Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Best EVER Birthday Present for an Adult

I am not perfect at coming up with my own ideas...  But, thanks to blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, ....  I have been able to find some pretty cool, creative, and memorable things!

Recently my mom celebrated her 55th Birthday.  We had a big gathering for her 50th birthday that was nice but my mom isn't much for being in the spotlight.  Plus, it wouldn't be that special if we threw a big party at every "milestone" birthday!  So, I decided to implement something that I had heard of but that I knew would be a huge surprise for my mom.  I wanted to give her a present full of memories.  So here is what I did:

I sent out a letter (via mail, Facebook, email, ...) to everyone that I could think of that my mom has known over the years.  Here is what I sent:

    "Hello everyone!
  • If you're receiving this email, you probably know that my mom, Peggy XXXXX, is turning 55 this July (much as she would hate me to be reminding everyone, I'm sure.) To celebrate her birthday, I'd like to put together a little surprise to let her know that her nearest and dearest are thinking of her. I'm going to try and create "55 Years of Memories" by filling 55 envelopes with a memory her friends and family have of her.
    And this is where you come in!
    If you have a spare moment in the next few days, I would be so grateful if you'd jot down a favorite memory you have of my mom and put it in the mail - sent to me. It doesn't have to be anything fancy -- you can just write it down on a piece of paper and sign your name. You can mention anything you like -- although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, I welcome it -- we've got 55 envelopes to fill!), but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so I can split them up.
    Thank you so, so, so much for participating -- I know everyone is busy with their own lives, and I do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when she reads all the memories people have of her (Please don't forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!)
    Thank you so much again. And please feel free to pass this information on to others that might want to contribute (especially since there are many that do not have Facebook.)"
    Then I ended the message by giving them my name and the address to send their letters to.

I purchased 55 pretty envelopes (her favorite color is pink but I also added a few lime green envelopes) and then I tied them up with a bow.  My out of pocket cost for this was low!  I just had to pick up some matching envelopes and I few stamps for the requests that I mailed (via USPS) to potential "authors".

Her reaction:  She laughed, she cried, she LOVED them all!!!  It really was a great present that I think anyone would enjoy!  It meant a lot to her and she has them to keep to read over and over again through the years.  Her Facebook response:  "I have never had such a great birthday gift in my life thank you all"

Things to know:

  • I did end up with some last minute submissions that I received via email or just as a reply to my Facebook message.  I simply cut and paste those messages into a word document, made sure the authors name was included, and printed it on colored paper.
  • I did not end up with 55 letters (it was more like 35).  I did send some reminders to the people I had contact with on Facebook.  There were some people that I should have "pushed" more to submit a memory.  But, I was short on time and didn't realize the "missing" submissions early enough to make a special request.  Example: from close family and friends that are a little shy about sharing feelings ...
  • I saved my "letter writing" for last.  I wanted to figure out how many of my memories should be split up to fill more envelopes.  
  • The very first letter in the pile was from me.  It only made sense since the gift was from me.
  • I mixed up the letters in the pile so she wasn't reading back to back letters from people that sent more than one.
  • I had one letter that I was questioning if I should add to the gift.  The "attitude" of the letter didn't have the warm fuzzy, or even funny, feeling that I was hoping for.  But, after talking it over with my only sibling, I decided to add the letter.  However, I did include a sticky note on top of it just reminding her to keep in mind the "social skills" of the author.  My mom has a thick skin so it went over well and she was back to reading the other GREAT memories that were shared.  However, consider your audience!  If this gift would have been for my mother-in-law I would have never shown her the letter!
  • I received a large variety of letters.  Some were funny, some were sad.  Some were long some were short.  Some were on fancy paper and some were on sticky notes.  But, they sent them to me and my mom enjoyed every one of them.  She was also very surprised by the people that sent letters and to read the memories that they cherished most!

1 comment:

  1. and I still read them and it still was the best present ever