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My father-in-law’s birthday gift

Posted By Sam F On March 30, 2010 @ 7:00 am In Photo Book Ideas | 9 Comments

We were trying to come up with a unique and special idea for my father-in-law’s birthday. He is not the kind of person who needs things – and even if you get him the typical gifts, it’s likely he won’t use them.

The idea – The “We Love You” Birthday Book

Henry has 3 siblings, 3 daughters, over 20 nieces & nephews – and many others who love him. What better gift than a photo book [1] with personal messages from family and friends to tell you how much they love you? And of course a party to present it!

The Process

I sent around a request to all family and friends by email – asking them for a photo of them (or their whole family) and a personal note to Henry. The note could include something they fondly remember about Henry, what they appreciate about him or what they love about him. Surprisingly I got 100% response rate from family members and filled a book with the most wonderful pictures and words….

The Result

With all of the photos and words, the format became clear…

  • Title Page -Henry’s 70th Birthday Book with picture and a few words
  • Pictures and Henry through the years
  • Summary of how people described Henry – this was one of the best features of the book where I pulled about 30 adjectives that people used to describe Henry and summarized them in a two page spread. This also became the foundation for a really beautiful birthday toast where I read them out loud…
  • Picture of each family or friend – followed by their personal note to Henry

Henry loved the photo book – and others enjoyed it so much, they requested copies of their own.

The Learnings in this Project

  • You are the project driver – requesting participation, reminding people and gathering the information however people feel comfortable. Many people will email you, but you may have to make a few phone-calls and have them tell you what they want you to say over the phone.
  • You will provide the inspiration – them with some inspirational questions to prompt them
  • Let the story unfold – the pictures and notes you get will ultimately dictate how to lay it out. If you drive the project and inspire people, the story will follow…

See the final results here [2]!

Do you have gift ideas that would be meaningful for fathers? Let me know by commenting on this blog.


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[1] photo book: http://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books?cid=PICTURETHIS

[2] here: http://community.shutterfly.com/gallery/post/start.sfly?postId=/gallery/1/post/GMGDBgzatWTls0bitQ48XA

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