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dad turns seventy

My dad recently turned seventy (!) and my mom and I wanted to do something special for him. Dad didn't want a big party, and he and my mom were going to be out of town on his actual birthday, so we decided to give him a gift that would continue all month long.

I printed 70 postcards on thick cardstock (110 lb.), each with a different number between 1 and 70. My mom helped gather addresses for seventy of the important people in my dad's life: family members, old classmates, dear friends and all his grandchildren. Included in the envelope was a card explaining that it was dad's birthday, and that they needed to send the postcard back sharing their funniest memory of Skip. To make things easy, I pre-addressed and pre-stamped the postcards so all they had to do was write a quick note on the back and toss the card in the mail.

When my dad got home a few days after his birthday, there were a handful of cards in his mailbox. He was surprised and delighted. And then the next day there were a few more cards, and the day after that, a few more. This continued on for the rest of the month until he had quite a stack. I hadn't asked people to stagger when they mailed their cards, that just happened naturally. Some of the notes were heartfelt and quite moving, others were funny, bringing up memories my dad hadn't thought about in years. I especially loved reading what his grandchildren wrote. All in all, a pretty inexpensive gift (postage was our main expense) and one I think my dad will remember for quite some time.

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Reader Comments (75)

Brooke, that is a beautiful + touching gift. Your dad must have felt so loved!

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I adore this type of gift and fully believe in the power of postcards! Would you be so kind as to let us know what type of printer you use? I am in need of an upgrade, as mine doesn't seem to like thicker cardstock, and it seems like your creative endeavors put your printer to the test. Thanks!

11.9.2011 | Unregistered Commentermollie

This is an amazing idea! I love the milkshake story. :)

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

I love this! My dad is turning 65 this year and this would be perfect! Is there anyway that I could get your template from you? Thanks for always sharing such brilliant and inspirational ideas.

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCammie

Such a fabulous idea! Happy Birthday to your dad :)

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Jensen

As an avid reader of Skip's blog for some time, I can honestly say he has touched so many people with his free exchange of health and nutrition. He is a treasure, and I hope he reaps the benefits of everything he has shared for many years to come.

What a wonderful gift for a most wonderful person.

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizAndrsn

This is the best birthday idea ever! It is totally something my Dad would love and i might just have to copy this idea.

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsB

Oh, what a fabulous idea. How lovely for your dad!

11.9.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdomestikate

Hi Mollie,
I use a Canon Pro 9000 Mark II, which is a good three years old. It uses a lot of ink (there are 8 cartridges and they aren't cheap!) but it works well for all these little projects and it prints on thick cardstock, label sheets, and anything else I've fed through it just fine. It can also print up to 13x19 which helps me when I am designing books and need to see spreads printed at full size. Because it uses so much ink, I only use it when I absolutely need something in color, or when I need to print larger than 8.5 x 11.
I also have a black and white laser jet printer (hp laserjet 2200d) which I use for most of my normal printing needs (emails, recipes, calendars, etc.).

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

Very cool idea. What font do you use?!

11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda C.

that is such a cute idea! way to utilize snail mail -- it's such an under-appreciated art. great design too :)

What a great idea! I hope I remember to copy this for my mom or dad! :-)

11.10.2011 | Unregistered Commentersannika

this is the sweetest idea ever. a gift that keeps on giving!

11.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCecilia Madden

such a thoughtful way to celebrate. inexpensive but priceless.

11.10.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjane

Hello, I'm Brooke's dad, the guy who turned 70 and received all the thoughtful cards. I'd say this was one of your best ideas Brooke, but actually you have equally great ideas all the time. Like your idea that I start a blog to share ideas on how to eat a healthful diet in a our toxic food environment. You even designed the layout of the blog and it's beautiful. And in the last WoWLiving post, on milk, you reminded how you at the age of 10 had self-diagnosed yourself for milk allergy, carefully pointing out that ice cream was not a problem. You're a treasure, Brooke. Love, Dad

11.10.2011 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

I LOVE this! So thoughtful and brilliant!

11.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Thank you Brooke! (P.S. - your dad's blog is an inspiration for my mother too. She is 69...)

11.10.2011 | Unregistered Commentermollie

What a great idea! I love that he can keep them forever and look back on them any time.

11.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandi

That is a wonderful idea- I might steal it for my husband's 40th b-day this year.

11.11.2011 | Unregistered Commentersacha

What a wonderful, heartfelt idea, and how truly wonderful that there are 70 people who love him enough to participate in such a project. that makes him a truly lucky man. happy birthday to your father!

11.11.2011 | Unregistered Commentershisomama

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