Amy Stamp, craftivate
My husband and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary June 12, 2015. A lot can happen in five years, both good and bad, life altering and mundane. I could say, "the past five years have been so wonderful and our lives are so perfect". But everyone says that and everyone is lying. (I said it! Gasp!) Instead I'll honestly say that the past five years have been real. They have been perfectly imperfect and I am better for having lived through them with Jason at my side. I met Jay at a party when I was 15, we started dating when I was 21 and we were married when I was 28. It’s okay; you don’t have to do the math. Full disclosure, I’m 33.
Over the course of more than half my life, we have exchanged many gifts, both big and small. Electronics, clothes, trips, cards, books, jewelry, pets, gag gifts, gift certificates and flowers just to name a few. We haven’t always hit the mark. Must I cringingly mention the first Christmas present Jay ever gave me, the illustrious fondue set? What about the time I got him a gorgeous watch only to be told that he would never wear a watch because it’s the 21st century and he has a phone? Needless to say, we’ve both gotten significantly better at the whole gift-giving thing over time. However, even the practiced gift giver can come upon the proverbial gifting desert and end up in a position where a new gift idea and finding Atlantis seem equivalent.
The longevity of my relationship has definitely made it more difficult to come up with ideas for unique and meaningful gifts. I've been lost in the dessert many times and found that creative, homemade gifts are usually my oasis and saving grace. (Pinterest often helps!). The sentiment behind a creative gift is way more important than the final product. Of course it is an added bonus if the finished product is amazing. But the amazingness of being handmade is often so fabulous and meaningful that it’s all the person on the receiving end will see no matter what you’ve created.
For our fifth wedding anniversary I thought that it would be meaningful to go back to the place where we celebrated our marriage. Our wedding reception was at The Branford House Mansion on the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut in Groton. The reception was the beginning of our life together as a family. 5 years later, our family has grown to include two beautiful children. Bringing them to The Branford House for a super secret photo shoot seemed like the perfect thing to do for Jason. Lucky for me, Brooke Cadett, one of my amazing Craftivate creative consultants, is also talented photographer with her own business B. Cadett Photography. With her glowing saint halo and sparkly angel wings, Brooke managed to take gorgeous pictures of my children on a chilly but beautiful day at The Branford House.
Coming full circle for our fifth anniversary evoked a range of emotion for me. Seeing our children run and play in the same spot where our reception tent stood was beautiful and touching. It warmed my heart to witness my children experience joy and express their love for one another in the same place that Jason and I did just 5 years ago. It reinforced the gratefulness and appreciation I have for my husband, our partnership and the life we have built together. It made me nostalgic for the celebration I was lucky enough to have my mother witness before she was taken too soon from this world. It made me miss my mom and also think of how lucky I was to have her for as long as I did. It made me think of our family and friends who shared that night with us and continue to share our present. It filled me with a sense of pride, wholeness and peace. The kicker is that it truly made me, the giver, happy! That’s the funny thing about great creative gifts; they are usually just as much for the giver as they are the receiver.
Brooke turned the pictures from the super secret photo shoot into a gorgeous book of photography accented with quotes that are specifically meaningful to Jason and I. I wrapped it up and gave it to him on our anniversary. He loved it! There were no tears of joy like I had hoped, but Jay isn’t a crocodile tear type of guy anyway. Despite the dry eyes, he was truly touched and amazed. The creative and meaningful gift better expressed the enduring love I have for my husband and our family than any store bought item could. Additionally, my kids had a great time the day of the photo shoot and the process of creating the gift gave me joy and fulfillment.
I was lucky enough to have the mega talented Brooke help me turn my idea (photographs of our children at our reception site) into something gorgeous. However, you don’t need a super talented photographer in your back pocket to make something just as meaningful. There are many different ways you can interpret the execution of my idea. For example:
- You can take the pictures yourself and create a slideshow on your computer.
- Load your kids and husband into the car, take them to your reception location, take some selfies and have a picnic. Sometimes the experience you create for your family is more meaningful than any object you can give them.
- If you live too far away from your reception site, have your family sit together and go through your wedding album or watch your wedding video. Play your wedding song while you look through the pictures or even dance to your wedding song together. Take the time to explain what it was like for you on your wedding day. Take a video of your child’s reaction to these photos or videos to show them in the future. They are often quite expressive when they see past versions of their parents, so you’ll want to capture the moment.
- Make a photo album of the most memorable moments from the day you were married until present. It is nice to revisit those moments together as a family.
I look forward to sharing more creative and homemade gift ideas with you in future posts. You can look forward to a number of Craftivate gift events this fall. We will be focusing on crafts that can be given as gifts this holiday season. You will be able to enjoy a great night out, create something handmade and cross a gift off your list in the process! We have so many exciting things planned for you and we just can’t wait to share them! Keep up with what is happening by checking out our Events page and liking us on Facebook.
Here’s to living a sassy, crafty, happy life!
and so it goes…