50 Years

In my last post about our family reunion, I mentioned that we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday one night. In addition to our adults-only dinner, we gave her a special gift that I’d been working on for weeks.

About a year ago, I ran across this post from Nothing But Bonfires, where she and her siblings put together 60 Years of Memories for their dad’s 60th birthday. They contacted everyone they could think of — family and friends from past and present, and had them all write letters to their dad, sharing their favorite memory of him.

I pinned the idea back when she blogged about it, and then a few months ago, I realized my mom’s 50th birthday was this year. This was perfect. I immediately contacted my dad and my siblings, asking for their help, and then we slowly began compiling a list of people and their email addresses or phone numbers.

About a month before the reunion, I sent out an email to everyone on the list asking them to send a letter with their favorite memory of my mom. My email was similar to Holly’s, which you can see here. It took a few follow up emails and a few facebook messages to find correct email addresses, and several times I was sure we wouldn’t make it, but about three days before the reunion, we had finally received all fifty letters! Whew.

I divided the letters into two stacks, packaged them in pretty square stationary, and tied them up with some striped yarn. I then wrapped them in a box with another card that said “start here” and gave an explanation of the gift.

After we got home from dinner, we all sat around in the living room and presented the gift to my mom. Since her birthday was not for another three weeks, she was completely surprised. 

Then we all went around in a circle and took turns reading the letters aloud to her. Some were long, some were short, some were sweet and touching, others were hilarious. It took us about an hour to read all fifty, and it seemed to be the perfect amount.

It ended up being the perfect way to celebrate fifty years of the most amazing mother and woman, especially because the entire family was there to celebrate together.

Happy 50 years, Mom! We love you!



  1. Ash says:

    I love this idea! So sweet!

  2. Lins says:

    I love this idea! Very sweet – possibly a great anniversary gift as well.


  3. Kim says:

    Oh my gosh, what an awesome idea for a birthday gift! I wish that I had somehow known of this a year ago for my dad's 50th! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Em;) says:

    That is so sweet:) I will have to remember this one!

  5. Rachel says:

    That is so sweet. I'll have to remember this for my mom's 50th next year!

  6. Brittany says:

    I totally repinned that from you, love the idea. My mom turns 50 this year, too; maybe I'll try to make this happen!

  7. DaNelle says:

    OH my gosh, I really want to do this for my Dad!

    DaNelle recently posted…Why I changed my mind about Homeschooling

  8. Saskia says:

    When my mom turned sixty last year we did something similar, pasting all the replies and our own stories about her into a big book. She had been really sick that year so it was an especially nice reminder of how many people love her.

  9. Olivia says:

    I would have loved to have written her a letter. I have so many fond memories of your mom from when I was younger. Also I have great memories of when she was my seminary teacher. What a fun way to celebrate. I'm sure your mom loved it.

  10. Packrat says:

    Happy Birthday, Carole. You raised some very thoughtful children. 🙂

  11. SK says:

    What a sweet idea! I absolutely love it.

    *Enter my giveaway!!!!*

  12. Miriam says:

    You read them all out loud? (I just had to go back into Word and reread what I'd written….!) I would have enjoyed being a mouse in someone's pocket and be able to listen in on all of those. Good job, girls!

  13. newpetite says:

    That is such a sweet idea! I loved it and im sure your mom loved it too!

  14. Kelly says:

    What an amazing idea!! Love it 🙂

  15. Seems like such an awesome gift!

  16. kaila sue says:

    I love this idea! So thoughtful of you!

  17. Cynd says:

    What a great gift! thanks for the idea, my mother in law turns 50 next year and this is something she would love!

  18. This is a wonderful idea.

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