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!)
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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.
What a great idea! I am always looking for unusual gifts for my family. I really love the idea. My husband and my dad are famous for the "nothing" response whenever you ask them what they would like as a gift. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Lori. It was a lot of fun, and my mom loved it.
This is wonderful on so many levels! How nice for grandma to be identified as a person who encourages kindness to others! And your presentation is wonderful! the best "heart attack" ever!
Thanks so much, Joyce. My mom never wants anything for herself, so this was just perfect.
What a cute idea! We did something similar to the bishops door one day- its a great little activity for primary children :)
Thanks, Alia. Heart-attacking people is really fun. Usually we say nice things about them on hearts, but this one was all about service.
This is a different twist on heart attacking. Love it!
Thanks, Grace. It was really fun, and it got the entire extended family involved in the gift.
What a great idea. I bet she loved it!
Thanks, Linda. She did love it. It was really fun for all of us.
What a fun idea!!! This would be so fun to do for my mom also!
You should do it, Kendra! (Especially if you have a little more time to plan in advance.) It was really fun for everyone.
Heidi, this is a wonderful idea - I can't think of a better gift to receive than this. You always have such wonderful projects. Thank you for sharing. Cathy
You're so sweet, Cathy. Thanks so much!
Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Oh my gosh! I love this idea. We always get that same helpful answer when I ask my dad or step mom what they want. What a fantastic idea. I really love it. You are so smart!!
Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas
PS I'd love you to link this up to our link party on Monday night at 7pm mt @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas. We could all use a lot more of this in our lives.
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories
What a fantastically fun idea! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup last week. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you joined us again this weekend.
Great idea ! Another idea that my daughter did for my 70th, she had all my grand-children colloge age and under ,also their mates think up on their own a homemade project they would make for my birthad. It was so much fun to see all the different ideas they came up with and knowing they all could not get help was just amazing to me. For just a few ideas- my 22 year old grand-daughter made me macaroni braclets that she painted each one, I can jut picther her making them. Her 24 year old brother made me a painted mug with flowers and a heart saying " I love nana", another paintings from my oldest grand=son and being near haloween my other grandson painted a pumkin for me. So many more but you get the idea. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to share. Have a good day.nanad
That's a great idea, Carol. Thanks for adding it here. It's so hard to think of ideas for those special birthdays. It sounds like your family did a good job spoiling you!
Sorry about all the spelling errors, should read before I send
Please don't worry about the spelling errors. We all make them! Thanks again for taking the time to comment.
Valentines day flowers to Philippines
bring birthday cake for her it will work most of time