For his birthday, we (my siblings and I) put together a collection of memories from the four of us and called his gift '60 Years of Memories'. I was inspired by this post that I found whilst trekking through Blogland, but with only a week to go, I knew I wouldn't have the time to draft in the reserves (the rest of his family and friends) and get 60 memories, so instead made it a gift from his four kids instead.
So what is it? Well, it's 60 envelopes (actually 61, as the first envelope contains a birthday message!) each one filled with a memory of us with him. Since there are four of us kids, that meant 15 memories each.
Of course, our memories don't span the 60 years of his life - with me the eldest at 35 years old, it's only *really* 33 years of memories...at a push - I don't remember things from under the age of about 2 or 3! But I got around that by including lots of photos from his childhood and his courting days with my mum :) I emailed my sibs, and said 'get thinking' and a link to the idea I had seen. And a couple of days before Dad's birthday celebration, they brought round USB sticks with all their memories on.
I'm in the process of scanning and archiving the collection of family photos, so I spent many hours looking through and pairing up pictures with memories (as best I could!). Some formatting and printing later, I was all done and ready to put everything together.
I've not written a 'Make It' Monday post for a long time, so thought this would be a nice one to re-introduce that. If you'd like to make this for a loved one, it's really easy - you can be as creative (or not) as you wish - the key is in the memories and the sentiment :) And of course, it can be any age you want (for a birthday) or for any celebration you want!
Start by deciding how many memories you need - and contact all those you would like memories from. If I had had more time, I would have got in touch with dad's friends and our extended family. To make less work for yourself, ask that they type/write them out and email/snail mail them to you. If they can add in some photos that is always a nice touch and aid to memory.
I also made a cover note - wishing our Dad a happy birthday and explaining what our gift was.
Grab some crafty equipment - I needed some glue, my craft knife, board and metal ruler and some string to tie it all together.
I printed off a 'front cover' for the first envelope. I wrote '60 Years of Memories' in a font called Symbol, which uses Greek letters in place of English ones. Pretty cool, since dad is Greek-Cypriot!
I also made little 'stamps' numbered 1 to 60 to go on the front of each envelope.
Everything was cut out and then glued to each envelope.
The glue I use is a re-positionable one. I've had the little green roller, forever, and the glue I buy from eBay. It's a brand called Herma. Great stuff! I have a while to re-position something, and if I get the glue in the wrong place I can simply rub it off with my fingertip. Fabulous!
I put the numbers in the top right corner where a postage stamp would normally go.
Then, one by one, I folded each memory and placed it inside each envelope. On the front of each envelope I wrote 'To Dad, Love *****' and put in the name of whoever wrote it. I then stacked all the filled envelopes together, in order from 1 to 60, with the covering note on top, then tied them up with some string.
All that was left to do was wait to give Dad his present!
And boy did he love it! 60 memories is a lot to go through - both reading wise and emotionally, so he opened them in stages throughout the day. He even asked "is this going to make me cry?" To which we replied, "probably, but a lot are going to make you laugh". And that we all did! Laugh and cry, and reminisce.
What was even nicer was his recollection of the events - one that was highly amusing was me remembering a tantrum that I had thrown, and him telling me that I had been super naughty!
Dad sat and read them all out to us, and we had a lovely time just listening to each other's memories.
This was one of mine, from my wedding day. When he walked me down the aisle, and I was so excited to see my husband-to-be that I didn't turn back and give my Dad a kiss 'goodbye' as he gave my hand over to him...so I gave him a big old kiss as he finished reading :)
To store all the memories afterwards, I made a cover for a ring-binder and put in a bunch of plastic sleeves for him to store them like a book.
I phoned him this morning to wish him happy birthday and tell him that I'd put all the photos up from yesterday so he could take a look at them. We took lots between us of all the family together, which is always nice. Here he is with us four kids ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
I'm so glad I stumbled upon the idea online...and if you ever do a memory gift for any one, the result is completely worth it!