My dad (shown above as a little boy) turns 70 years old this week. Last weekend, we celebrated with some family & friends, and my sister and I presented with him with a special gift. I got this idea from a blog called Nothing But Bonfires and everyone enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it here—it is a really special gift idea for a milestone birthday or anniversary.
The gift is called “70 Years of Memories.” With the email below, we asked our friends and family to submit their favorite handwritten memories or stories about our dad:
Dear Family & Friends:
If you’re receiving this email, you probably know that our amazing dad is turning 70 next month. To help celebrate his birthday, we’re putting together a little surprise for him….we are creating “70 Years of Memories” by filling 70 envelopes with memories his friends & 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 jot down a favorite memory you have of our dad and put it in the mail to us. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — you can just jot it down on an index card or a small piece of paper. You can mention anything you like, whether funny or serious — although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, we welcome it — we’ve got 70 envelopes to fill!) but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so we can split them up.
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 the memories people have of him. Please remember to keep it a surprise, too!
Erika & Joanna (address below)
And then we waited. A few days later, the responses started pouring in. It was so much fun to read them. The stories came from everyone from his childhood friends to his colleagues to his grandchildren and great-nephews. The stories were sometimes funny, sometimes surprising, and sometimes very moving. It painted such a rich and varied history of our dad.
To put together the actual gift, I put one memory per “airmail” envelope (Mead #10 Airmail Envelopes, $5.21 at Amazon.com) and numbered them with stickers (Number Stickers, $10 at Amazon.com). I kept a master list of whose memories were in which envelope.
I tied them with a bow, and voila….here was the finished gift.
Since we kept this gift a surprise for both my mom and dad, they have been enjoying reading each one and savoring the memories. Here is the birthday boy:
Happy Birthday Dad!!!
p.s. Thanks again to Nothing But Bonfires for this wonderful idea.