Are you trying to come up with a gift idea for your husband or wife that is truly special? Something that says: you are so incredible that you deserve this one-of-a-kind gift, something that’s been created just for you! As a spouse, you are in the unique position of being the one who can take one of your spouse’s precious memories and make it come to life!
There are two major steps to accomplishing this feat. First, pick the memory. Second, choose a creative way to package it so it can be displayed.
STEP 1 – Select a memory to present as a gift to your spouse
To generate some ideas about what memory may be gift-worthy, ask yourself these questions:
- What crazy item does my spouse refuse to get rid of – no matter how vigorously I roll my eyes during explanations about the merits of keeping it?
- What treasure does my spouse have stuffed in a drawer or packed in a forgotten attic box?
- What childhood/high school/college/ event does my spouse speak about fondly?
- What family member, friend, or pet does my spouse miss?
- What place did my spouse enjoy going to?
If you’re memory-gift consists of a single precious item, you’re ready for Step 2. If, however, your memory is an event, place, or loved one, you have a little gathering to do. If your spouse has some mementos collected, you’re off and running. Let me give you an example. My husband had been on his high school’s President’s Physical Fitness Team and on their second trip to compete in the finals in Washington, D.C., they took first place in the nation. Having trained rigorously with his teammates for three years, he had formed some special friendships and memories – including a parade given in his hometown in honor of the team. A corresponding scrapbook had been stowed away with his medals for years. I mean, where do you put such things 20 years after the fact? Yet they were too special to just discard, and running across them every once in a while made him smile. Always up for finding ways to keep that smile going, I pilfered the scrapbook* for some of the yellowed newspaper articles, found some team photos, added the medals to the mix and arranged them all in a shadowbox I had purchased at a hobby store. It did, indeed, put a huge smile on his face when he opened his gift, and it looks quite nice hanging in his computer room. Not to mention the satisfaction I received from presenting him with something that he was finally unable to guess prior to opening!
Photos will work for all the categories that aren’t a particular item. You might want to check with your spouse’s friends or family members who might have pictures of the event that they can contribute or copy for your project. Memorabilia and souvenirs are great additions to recreate the memory of events and places. But don’t despair if such items were not thoughtfully retained by your spouse for your use here. There are many ways to put together a meaningful collection or supplement any existing picture and memorabilia. Here’s some suggestions:
For an event: Check out the internet for pictures of where it took place, quotes that can be printed out that compliment the experience (childhood, friendship, adventure, etc.), and pictures of tickets, programs, articles, or write-ups regarding the event. You might find trinkets that correlate at a craft or hobby store – things like a miniature representation of the school mascot or a miniature rocking chair. Most craft stores have a whole section dedicated to miniatures-almost-anything-you-can-think-of!
For a place: In addition to the event suggestions, look for things like postcards, travel brochures, maps, drink or food recipe cards, and pictures or small objects that represent the culture.
For a missed loved one: A picture of a meaningful place or shared interest, lyrics to a song, a poem or quote about the type of relationship, an object that belonged to the person or pet, a miniature object which represents an activity they did together (tennis rackets, movie popcorn container, playing cards, paintbrush) or an interest they shared (ballet shoes, gardening gloves, workshop tools, etc.).
Step 2 – Pick the packaging
You want to package your memory-gift in a way that it can be easily displayed on a wall, shelf, or furniture surface.
Framing works best for flat items such as:
- T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other small/moderate-sized clothing items
- Record albums (remember those?)
- Magazine covers, newspaper articles, comic books, brochures
Shadowboxes work best for items that are small or combinations of flat and non-flat collections such as:
- Travel memorabilia
- Religious items (prayer books, rosaries, beads, medals, etc.)
- Thicker clothing
- Pet items
- Gifted objects
- Miniature objects representing interests
Cubes, plastic boxes, glass or plastic display containers come in a variety of sizes and shapes and work for larger items such as:
- Sports balls and memorabilia
- Lucky shoes/Boots that will never be worn again
- Childhood toy
If you want to put things together yourself, you can find the memory-holders in hobby stores, big box stores, and sometimes furniture stores. There are also plenty of professionals at framing shops and the framing departments in hobby/craft stores that can help.
You are in the unique position of being the only one who has access to both your spouse’s memories AND the drawers and dusty basement boxes they keep the reminders in. The combination is a heady best-gift-ever-waiting-to-happen. And only YOU can be the one that makes sure it does! Giving your spouse the gift of a fond memory made tangible will have him or her smiling long after the holiday is over!
*Pilfering scrapbooks is NOT recommended if they were put together with loving care by your spouse!