Have you ever been challenged to find the perfect gift? One that’s truly a treasure? Me too! Sometimes it’s just not easy to find the exact special something that conveys the emotion, the appreciation, or the sentiment you’re searching for.

Last August as my dad battled stage 4 lymphoma, I knew his 85th birthday present needed to be heartfelt and absolutely perfect. For weeks I searched without success. He didn’t need a new tie, or a shirt, or anything else my eyes scanned in store after store. That’s when I realized what I wanted to give him.

  • I wanted to give him a gift that encouraged him.
  • I wanted a gift that could capture some of the impact he’s had on my life.
  • I hoped to bring him a laugh and a smile but most of all filled with love.

That was a tall order! But, I did it! I found just the perfect gift.

I have to preface telling you what I gave him with the fact that I’m not a scrap-booker. I’ve never done anything remotely like this before. If you can type or write, cut, and glue, you’ve got what it takes to give a gift like this yourself.

So what did I give?

For my dad’s 85th birthday I gave him a book of 85 ways he FullSizeRender[3]impacted my life through lessons he taught me, appreciations he shared, memories we made, and skills he helped me develop. The compilation became a glimpse into the wonderful legacy he created through his rich character and deep compassion. Looking back, now knowing it was a gift I’d give in his final months of life, I can’t imagine a gift that I could have given that could have been more valued or poignant.

The great news is, you don’t need to wait for someone’s 85th birthday to give a gift like this. This idea would make a great gift for many occasions.

You can:

  • Create a list capturing memories and experiences you’vFullSizeRender[2]e shared


  • Compile a list of tips, advice or wisdom (This could be a combination of the obvious that they already know about along with other insights you’d like to share.)

Occasions to consider:

  • a milestone birthday (could be for a someone turning any age from 16 to 100 or older!)
  • a milestone anniversary
  • a bridal shower or a baby shower
  • any holiday that a personal gift could be givenFullSizeRender[1]

So how do you make this idea come to life? It’s easy! Just follow these few easy steps:

  1. Brainstorm your list until you have the number of thoughts you’d like to capture.
  2. Type your list using different fonts, printing on a few coordinating colors of paper. (or if  you prefer hand write your list on a variety of papers leaving space between each so that you have room to cut each out individually.)
  3. Create or find a “book” to put your list. (I found a book that was just the right size with fun artsy accessories already in place at Hobby Lobby. Check out your favorite craft store for options that require what ever level of craft talent you have or don’t have to complete your book.)
  4. Find photos or graphics you’d like to accompany your list and make it personal.
  5. Glue your items in place.
  6. Give the gift that will be a one of a kind treasured gift.

Although this is a bit of a different blog post, I thought perhaps someone you know might the encouragement and love that a gift like this can bring.

Yesterday would have been my dad’s 86th birthday. Though I hoped each year I could add new memories to the list, it’s not to be. I now cherish the book memories that encouraged my dad and I’m blessed that I shared the list with my dad while I still had the chance.

What do you think of my idea? What unique ideas have you given as a home-made gift that didn’t require in-depth crafting skills? I’d love to hear from you!

Dad and MeAnd, in honor of my dad’s birthday, in case you missed these, here are a few other posts inspired by the incredible impact my dad has had on me:

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