From Concept to Product: The Story of a New Sentimental Family Gift

How do gift lines make their way from concept to products? Many times, the process is more like a journey and the final product ends up with a story all its own.

Creating “Letters from the Nest” was definately a journey and yes, a story…

In the 20 years that I have been creating gifts and sentiments, sometimes there is an idea that gets stuck in my head and my heart. It starts as a little seed of inspiration and it can take months or even years to reveal itself. So it was with my newest gift line, “Letters from the Nest”.

It started as a love for images of mother birds, babies and the nest. As a mother, I have always felt a bond with mama birds. From the tattered pages of one of my favorite beloved childrens books, “Are you my Mother?”, to watching a mother hummingbird lovingly build a nest outside our first home in California, I have felt human mommies and bird mommies understand each other. I certainly feathered my nest when I was expecting each of my 4 children. That burst of energy between the nauseous months and the “are we there yet?” months, that had me planning, painting, cleaning and readying my home to welcome each new baby.

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As my children have grown, when trying to “teach” instead of “do” for them, I would explain that I was the mother bird and my job was to help them fly. If they left my nest and plummeted to the ground because I hadn’t allowed, or taught them how to spread their wings, then I would not have done my job. They don’t always love my mama bird analogy, as I teach them by having them DO their own dishes, make their beds, clean their rooms, make their lunches and the list goes on…

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 Hang on baby bird!

I wanted to take my love for birds, home, nests and mothering and put it into a special gift with a message that would be used, appreciated and admired. I considered so many gift items… bracelets, vases, trinkets, pens, soaps…you name it. My list grew to fill a page. Of course when making a product, there is much more than the idea to consider, there is sourcing, pricing, marketing competition and much more.

I didn’t want to lose my message in the business end, but sometimes the best ideas sit on the shelf because of business, and my nest idea sat on the shelf for a couple of years, as I considered the ideal gift to go with my message.

I looked at the things I saved because they meant something. I looked at what my mother and my grandmother saved.

I save letters and pictures. I have a Valentines’ Day card from my grandmother who passed away when I was 7. I have birthday cards from friends in elementary school, letters from girlfriends secretly passed in high school, and adorable and hilarious handmade cards from my kids. My mother has these kind of things tucked away too. Do you?

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When I want to say something meaningful to someone, I send a card or a letter. I think in today’s fast-paced email, text and tweet world, a letter speaks volumes. Don’t you get a little thrill when you see a hand addressed envelope amongst the pile of ads, bills and endless credit card offers?

So I had a nest for home, and a letter for heart…now what?

Well… you write letters and you open letters., so the idea of a beautiful pen or letter opener came to mind. I discarded the idea of a pen because eventually the ink would run out and the pen would be set aside or thrown out. The idea of a letter opener was intriquing. A letter opener is something my grandma had on her desk as long as I could remember. I love letter openers because they are a bit old school (it’s that modern world thing again) and they are lasting.

I think letter openers bring us back a bit…in a good way. Do you have a letter opener? Is there a letter opener of a family member that brings back memories? 

For me, it all fit- the nest, the heart and now something to keep in the home. I penned some sentiments for occasions and people that were centered around the nest, and I scribbled my letter opener designs on pieces of scrap paper. I wanted the image to be of birds, a nest and love. Here is what I envisioned.

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and here is where I arrived with the help of a talented artist!

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Now on to the artwork, packaging and presentation. Again with the help of my talented artist, I was thrilled with the marriage of all the elements I was looking for- combining a feeling for nature, vintage, love and beauty. Sometimes in product development, the final product doesn’t match your vision. Finding an artist who understands what you are trying to create is one of the keys to success, as well as good communication and visuals from me. I also think the story helps. Knowing the why, the journey and the story behind a product helps it come to life for someone trying to understand my vision.

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I hope the letter openers find their place in homes, on desks and in offices, where they are used and admired. I hope the sentiment stays with them each time they use it. I hope that mother’s, daughters, grandmas, and couples smile when they think of their “nest” because isn’t our”home”…where are heart is?

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To see all the Letters from the Nest designs, visit www.grandparentgiftco.com.

A Unique Gender Reveal Gift

There are so many unique gender reveal gifts and ideas that have been created in the last 5 years to reveal baby’s gender. Adorable and creative gender reveal themes, games, center-filled cakes, party favors, facebook posts… you name it. Just visit Pinterest and you will witness all kind of wonderful ways to announce baby’s gender.

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Our ultrasound gifts here at The Grandparent Gift Co have always been a customer go-to for announcing baby on the way, that we we wanted to enter the gender reveal party too!

I have always loved birds and bird nests and all they represent about motherhood and family. One of my favorite childhood stories is “Are you my Mother?”. I am always telling my kids that I am the Mama Bird and they are my baby birds. It is my job to teach them to how to fly. And one day, when they leave my nest, (coming much sooner than I ever imagined) I will only know if I did my job, when they take flight. Leaving the nest and falling straight to the ground would not be a sound testiment to my parenting!

So I thought the nest was a perfect place to start to create our new gender reveal frame, The Best of Us. The Best of Us, a sweet way to acknowledge both Mommy and Daddy, is the sentiment for our new gift. An adorable nest is featured on the artwork, which comes with a single brown egg sitting sweetly inside. One the back of the frame you will find a little instruction card with 2 pink and 2 blue eggs.

When you are ready to reveal baby’s gender, use the tape provided and place the colored egg of your choice over the brown egg. The frame also has enough eggs to be perfect for a twin reveal. The frame holds baby’s ultrasound photo and later, baby’s photo.

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Have fun using this frame at a themeed gender reveal party or as a fun way to tell a spouse or grandparents whether your life will soon be filled with pink or blue.

Have you been to a gender reveal party? What is your favorite gift or idea?

Gifts for Grandpa for Father’s Day

Thank you to Nanahood.com for sharing our recommendations for gifts for Grandpa for Father’s Day. Check out her blog where Teresa dishes about the second half of the Motherhood journey!

Here are a few highlights…

Finding thoughtful gifts for grandpas, granddads, papas and pops, or whatever their name of endearment, can be a shopping challenge. Grandpa may be a softie, a jokester, a fixer or a storyteller, but he probably loves a thoughtful, personal gift from the grandkids on Father’s Day. (that’s what happens when you get older!)

To ease your search, I have compiled The Grandparent Gift Co.’s top 5 thoughtful gifts grandpas for Father’s Day.

There is a little something for the different types of grandpas, but each combine poignant words from the heart with a beautiful gift he will brag about…. READ MORE HERE

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To shop more thoughtful gift ideas for Grandpa for Father’s Day, visit our Father’s Day Gift page fore more ideas!

Enter our Father’s Day Contest too! Click Here

Father’s Day Card Idea: Easy and Meaningful!

I don’t know about you, but my husband isn’t a very good saver. I don’t mean saving money, but saving sentimental things like many moms. ..sweet letters and drawings from the kids, hilarious notes, those “things.”

So when my kids were little and I wanted a meaningful but easy Father’s Day card idea I could give from the kids. I came up with an idea we have used every year since.

Father's Day Card Idea | Grandparent Gift Co

Father’s Day Card Idea

I call it a Father’s Day card journal and it is so simple yet perfect every single Father’s Day. Instead of buying or making him cards, they write their Father’s day greeting in the journal. (excuse the smears, but I said we have been using this for years!)

Each child gets a page and puts their name and year on it. They then can draw or write whatever message they like on that years page.

Why this Works

1. Everything is in one place.

No lost cards, no pile of stuff, no box of things to organize. Buy a blank journal, best to purchase one with ample pages. Make sure the paper is a nice thick  quality so when the kids choose Sharpies one year, everything doesn’t bleed through. I like the ones with spiral binding because it lies flat for easy writing.

I think I may have gotten the one I used in the art/drawing section of Micheal’s years ago. I had some vinyl letters put on the front, but this creative part I leave to you and your kid’s imaginations.

Father's Day Card Idea | Grandparent Gift Co

2. Watching the kids grow

Each year you not only get to enjoy the present, but relive and enjoy the past. Everyone loves to look at their younger selves. Good for a few family laughs and a few pulled heartstrings. After Father’s Day, I tuck the journal away IN THE SAME PLACE, so I can easily find it next year.

Father's Day Card Idea | Grandparent Gift Co

3. A Future Keepsake

When the kids are grown and gone, Dad will have an irreplaceable treasured keepsake from the kids all bound in one nice album, albeit a few tears and smears over the years. (but that will be part of the charm and memories too!)

Do you have a great card or gift idea for Father’s Day?

For other great gifts visit us at www.grandparentgiftcompany.com

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5 Mother’s Day Gifts for Grandma by Personality!

What type of Grandma are you shopping for?

Is she young and hip? Doesn’t like to be called Grandma?

Does she love tradition? Is she sentimental?

Is she all about the baby? Is she a  spoiler?

Check out these FUN Mother’s Day Gifts for Grandma from the Grandparent Gift Co. to make your Mother’s Day shopping fit her like a great pair of shoes!

The Sentimentalist

Does she cry at the drop of a hat? Does she use words like darlin, honey, and adorable? Does she wear her heart on her sleeve? Then Grandma’s Heart will have her right where you want her. Wrap this gift with a tissue, because she will need it. Available in different frames and cards, choose one that suits her style. You can even get it personalized if she goes by another Grandma name.

Grandma's Heart

The Young and Restless

Did she have a hard time seeing herself as a Grandma? Did she choose a name other than Grandma? Is she Mimi, Gigi or Glamma? Is she at the gym, working out or traveling? Then our fun line of grandparent plaques will suit her perfectly. Choose from a sign for her beach or lake house or her home. Light-hearted and fun, these plaques will make her smile.

Nana Home: The Grandparent Gift co.

 

The Story Teller

Does she often say, “when I was a little girl” or “back in my day”? Does she like heirlooms, old family photos, antiques and nostalgia? Make sure she is writing down her memories and stories in our Grandparent’s Memory Book. She may also love one of our Generations frames designs for her treasured family photos or the Grandma Life Story frame that tells her story in photographs.

The Grandparents Memory Book: The Grandparent Gift Co.

The Spoiler

At her house, the answer is Yes! We have a sign for that! It can be personalized with her name too. Check out our beautiful candy dish too. Comes with our trademark Orange Slices, but she can fill with her spoilin’ treat of choice.

The Orange Slice: The Grandparent Gift Co.

The Newbie

Is she totally over the moon? Does she start most sentence with “the baby”? Is she obsessed with baby clothes, baby toys, baby, baby, baby! Has she outfitted her house for baby? If baby isn’t here yet, she will love our ultrasound frames or first grandchild frame. If baby is a new arrival, a little hand, foot or thumbprint or a brag book or bragging rights sign will fit her like a glove.

The First Grandson

What personality is the grandma you are thinking of this Mother’s Day?

Visit www.grandparentgiftcompany.com to purchase your Mother’s Day Gift. On the front page of our site or blog you, can sign up for our newsletter for a coupon code to use today.

The First Born Child: A Happy Birthday Message

I am compelled to write today because it is my “Birth Day.” No it’s not my birthday. It is my first born child’s birthday, but 16 years ago today, he entered the world and made me a mother and my world… my heart …they changed forever.

Really. Forever.

The First Born Child. Orange Slice: The Grandparent Gift Co.

 

I never want to take anything away from any of my four children. They are all truly deeply loved- each one of them as much as the first and their birthdays are memorable. I often write about the heart’s amazing ability to grow.

Your heart may actually be the only thing your kids don’t have to share. Sure, they share your time, your energy, your money, but not your heart.

Having said that, there is something that comes with the first baby that can only belong to the first.

They were the life changer.

And whether it be a first kiss, a first car or a first kid- you always hold a candle for the first. And with the first, came all those other firsts. The first time to hold your own, to dress, to feed, to bath. You are totally responsible and totally in love. Scared, excited, overwhelmed, exhausted and elated.

Each year on his birthday I get a little melancholy and introspective. I reflect on my years as a mother.

First Born Child. Orange Slice: Grandparent Gift Co

Gosh darn after sixteen years, you’d think I would have this thing down! But each year reminds me I have much more to learn. Their wants, needs and desires are still moving targets, and my mothering skills are being stretched and challenged every day.

The years have flown and sometimes what I wouldn’t give to hold my little boy and hear his little voice just ONE more time.  (I KNOW there is money in bottling little boys.)

I have a birthday tradition I started years ago. I hang a sign and balloon on each child’s door the night before their birthday. They awake birthday morning to a “Happy Birthday” and occasionally a crepe paper filled room.

First Born Child. Orange Slice: The Grandparent Gift Co.

This year it is going on 11 pm on a school night and I can’t wait up any longer for that little boy to go to bed. I can’t wade through the dirty clothes, school books, lacrosse gear and such to hang the crepe paper, so I am going to tape his sign and balloon and call it a night.

Tomorrow I will wake up and remember that amazing day 16 years ago and give him a big hug. He may be 16, but he’ll always be my baby.

Happy Birthday Corey-
Love Mom

www.grandparentgiftco.com- The First Child Frame

The First Born Child. The Orange Slice: The Grandparent Gift Co.

The First Born Child

Check out our site, where you will find our Children Series prints for the First Born Child, Second, Third and Youngest. You will also find the First Grandchild and Great-Grandchild too.

What are your thoughts on your firstborn child or grandchild? How do you feel on their birthday?

How to Hold a Grandma Shower: The Sprinkle

Why sprinkle? What’s a sprinkle?

My sentiments exactly.

I am very familiar with Grandma showers and have written about them in the past. There are many opinions about Grandma’s showers. Are they fun celebratory events or over the top,” it’s not about the grandma” celebrations? Regardless of the camp you fall into, I think both will agree, a Grandma “sprinkle”, if done following the guidelines below, can be a wonderful way to welcome in the second half of motherhood.

Before the guidelines, a little thought regarding the word sprinkle as opposed to shower. A shower has always been for babies and brides and so it should be. A sprinkle, is a cute little word. When I think “sprinkle”, I see adorable cupcakes and tiny droplets of water freshening a flower petal on an early spring day. I didn’t coin the phrase and I am not sure who did, but I like it.

Guidelines for a Successful Grandma Shower

It’s not a Shower

I think this one is clear. The shower is for the mom-to-be. The most negative comments I have read on Grandma Showers are from the moms-to-be. Many feel the expectant Grandma has had her time and it isn’t about her. I think this opinion says more about the quality of the relationship or lack of, more than anything. When there is a great relationship between the expectant mom and expectant grandma, a lot of this “stuff” never surfaces. With my Mom, her second half of motherhood has been 25 years of diapering, babysitting, cooking, hosting, gifting and more! A little sprinkle would be well deserved. As seriously and as lovingly as she took motherhood, she has also taken “grandmahood”. I know there are LOTS of these kinds of Grandmas out there!

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

The Hostess is a Friend or Coworker

The expectant mom should never be expected to host a grandma shower or sprinkle. The sprinkle should be hosted by one of the new grandma’s friends or co-workers. (couples can sprinkle too!) Ideally your celebrations should not include the expectant mom, unless you know her well enough to think she might like to be included. We all know it is better safe than sorry to ask the opinion of the pregnant mommy. If you have been one- you know! Grandma sprinkles are easy to do when the grandma and mommy do not live too close to one another. There is no overlapping of guests and the emotions are a little further apart. If you are in a tight knit community, you will have to ponder on this one.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Fun

A Grandma sprinkle can be held at a home, restaurant or workplace. I see it as a get-together of friends to celebrate a new stage in life. It can be as simple as a dinner and toast after work or something with a bit more planning, such as a weekend afternoon luncheon. Decorations, if any, should be simple and gifts not extravagant. Read on for some great ideas on gifts with meaning.

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

Yes to Gifts, No to a Registry!

No registry needed! If the new Grandma is going to be watching her new grandbaby, baby gear would be a great gift. Whether it is a safe, in good condition, hand-me-down stroller or perhaps a joint gift from all, baby gear is always welcome. For long-distance grandmas-to-be, a camera or travel gift card would also be wonderful group gifts. If Grandma is an avid-anything…ie  runner, gardener, baker, reader, golfer etc…, I think having themed gifts would be fun. In the coming years, she can share her passion with her grandbaby, so how about a few of these ideas:

Reader: A book theme. Bring a classic children’s book, so she can build a library to share. Books are always great gifts and can be new or gently used.

Gardener: Children’s gardening tools, seed packets, bright pots, adorable boots or apron would outfit a little helper perfectly.

Golfer: a little set of gold clubs, balls, child-size putting green or cup, toddler golf clothing.

You have the idea- take her passion and help her pass it on to a new generation.

Sprinkle it with Meaning

One or two thoughtful activities would make the celebration memorable for the expectant grandma.  Compiling an advice or quote book where friends and guests pen their favorite life or grandparent quote, or add tidbit of advice, would be a keeper.

Since much has changed in the world of babies, compiling a “quiz” on the latest baby trends and advice would see if she is ready for her new role. It would probably provide some laughs and memories too.

If she hasn’t chosen a “Grandma” name, which seems to be a growing trend, maybe a little help from her friends would be fun. A sweet little new Grandma name book would also give her all kinds of names to consider.

Perhaps Grandma would like a memory book she can fill out or a brag book or grandchild journal. (that is if you think she is apt to brag in the future. 🙂  A sweet Life Story frame with photos of her journey to “grandmahood” or a special First Grandchild themed gift would be sentimental as well.

How to Hold a Grandma Shower | The Orange Slice

If you have involved the expectant parents in any way and they are all on board with the event, a special message or card written from them would require tissue be on hand.

 

What do you think about a Grandma Sprinkle? Have you hosted or been to one? How did you celebrate becoming a grandma with friends or co-workers? What was your favorite gift or activity?

 

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6 Bridal Keepsake Gift Ideas She’ll Love You For

She has been planning for months or perhaps years for her big day. Showers, parties, appointments, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. but mostly memorable.

I love ideas that take these memories and make them part of the present. I see the beautiful photos of bride and groom hanging in the home, or the dress beautifully preserved and boxed, perhaps to be handed down one day. Then there is the silver dish from your grandmother lovingly displayed in your china cabinet, and the personalized quilt from a dear friend draped over the chair in the bedroom.

With those visions dancing in my head, here are a few of my favorite bridal keepsake ideas for the bride-to-be.

6 Bridal Keepsake Ideas | Grandparent Gift Comany

Bridal Keepsake Ideas

Their Little Girl

When I got married my parents gave me something I had always loved as a little girl, a doll house. I never had my own, but was smitten with the one in my Grandma’s basement. It was a bittersweet gift in a way. On one hand it was a celebration of the little girl still inside me, and on the other it was a farewell to being their little girl. I couldn’t help but cry.

Is there something that defined who she was as a little girl you could give her? Perhaps a new pair of roller skates, a doll she coveted, a quilt stitched with fabrics from favorite outfits, a framed jersey or dance outfit or childhood books she read and cherished?

If you are reading this as a new parent, perhaps you want to start something now! No it isn’t silly, it will be awesome in twenty-something years. I love the story I read recently about the father who had all his daughter’s teachers over the years sign inside the same book to her, Dr. Suess’, “Oh the places we will go!”.

6 Bridal Keepsake Ideas | Grandparent Gift Company

 

Irreplaceable.

Something Old

This would also be a time to give something “old”. I have my earrings from my wedding day tucked away for my daughter, and my purse hidden in the closet for her as well. I have a few more years(!) to think about what I would do, but if she wasn’t interested in wearing them, they would be beautiful made into a pin or added to a bouquet or hair clip. For Dads, if they have cufflinks or a tie tack, they could also be added to the wedding day by pinning to a garter or ring bearer pillow.

Of course, a wedding is also the perfect time to pass on precious personal or family heirlooms such as wedding rings, art or personal effects.

6 Bridal Keepsake Ideas | Grandparent Gift Company

Cherished.

Kiss the Bride

Bridesmaids, your closet friends and family will be with you all the way. ..from showers, to bachelorette parties, tastings, fittings, rehearsals and of course the big day. Kiss the bride is a fun way to capture the love. These adorable frames were my way of giving brides an easy-to-do keepsake for their closest girls. Add kisses , signatures or messages and photos to make a frame you’ll always love.

6 Bridal Keepsake Ideas | Grandparent Gift Company

Loved.

Signatures

I have always loved signatures. A signature is like a fingerprint, a unique identifier that embodies a person.

Recently I went on a girls trip with my college roommates. Each girl (I say girl very affectionately)  mailed me deposit money on our Miami digs and I knew instantly who each letter was from by reading only the address line. Their handwriting was like seeing a treasured photograph. It told me who they were, even after all the years! I loved it and I saved them! Ok, enough on that but the idea is have your bridal party sign anything! I have seen photo frames, bottom of the brides shoes, chairs or other furniture, clothing or books. Selecting something meaningful for loved ones to sign will always speak volumes and evoke great memories.

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Remembered.

The Vows

Take the wedding vows and make them present in married life. The road will not always be easy and a refresher will be required, so displaying them in the home is a lovely idea. They can be framed handwritten vows or perhaps they can be professionally printed on canvas or on pillows for the bedroom or living room. They can be added to a wedding album or a favorite line can be made into a wall decal and displayed in the home.

 

Treasured.

Advice

If you don’t like advice from your parents, friends or relatives- skip to the end:) However, if you have been blessed to know couples who have had a long marriage, then I think it is worth an ear. A cute little advice book at the wedding to be filled out, or paper and pencil in the center of the table for guests to pen their advice would be fun. (possibly censored later!)  If you are the creator of the gift, how about interviewing those married couples and putting their advice and experience in a book, journal or frame for the bride. If you are doing a video, those clips or words of wisdom might make for great material as well.

Priceless.

 

What are your favorite bridal keepsake ideas? What is your most treasured wedding keepsake? What have you given that was that “perfect” gift.

 

www.grandparentgiftcompany.com

6 Ways to Make Baby’s First Christmas Last

Ah, the joys of Christmas! The twinkling lights, the perfectly placed stockings, Uncle Bob’s bad jokes, the mistletoe and magic. The holidays are a busy, yet simple time in our lives when we stop to reflect on those who matter most. When there is a new baby in the house, we are even more in touch with the true meaning of Christmas.

Here are 6 ideas to make the meaning and memories last a lifetime.

1. Say CHEESE! If ever there is a time to spend a few extra dollars on Photography and Christmas cards, it is now. Let’s agree on this subject: there is nothing cuter (and I mean nothing) than a baby in a stocking! A close second is baby in a Santa outfit, oh, but baby in Santa’s arms is adorable too, and baby under the mistletoe…you get the drift! Roll out the red Christmas carpet for your little one and announce to the world: It’s “Baby’s First Christmas!” I remember one (or two) doting grandmas who told me I would never forget my children’s first Christmases, and I must say, I have not…and I have the PICTURES to prove it.

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2. Trim the tree with Ultrasound Ornaments for years to come. An original Grandparent Gift Co. idea, our customers have enjoyed our ultrasound frames and keepsakes for over a decade. Hang the priceless snapshot of your holiday angel on the tree each year and always remember the moment when you saw baby for the very first time. Grandparent Gift Co. Ultrasound Ornaments come in a variety of shapes and sizes and make the perfect gift at the holidays or anytime of year.

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3. Deck the Halls! While baby can’t quite  make it to the naughty list with dirty diaper and late night cries, it is hard for Santa to know just what to give baby for Christmas. My son was just 3 months old on his first Christmas, so I took the opportunity to give him items he could cherish for many holidays to come. First of all, a stocking. I searched far and wide for the perfect stocking as I knew it would be hung by the chimney with care for decades to come.

In my pursuit for the perfect stocking, I found a Christmas quilt to match with somersaulting Santas and embroidered with his name, my son loves to dig in the holiday boxes each year until he can get his hands on his own special quilt. Now at age 11, he still enjoys snuggling up with it, a tradition that will certainly be passed on to his own family one day.

For his first Christmas, I also purchased a personalized “Cookies for Santa” plate and daily nativity wall calendar, both of which are still family favorites year after year. Before baby grows up and starts making long wish lists for Santa, take the opportunity to invest in items that will become part of your unique holiday family traditions.

Starting a holiday collection for baby or family, is also a wonderful First Christmas purchase. I buy a new Christmas book each year, and now have a collection we love to sit down and read each and every year. Two of my children have collections, one of snow globes and another of nutcrackers..something special like this would be perfect to start to commemorate their first Christmas.

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4. One of the best ways to preserve baby’s first Christmas is to stop the hands of time. While it is, of course, impossible to stop the clock, a handprint ornament from the Grandparent Gift Co. is a timeless edition to your holiday keepsakes.

The “Child’s First Christmas” ornament and “Grandchild’s First Christmas” ornament are Grandparent Gift Co. exclusives, each featuring 3.5×5 antique gold frame, gold stamp pad, green grosgrain ribbon, instructions, plus unforgettable keepsake poem written on the back. Parents, grandparents and your growing child alike will adore trimming the tree with this first Christmas handprint ornament year-after-year. My son loves to compare his hand-size each December as he hangs his first handprint on the tree. What an incredible reminder of how fast they grow!

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Other baby keepsakes can also be added to the tree as ornaments, such as a tiny baby shoe, crocheted bootie, engraved silver spoon or hospital bracelet tucked inside a glass ornament.

5. Fa! La! La! Fun! The first Christmas is your opportunity to begin building traditions you only wish your own parents could have thought of. In the age of digital media, the possibilities are endless as you create your own unique holiday story. Some unique fa-la-la FUN ideas are:

1) take a photo of your child every year in front of a wipe-off board or chalkboard that lists why he/she has been naughty or nice this year (the first few Christmases, mom or dad will need to write, but can you imagine how humorous these will become as time goes on!)

2) starting with baby’s first Christmas, (you know, when you spent a little extra money on photography and Christmas cards?…Just making sure you were paying attention at the beginning of the blog), start a coffee table book of yearly Christmas cards and professional family photos. It may look empty for the first year or two, but soon you will be amazed at just how many “Christmas cards you write”!

3) In an effort to take the handwork out of creating her own Christmas timeline, Grandparent Gift Co. founder, Teri Harrison, made it easy for all of us to celebrate the holidays through pictures! The Holiday Family Timeline creates a visual story of your family’s growth over the years and preserves the magic of the holiday season through pictures. It holds ten 4×6 horizontal photos and has a space on the back for inscribing your favorite memories. Save it for yourself, give it as a gift…or both!

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6. Lastly, may you find a place of peace this Christmas. While the demands of parenting and grand-parenting  can be exhausting, be sure to take time out of the hustle and bustle to just snuggle with your little bundle of joy, for isn’t that what the FIRST CHRISTMAS is all about?

A Happy 99th Unique Birthday Gift Idea

Coming up with an original, thoughtful and meaningful gift for grandparents can be challenging, but it is certainly a worthy endeavor!

My grandmother recently celebrated her 99th birthday and amazing milestones like these require some extra time and energy to come up with a gift to fit the occasion.

Perfume, food, stationery and flowers aside, I always debate the merit of each gift I choose. I know my Grandma well enough to know she always appreciates something you make.

She has been a “maker” throughout her life – quilting, baking, and crafting over the years. Her children, grandchildren and many great-greats have been the beneficiaries of her talents, from delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies, to wedding quilts, to rainy day paper dolls, to annual handmade Christmas ornaments to name a few.

I also know my Grandma appreciates friends and family. She lives in a senior community and I believe she has bragging rights as the oldest resident. All the residents have wreaths on their doors and little ledges where they display seasonal decorations. Each door is unique and conveys a little about the person who lives there. With all this in mind, here is what I came up with!

This is my Grandma’s 99th birthday photo wreath. Handmade by me (and a bit of Michael’s!).

I purchased the burlap wreath wrapped with the bow and added the artificial greens and flowers for color. I used quick grip to glue them in place. If you have never tried this stuff, I love it!

I printed out some of the classic photos from her life and mounted them on colored paper stock, which were cut in circles. I glued the mounted photos in a circle around the outside of the wreath.

I then printed her name and birthday on paper and inserted it into a small gold frame. I then glued the frame to the top of the wreath. I finished it all by adding some cute button accents for a little more pizzazz!

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She loved the wreath because it was handmade, personal and a great conversation piece for all that stopped to visit or even passed by her door. It acted as a fun happy birthday sign she can leave up and enjoy for as long as she likes!

Now, what about that 100th……thinkin, thinkin….