mama cry picture


It was a huge year for birthdays in our family this year. All remaining great-grandparents are celebrating their 85th year.

85,  what a milestone!  Party time!

My in-laws live interstate but Mum is nearby so it made sense to plan a party.

I chose the theme of flowers as it has special meaning for my Mum and me. (Be sure to check out Wacky Workshops for a wonderful flower related craft). I made flower-shaped food and flower party bags and decorations.

The only thing left to do was buy the gift. Easy right?

It seems at 85 our mums are busy getting rid of stuff – giving the good things to their kids and grand- kids, throwing away other unnecessary things. Seems silly to buy ornaments when they are so faithfully culling.

My mother has given me and my sister her “good” jewellery. These days, other than some cherished rings, she only wears costume jewellery. I often buy her fun and colourful bangles, rings and necklaces. But for 85 I needed to step it up a bit.

Mum’s current health and mobility means travel has to be limited.

So we determined no jewellery, ornaments and activity (other than the lunch) gifts. It’s not so easy now, right?

There’s always nice perfume, she loves that, and therefore has litres and litres of it as it’s one of the few wonderfully suitable gifts. Same problem with luxurious bath time goodies.

I did buy some costume jewellery, and a cool scrabble like game, but I knew I needed something really special for such an important birthday.



I finally decided to go with the emotionally charged gift, always a winner. Keeping the flower theme in mind I found some flower shaped placemats out of MDF at the local hardware. I spray painted them (silver), drilled a few holes and put ribbon through them to make a kind of book.


Next, I used A4 sized paper to cut smaller versions of the flower shape. I gave a flower ‘page’ to each family member to write a personalised message. I encouraged them to use colourful pencils and markers to decorate their page. Opposite each message was a page containing the writer’s photograph.

The grand-kids had fun drawing on their pages.

mamma cry gifts picture

The last pages just said “celebrating 85 years” with the picture opposite of Mum.

Next, I stapled the pages together, glueing the last one to the back place-mat flower.

The result? She was thrilled and my little-bought gifts were nothing compared to the joy she got from the homemade family birthday card.

In fact, it was so well received I decided to go with a similar idea for Hubby’s mum (who lives in Queensland so we have distance considerations with her as well). Though they looked similar, both cards were quite different as they were all about the personal messages written by the family.

My mother in law also appreciates the sentimental side of life. When she and my father-in-law celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year I bought a rectangular frame with three photo spaces and hearts hanging off it. I printed a picture of them at their wedding, a recent one and for the middle photo space, I made a collage of all their great grand-kids. She adored it.

I’ve relied on the emotionally charged gift quite a few times in the past. I love the Blurb site where you can make your own books. You can upload photos and write text and then pay to have them printed. I’ve made those books for each of our sons for various birthdays. They are looked at and loved more than photo albums by me and their children and partners.

When our sons were young I encouraged them to make gifts, especially for Hubby and me and our parents. Not only did it save them their pocket money but it made them put thought and time into the gift.

Now as a Grandy I’m still loving the emotionally charged gifts. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend sure, but who can ever get tired of feeling the love that comes from someone sitting down, thinking carefully, and making something lovely to remind you how loved and important you are?

4 Emotionally Charged Gifts That Will Make Mum Cry-

good tears!

  • The photo book – handmade or using software such as Blurb
  • The photo box – check here for details of the ‘exploding box’ – it’s awesome
  • The photo frame – you can make collages or connections. The thought with the anniversary frame mentioned above was that those gorgeous great grandchildren wouldn’t be here if not for that glorious marriage – an amazing connection.
  • A personalised poem about the receiver

Do you have a favourite sentimental gift idea? Please share in the comments section below.

Subscribe to Gleeful Grandiva (so you won’t miss any of the fun, glamour and projects).

Wishing you gleeful gift giving, Tamuria