Whether it is a husband who just realised his anniversary is today, a wife who spent weeks shopping but could never find the perfect gift to express how she feels about her husband, or the friends and family of a couple approaching a monumental anniversary, homemade gifts are a thoughtful idea that storebought items simply can't compare with. It is important to consider the person's preferences and one's skill level before tackling a project of such magnitude. When all else fails, remember it really is the thought that counts on this special day.
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Although not original, the shadowbox is a classic handmade gift suitable for all important sentimental occasions. For a wedding anniversary gift, cover the back wall of the box in photographs, letters exchanged by the couple, romantic quotes and sentimental memorabilia including old movie ticket stubs and engagement or wedding announcements. Mount objects of great nostalgic value to the couple's marriage inside the box. These items might include the tuxedo bow and garter from the couple's wedding day, a dried flower from the bridal bouquet, hospital tags from the birth of the oldest child, keys to the first car or house the couple purchased together, souvenirs from the honeymoon destination or a unity candle from the wedding ceremony.
Preserving the Stories
Ask family and friends of the couple to write a lesson they have learnt about marriage from a personal observation made about the couple. This could be a comment on a habitual gesture one spouse performs, or a story of a specific incident that left a lasting impression in the person's mind. If possible, have the husband and wife write what they love about each other. Collect all the letters and stories in a book or journal and include an account of how the couple met and married according to their children or someone who knew both of them when they courted.
Creating a Legacy
Someone with woodworking tools and skills can create a one-of-a-kind gift to be treasured by a married couple and generations after them. Use a section of wood with sentimental value to create a family tree. Choose a piece of once-treasured furniture that can no longer be used, a section of a tree from the family homestead or a lumber remnant from a project the couple completed together and sketch a tree to cut out with a scroll saw. Two branches at the top should intertwine in the shape of a heart, and a branch for each child, grandchild and great-grandchild, if applicable, should be included. With a wood-etching tool, inscribe the name of the husband on the top left branch and the name of the wife on the right. In the centre of the heart, etch the wedding date of the couple. On each of the other branches, inscribe the names of each child, from oldest on the left to youngest on the right. List spouses of children for any who are married on the same branch. Any grandchildren or great-grandchildren should be listed below their parents.
Then and Now
For important anniversaries for which a party is held, hosts can create a unique gift that can serve as a permanent display piece. Locate an old discarded hardcover book between 8 and 10 inches long. Find the centre of the book and fold open. Glue all the pages on the left side together and then glue the pages to the inside front cover. Repeat the process with the pages on the right and the back inside cover. In the centre of the open book, mount the couple's wedding invitation and photograph on the left side. On the right, mount the invitation to the anniversary party and a current photograph of the couple. Decorate the edges of the pages and coat with clear shellac to preserve the paper and pictures for years to come.
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