What Is It About Boxes? Writing Challenge

I am rather sure I was a cat in a previous life. Don’t all cats love boxes?

box. noun: a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular and having a lid.

I love boxes—all sorts of boxes. Big cardboard appliance boxes, the kind we made into forts or houses or castles. Little bitty jewelry boxes, metal boxes, wood boxes. All sorts of boxes. I like nesting boxes, the kind for birds and the kind of box where one box fits inside another. Really, Is there any one who doesn’t like boxes? I have 3 boxes sitting on my desk at the moment. (Who knew?) One, is a tin box that I bought at the Stuttgart airport in Germany. It had dark Fedora Chocolates in it, each wrapped in a facsimile of painting. Two, is a handmade box, I think of Myrtlewood, my mother had, that I inherited. Third one, is a hinged wood box with an anchor, my grand-daughter gave to me for Christmas, that looks like a treasure chest. And lets not forget flower boxes! I even have a collection of flower box photos. Although not really a box in the proper sense unless you consider the flowers its lid. Why not?

Flower Box in Rockport, Massachusetts

And this is a photo of the three boxes that reside on my desktop. Although someone pointed out the one on the bottom is properly called a “tin” or as I say a tin box.

My desktop boxes

There’s so many things I love about boxes where to begin? I admire both the utility of them and the mystery of what may be inside. Or even what I can store in it… As my last blog post was about my Grandmother’s Trinket box, I feel I am not alone. In fact I know I am not. My mother saved boxes and on the day after Christmas “Boxing Day” we delighted in seeing how many boxes we could fit inside each other, before packing them away in our special stash. This was back in the day where Department store purchases were boxed in fancy boxes from “The Emporium”, “Capwells” and “Gumps.” Special boxes were treasured and passed down, sometimes re-appearing at Christmas and repurposed over and over again. Hat boxes, shoe boxes, file boxes, recipe boxes. These specialty boxes are going extinct replaced in part by generic Amazon boxes and electronic files. Gifts, more often than not, are given in “gift bags” with tissue. Just not the same, is it? I was wondering how often I have written about boxes tangentially and it is quite a bit. Here are two.

And here are a three boxes I have yet to write about. The first two were handmade by my father. The last is a gift from my husband. And each is a story not only of how the box came to be and how the box came to me, but what is stored inside.

The box below I made a couple of decades ago from a shoebox covered in greeting card images I liked. The inside of the lid is decorated too! The box is chock full of greeting cards from family and friends. Some now gone…

Each box tells at least one story and sometimes quite a few. Each item inside the box, a memory; a story waiting to be told. Do you have a box waiting for you to tell it’s story? If so this writing challenge is for you.


  • Pick a box — what you call a box is up to you
  • Write something about the box
  • Could be where the box came from, who gave it to you
  • Or could be what was/is inside the box
  • Or maybe what you store there now
  • Are there cuff links from your great grandfather, your mother’s watch, earrings from a favorite auntie
  • Are there photos or mementos of trips or performances
  • Newspaper Clippings, a card, a love letter
  • You can use the broadest interpretation of box you would like
  • Maybe it’s a cereal or cracker box, just let it speak through you
  • Cracker Jacks, chinese candy box…

For this writing challenge describe what it is. Does it have a smell, a feel, an emotion the box or object evokes. Describe it in words so that even without a photo someone can picture it in their mind’s eye. You can use this as a very simple writing prompt to describe something in a few paragraphs or you can use it as a jumping off point for something much more. Up to you. And please find someone to share your story with. Use your imagination, and have fun.

Tree Swallow Nesting Box

Kelly Wheaton © 2022 – All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments on “What Is It About Boxes? Writing Challenge”

  1. A fun writing prompt and fun reading about your love of boxes! Not to mention the lovely photos.

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