milyA Memorable Christmas Gift

Are you struggling for a gift idea for your parents or grandparents or brothers and sisters? My brother, sister and I collaborated on this book last year for our parents. My mother takes it everywhere with her and even reads it to my dad on road trips. When I was back at my sister’s wedding I photographed a few pages of it (sorry the photo quality isn’t that great)… mom showed me the tear drops she had left on the pages.
All three of us wrote a letter to my parents about how much we appreciated them and with it included a few pages of our most vivid memories of children. It was so amazing reading each other’s memories as well. Some were good, some bad and most hilarious. We each ended up with about 10 full pages of memories….the book is about 50 pages.
I printed the pages out on cardstock and added in photos here and there. The front page was a photo of my parents on their wedding day and I covered it with a piece of vellum with a letter of introduction on it. I took the book to Kinko’s and had them spiral bind it and add a clear vinyl cover and sturdy back to it.
A Memorable Christmas Gift via
The memory portions were sometimes as stories and sometimes as lists. I even put some sad things in like when my grandmother died and my parents forgot to tell me until they asked me to get dressed for the funeral….long story.
A Memorable Christmas Gift 2 via
Memories of the restaurant we used to eat at a few times a week and how I used to trick my parents into thinking I was sick so I could stay with my grandmother and watch the Twilight Zone instead of going to church:
A Memorable Christmas Gift 3 via
My brother is hilarious and made his entire memory section resemble a computer accessing data from a hard drive:
A Memorable Christmas Gift 4 via
The last section of the book was a compilation of memories and photos from the last big family trip we took to Ireland/Scotland/England in 1997. My husband and I had just started dating and I wrote him between 2-3 postcards a day to keep myself sane….he kept them and I typed them all up with exactly what we did each day. I was really bratty at the time and we drove the entire perimeter of Ireland in a mini van so there were some funny stories.
A Memorable Christmas Gift 5 via
I think this book was even more special to my brother and sister and I because it became almost a mini-memoir of our childhood. It was nothing fancy and very simple.
Another idea for grandparents (and yourself) is a yearly compilation of a child’s artwork, photos and memories. I’ve made one the past two years and of course I’ll make one this year. I use the Mac iPhoto software but it you don’t have a Mac check out my other post and it has some other links to similar products.
Below are some excerpts from the 2008 book. I couldn’t post the whole thing because it was just too large a file. I hope it will give you some ideas for your own book. I included excerpts from my journals as a narrative.
I can’t believe how little she was just not long ago….she doesn’t even look like the same child! If you have trouble viewing the book click the link below:
Excerpts From Sienna 2008 Book







  1. Alli Cat Creations says

    This is one of the best things Ive ever seen. I usually do pictures but making a story book out of it is awesome………LOVE IT….

  2. ForeverYou says

    cried when I read the story book of your little girl!!! Mine did same things almost but I feel that I should of did the same to preserve the memories! Very touching and such a great idea. I see her reading this book over and over again when she is getting older….

  3. Disney says

    This is lovely! I love the pictures of your daughter and her dolly :o) She's so sweet!! That's something that she's going to really treasure when she gets older.

  4. Morgan says

    What an amazing gift you made. I hope my kids do something like that for me someday!

    The idea for putting the children's artwork into a book is a fantastic idea!!! I may just do something like that someday.

  5. ANGIE MILLAR says

    You are so super duper inspiring! A beautiful way to treasure the special moments. I am going to do both ideas, for my Mum and my children… Thank you very much from all the way in New Zealand…. (I love your blog!).

    Angie :-)

  6. mel says

    i keep a journal just like yours for both of my kids, who are 6 and 4. i've kept them since my oldest was a newborn. i never thought about giving them to a grandparent. i was just planning to make them into books for them someday, but i love your idea! and i know the grandparents would too!

    i also had a similar idea for the book you made for your parents, but for my grandparents. there are 15 of us grandkids and i thought it would be neat for each of us to write them a letter and compile them into a book, possibly with a few pics. didn't think i'd be able to get ahold of everyone to do it before, but now w/almost all of us on facebook, i think i might be able to make it work. probably not for this christmas, but i'm going to try for next. thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas! love your blog!

  7. piko0099 says

    Beautiful project. Thank you for sharing your special ideas and giving us inspirations. Your family are truly blessed with all your special treats!!

  8. Shelly K says

    Those are fabulous! We made my parents something similar a few years ago but we did for mother's day:
    When I think of mom….then we each filled in the blank, etc…
    it was really sentimental and she loved it. We typed it up and framed it, she has it hanging in her roomr by her side of the bed.
    I forget to tell you but I love Sienna's middle name. Is that your Grandmother?

  9. Ashley says

    Awesome, Ashley! I'm glad your husband was "the one". Think of all the memories that would be lost in those postcards. What a faithful writer you were!

  10. Wendy P says

    That is 100% Awesome. What a thoughtful and time-consuming gift you have made!

    Such a keepsake!

  11. the monkey's mama says

    SOOOO cool! i just forwarded your idea to my sister! I love it!

    PS also loved your take on the SYTYC! That is so creative and really a great way to think outside (err…inside!) the box (err…globe!)