Monday, April 19, 2010

Giving Gifts that Tell Stories

Mother's Day is still a few weeks away. This year, it's May 9th. At least, it is here in the US. The UK's Mothering Sunday or Mum's Day happened on March 14. So, depending on where you live, you might have a few weeks still to pull it together.

I have the BEST intentions of paying proper tribute to the important women in my life, but life usually has a way of marching forward with me always racing to keep up! I thought I'd share a couple of meaningful gift ideas that are sure to be remembered and talked about for years (and years)! Be sure to leave a comment with your own favorite gift idea as a way to inspire other readers or maybe just get the creative juices flowing!

The first gift idea is one that I received from my deceased mother. Mom died in 2003. She had been sick for years, but all of us planned on having her around until she was an old lady! She didn't have time to wrap up loose ends or make final arrangements for who got her earthly possessions. Unfortunately, many of her cherished pieces of jewelry were given away to strangers... there's a HUGE, juicy story there, but I'll try not to deviate from the story at hand. My sister was the hero who got her hands on this bracelet and gave it to me as a way to remember Mom.

It's a simple idea. Just take a silver charm bracelet and add charms that 'tell your story.' Mom spent years deciding which charms were 'worthy' of her bracelet. It's an easy story to read. She LOVED gardening, and more importantly, the garden LOVED her as was evident by the bushels and bushels of food that she shared with the neighbors throughout the years. (For some reason, I didn't inherit the green thumb, unless you count growing weeds!) The hummingbird was her favorite of the feathered variety and she always kept a feeder at the kitchen window for her viewing enjoyment as she worked at the sink. Mom was a big fan of saving money. When I saw the silver piggy bank, complete with little coin, I knew that she was coming back from the grave to remind me to be more careful with my money. As kids, we ate TVP (most people wont even know what that is) and drank powder milk to save money. We didn't appreciate the stories that Mom told of the Great Depression. We would roll our eyes and ask her how could she remember considering that she was an infant. She told the stories anyways and always ended with sayings like "a penny saved is a penny earned," "a fool and his money will soon part" and "the best things in life are free."

As you work your way down the bracelet, each charm tells a precious portion of my mother's story that she wanted remembered.

Several years ago, I was introduced to a darling story called Nana's Charm Bracelet. This Grandma loved each of her grandchildren and wanted them to always be with her. She created a bracelet featuring a silver silhouette of each grandchild. She distinguished each charm by engraving the child's name and birth date on it. The story was told through the eyes of one of the grandchildren. The author remembered how much she loved to sit next to Nana and find her special memory among all of her cousins. It was easy to recreate my own bracelet. Mine is a little sparse, but with time I'll be able to add charms as our family grows.

I have another bracelet idea that I'm working on...but once again, I'm running to keep up. I'll have to save that story for another post. Check back, the juices are flowing here and more ideas are coming!!


samnarene said...

I remember reading your "Story By Me" about the charm bracelet and thinking what a nice idea. I enjoy your blog and the creative ideas you share.

Ann said...

I love all the family ideas you create on this fab blog - isn't this bracelet a lovely idea!

Deanna said...

My mom has a bracelet with these little enameled flags on it of countries we have been to (I'm a Navy brat) so I made one for myself (thanks to ebay!) and also started a Travel Charm Bracelet - charms that remind us of where we visit. I also have a general charm bracelet and it is a standard teacher's gift. In Early Childhood my now 12 yr old's teacher cried when she saw he bracelet with a moveable toilet charm (she helped potty train him and it was tough going!).

bcrandall said...

So cute. I am visiting from reinvented today. Enjoy your day


Anonymous said...

Such a sweet idea, I have a necklace that I wear with charms for each of my family.

Lanie Ree said...

Oh, this is wonderful. I love it.

Thank you for linking this to A Little Creative Therapy, with Life in the Pitts.

Stephanie Lynn said...

What an adorable idea - love it! So precious - what a great gift with meaning. Would love to have you stop by the Sunday Showcase Party. Hope you are enjoying your weekend! My Mom would treasure this!

Amy said...

My grandma had the same kind of charms on her bracelet! Every time I see a silouette I think of her!