family pictures and history scrapbook

Linens- (you might want to embroider some of these or handmake to add personal touches, what daughter wouldn't want something her mother made?!)

Pillow cases
dresser scarves and table runners
towels and dishclothes
aprons, tableclothes, cloth napkins
kitchen accessories


Friendship quilts, theme quilts, wedding quilts, baby quilts, memory quilts, wall-hanging quilts


family heirlooms, letters, recipes, scrapbooks, antiques, practical items, baby items, china and the list goes on...

I, personally, have started my oldest daughters hopechest---I even had let out the word that I was doing this and her aunt and grandmother have added their share of items during Christmas time and birthdays--my daughter was very grateful to receive the gifts and know that they are for her future home. Even if a daughter does not marry, if she eventually leaves the home she can still use many of the items stated above.

An excellent resource of which I compiled most of this list from is this book:

She gives the history of the hope chest, practical ideas that you would never think of, how to throw a shower for your daughter to add to her chest, how to make a hope chest for sons and how to care for a chest and pack it. She also has a chapter on caring for cedar wood. In any case, this book is invaluable and worth the read if you plan on preparing this beautiful and timeless gift to your daughter(s). You will not just be giving her a material gift, but an invaluable one of love that will last and be passed on to the next generation.

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Brenda said...

You and I have been thinking on the same lines all week!

Anonymous said...

Wow...how perfectly strange to find this post: I was going to blog about my desire for a hope chest! I'm getting married in June, do not live in a Christian home, but have always loved the idea of having a collection of things ready for my new home.

Thank you! :)


Sarah Mae said...

Thank you thank you so much! I am so excited about this! My husband also does happen to be handy, he makes things out of wood all the time! Oh, I can't wait to get started! :)

Abounding Treasures said...

This brought back so many memories!

I didn't grow up in a Christian home or even hear the Gospel until I was an adult but my maternal grandmother gave me her old cedar chest and I loved it.

You can imagine my sadness when during one of our cross-country moves this old and well-loved chest was ruined :o(

The thrill of its fragrance whenever the lid was lifted and the love behind the giving will always be with me!


Lesa said...

My hope chest is at the foot of the bed. It's being used for storage. No more! I am clearing it out and starting my daughter's hope chest (she's 5). I have some of my great-grandmother's things to put in there already. Thanks for the inspiration.

Cindi said...

In our family girls have always been given a hope chest upon high school graduation as far back as anyone can remember. My Momma has her Momma's and her own. All of us girl's were given a Lane Cedar Chest for graduation. You can get a little plack engraved to put inside. Mine is in our bedroom.

Jacqueline said...

I came across your blog the other day and have been enjoying reading it. My mother, aunts, and godmother created a hopechest for me, and gave it to me after college graduation when I moved out on my own. It was such a blessing and I'm looking forward to the day when I can create one for my own child.

Briana said...

I wish I could do a girl's hope chest! We have all boys so we are doing a boy's hope chest. basically he will be building it with help from Dad and then we are buying useful things at Christmas and Birthdays to add to it. Tools, books about auto-repair- etc. - Briana http://innisfreeinalaska.typepad.com/innisfree_in_alaska/

Penelope said...

What a wonderful idea! I remember asking my mom about it when I was little, but we were very poor and from a different culture, so it was not something she had thought of for me. In our family we do "shower parties" instead.

When I have a daughter, I plan to have a hope chest for her. The idea of collecting beautiful treasures for her to bring into her marital home is wonderful!


Betty Beguiles said...

Thank you so much! I am a convert and was not raised in a Christian home either but have been dreaming of starting Hope chests for my young daughters.

kenyangal said...

I found this post just in time. God has been speaking to me about starting one. I had no reference point as my culture does not do hope chests,so I am very glad you are here!

Wenonah4th said...

Almost by accident my daughter's hope chest got started last year. My daughter is only 2, now! My mother sent us some cookie cutters in shapes I already had. So instead of giving them away or selling them, I put them in a little shoebox and thus was begun Bluebonnet's hope chest! I've added a pincushion and a copy of one of the Little House books (the new editions are an affront to the senses, so I'm looking in thrift stores for older ones for her), and I'm thinking of other things to add over time.

A Gracious Home said...

A wonderful post. I have my Mama's hope chest. My daughters used it when they were home. The top is split now and needs mending. I plan to get the book. Doylene

Buildeth Her House said...

I just bount my daughters a hope chest to share. It is sooo beautiful! Later if I can find another I will get two. I got this one after reading this post from a thrift store. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

rachelchism said...

hi i recently got a hopechest from my grandma she bought from a cousin. i really need ideas for it. im 15 i love victorian era things but my boyfriend( we're praying to stay together till death do us part ^^ we love each other very much and his a great friend of mine) his more modern in taste(gamer addict). i need aideas for a hope chest thats got a good mixture of tastes or just plain ideas on what to put in. thank you

Petra E. Blackshear said...

Thank you so much! This list has helped lots!


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