Monday, May 17, 2010

A Last-Minute Gift for a 99 Year Old

I've mentioned before that my Nannie is a very difficult lady to choose gifts for. What do you give a 99 year old who has everything or had it at some point in her long life?

I pondered this as I wandered the aisles of Siler City's Wal-Mart on Saturday morning. Siler City, North Carolina is where my Nannie lives and if you can't find it at the Wal-Mart, then it's probably not worth looking for.

Also, there's really not anywhere else to shop unless you like tractor parts.

I ambled past a scrapbooking display when I had what Oprah calls a "light-bulb moment."

I remembered that my mom and I wrote "no gifts, please" on Nannie's party invitation, so I thought it might be nice to create a gift that all of the party guests could participate in...a memory journal.

Nannie loves to talk. About herself. Let's be honest. If I make it to 99, I'll probably want to talk about me too. So I was betting on the fact that she'd enjoy reading a little book filled with happy memories from friends and family.

I grabbed some cute flower stickers (Nannie loves her garden), the closest thing I could find to a journal, and some markers.

When we got back to the house, I plied Natalie and Michaela Byrd with crackers so they wouldn't notice the markers and stickers. Then I sat down and embellished the front with my stickers...if I had not been distracted by the fight in the living room over the Polly Pockets I might have had the foresight to add some ribbon to the front of the journal. I also added a sticker or two every couple of pages in the book to add a little pretty.

I used markers to write a cute "Happy Birthday" message for my grandmother and a pen to add a nice note with a few of my favorite memories of her. We had around 50 guests at the party, and many of them signed their name or shared a story in the book.

I wish I had a photo of it, but here's an example of something similar my sister's Maid of Honor put together for her bridal shower:

Other variations?

  • Get a plain photo mat and have friends and family of a bride-to-be, expectant mom, birthday girl, etc. bless that person with a short message or words of advice. Frame a picture of the guest of honor with the mat and present it as a special gift.
  • If you have plenty of time to plan, send matching notecards to guests with their party invitations and have them bring their best marriage or parenting advice to the bridal or baby shower. Insert the notecards into an embellished binder for the guest of honor.
  • Have guests sign a onesie for a new baby, an apron for a new bride, or a "grilling apron" for a groom. Someone planned that at a cook-out for my sister and brother-in-law and they just loved it!

Really, it's the thought that counts. Nannie seemed pleased with her cards and the book, but I think she was most excited about seeing some of her family:

{Do you have any great gift ideas for people who are particularly hard to buy for?}

Linking to Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Reminder: The next Decorating Dilemmas Party is coming up next Wednesday, May 26th!
Start looking through your homes now for dilemmas you'd like some feedback on...anything in your home or garden is acceptable as long as you come ready to offer some helpful ideas to other partygoers. Don't have a Dilemma? Then feel free to share a Solution. You can see the last party here if you're curious. I hope to see you here partying!
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  1. I love this idea...for any age! I am putting together a 65th Anniversary party for my husband's granparents. I am thinking of doing a memory book for them - as their gift. Your Nannie sounds like a hoot!

  2. It's funny how much Kylie looks like Bonnie and Michaela looks like Mom.

  3. That's a great idea, Amanda! Perfect.

  4. A great idea, Amanda! I'm definitely inviting you to my 99th birthday party in a couple of years. :)

    That photo of you beside your Nannie is absolutely stunning. You're very photogenic! Me? I have to have sunglasses on, because I have my eyes closed in about 75% of photos. It's a curse.

  5. A perfect idea, Amanda. Is this a good deal at Amazon on Glee 1st season?? I thought of you and I promise I'm not spamming you :)

  6. What a great idea for someone who has everything! I'm sure she loved it!

  7. This is a great idea! For our wedding guest book we used a big mat and had people sign it. For my sister-in-laws bridal shower I designed recipe cards and dividers with Raggedy Ann & Andy (something special to her and her sister). And then because her sister and mother are in Michigan and couldn't attend the shower I sent blank cards up to her sister and they filled them out in their own handwriting. It meant a lot to my sister-in-law and her family.

  8. What a wonderful idea for your Grandmothers' birthday gift. But you are so right. What she probably loved the best was seeing all those people! She has a lifetime of memories involving each and everyone of them. So this made her day extra special for sure.

  9. That's a great idea Amanda! I bet she just loved it!

  10. I don't live far from Siler City and your right there's not many places to shop. What a great idea. My Grandma's 96th is coming up. What a neat present.

  11. That is such a great idea! We did something similar for my grama's recent 80-something birthday ~ my mom put together a scrapbook with clear sleeves and invited all the immediate family to write a letter to grama {who also really likes to talk about herself! *lol*}.

  12. What a sweet party! Such cute pictures!

    Ok, I am ready for your decorating dilemmas party. I have a doozy of one this time!


  13. I think that that is a great idea. I don't have any ideas. Sorry.

  14. Oh Amanda I'm so glad I saw your post! I have a great idea for people who have it all.

    I want to invite you to record your youth with me on my new blog that goes live this week!

    I'm asking moms to link up once a week for 15 wks to record their youth.

    Week 1 will be the story of your birth and/or how you got your name. Week 2 will be a story or highlights from your preschool through kindergarten years and then we'll work our way through grade school, middle school, high school, and our 15th and final post will be about post high school.

    This is not supposed to be every detail of your life! Let's just start recording a few lighthearted stories and memories and see where it goes!

    My nanny gave us her autobiography and that is one of the best gifts I have ever received! She had a pet goat:)

    Anyway, there are more details here

  15. Great idea! I'll bet that Nannie has spent a lot of time reading her book.

    I liked seeing your family pictures from the weekend and from last summer. I hope you'll share more about Nannie's party.

  16. I think those kinds of gifts are the best!

  17. What a great Do It Yourself project. You are a clever and creative gal.

    I just completed a project that took 23 years. Come take a peek.

  18. The memory book is a great idea, and I'm sure your Nannie will cherish it!

    No great gift ideas for people who have everything. For people who don't need more "stuff" in their homes, we've given Walmart gift cards or consumables: postage stamps, prepaid phone cards, special flavors of tea, etc.

  19. It's Jamie! I would recognize that face anywhere- lol :)

  20. I love that it is a gift that isn't just more stuff! GREAT IDEA!

  21. Neat idea! Don't you love it when those ideas pop in the head at just the right time?

    For my granny's 80th birthday, I went through {a kajillion} boxes of photos from when she was a teen through current and put together a photo collage. We had it framed. I copied all the photos so the originals would be preserved. We displayed this at the party and everyone got a kick out seeing her life in pictures - she's a spit-fire!

    Then we had scrapbook paper for everyone to write a memory or message and we scrapped the party with the messages into a book. She loved it!

    Thanks for reminding me of that!


I love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to leave comments...just don't send me spam asking me to buy stuff off your website! I've got three kids and no money to purchase your magic weight-loss pill or bust enhancement, or whatever else you might be selling. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you! :)

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