Finding the perfect birthday gift for someone special can be tough. But finding the perfect birthday gift for a MILESTONE birthday is even more difficult.
My dad recently turned the big 6-0, and my siblings and I were at a loss as to what to get for the man who has just about everything he needs. In years past we’ve showered him with Notre Dame apparel, Blackhawks signage, or his favorite whiskey and cigars. But because this was a big birthday, we wanted to do something a little more meaningful.We created a box of letters from his family & friends filled with memories spanning his last 60 years. It was the greatest gift we could give him, because it showcased the most important part of life…relationships & friendships.
Because we did an e-vite for his 60th birthday party, we already had an entire email list of all of the VIPs in his life. So I sent out the following email…
If you’re receiving this email, you probably know that our dad is turning 60 next month (much as he would hate us to be reminding everyone, I’m sure.) To celebrate his birthday, we’d like to put together a little surprise to let him know that his nearest and dearest are thinking of him. We’re going to try to create “60 Years of Memories” by filling 60 envelopes with a memory his friends and family have of him.
And this is where you come in!
If you have a spare moment in the next few days, we would be so grateful if you’d email back a memory you have of our dad. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy! You can mention anything you like — although the more nostalgic the better!
Thank you so much for participating — we know everyone is busy with their own lives, and we do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when he reads all of the memories people have of him! (Please don’t forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!)
I sent out the email and then I waited with high hopes that we would at least get a handful of responses. Much to our delight, the memories started flooding in. College roommates, family members, colleagues…all with wonderful memories & photos to share.I printed out each memory individually on card stock and re-wrote them in a cute typewriter font. It did take some time, but it was wonderful to have the chance to read all of these awesome stories about my father as I worked. I then put each memory in an individual envelope and wrote the name of the author on the backside. I found this awesome marble box at HomeGoods to hold the stack of envelopes. I loved how masculine and sturdy it was, and thought it was perfect for a “manly” birthday gift.
[Rookie Tip: If you’re looking for a box to hold letters, make sure it is wide enough to hold a standard envelope. I fell in love with this box not realizing that a letter-sized envelope would be too long to fit inside. Instead I had to buy 6×6 envelopes and then cut the paper to fit the envelope. It definitely added some extra steps to the crafting process]The day of his birthday party, we gave him his gift (yes, he is wearing a white tuxedo top with jeans. The birthday boy gets to wear what he wants!)
At first, he seemed a little confused and very overwhelmed. Did all of these people really write about him? How did we get in touch with so many people from his life? Then as he thumbed through the stack of envelopes, he was just so blissfully happy and overcome with emotion. We had him read a few memories out loud to us and we all laughed at some of the crazy pictures and stories from his past. Our gift was a hit and the birthday boy was oh-so-happy. If you’re looking for a sentimental gift for someone special, this is a great option. It will take some time and hard work, but I promise you it will be worth it.
Plus, it’s a great reminder to focus on what’s really important in life. When I’m 60 I hope that I can look back at my life and remember all of the wonderful times spent with the people I love. Because that’s a life well-lived.
Happy Birthday Dad! Cheers to 60 more years!