My mom turned 70 in May. (She doesn't look a day over 50.) Since 70 is kind of a milestone birthday, our family wanted to do something special. But, let's face it. When a person arrives at age 70, material gifts seem much less important. So, how do you find gifts for the person who has everything? When we asked her what she'd like for her birthday, she gave the ever helpful answer of, "Nothing." (My hubby is an expert at that helpful answer, too!)
When asked again, she replied, "I don't really need anything. Why don't you all just do something nice for someone else?" LIGHTBULB! Operation Service was born. With only a few weeks until her birthday, I divided the number 70 among my extended family (3 each), and asked each person to perform 3 acts of service for someone else before Grandma's birthday.
My family lives all over the country, so as they finished, they emailed me to let me know what they did. Day after day, notes containing acts of service popped up in my inbox. It was really fun to see what everyone did. The family ranges in age from 2-46, so we had everything from "I opened and closed the door for Mommy," to "I helped a family drywall their basement."
Birthday Service Heart Attack
Once I collected all 70 acts of service, I had to figure out how to present them as a gift. So, if you've been wondering about the family giving my mom a heart attack for her 70th birthday -- here's where I explain.
Of course we didn't give my mom a physical heart attack. We gave her a birthday service heart attack. What does that mean, you ask? Well, I typed up all of the birthday acts of service and printed them on hearts. Then, on my mom's birthday, we had my dad lure her from the house, and my girls and I went in and started the attack!
We taped the hearts all over the wall in her kitchen, and then we hid and waited for her to return home. (In hindsight, if I did this again, I'd make the hearts much bigger!)
My mom loved the surprise, and she left the hearts on her wall for a very long time. Family members loved looking at the hearts and trying to figure out which family member performed which act of service, and the tiny grandchildren loved to point out their own hearts.
So, next time you are looking for gifts for the person who has everything, consider that maybe the best thing you can do for them is serve someone else in their name! This works especially well for milestone birthdays like, 50, 70, 75, 80, 90 and 100!
If you plan this activity far enough in advance, every member of the family could do 70 acts of service throughout the year. Or, every family member could write their acts of service on hearts in their own handwriting and mail them to the person in charge. (None of that is possible with short notice, but with advanced planning, it would be really cool!)
Thanks for stopping by today. While you're here, please check out some of my other fun ideas. You can check out the projects below by clicking on the images.