So you still don't know what to buy for that special occasion. Maybe it's your honey's 40th birthday or your 25th anniversary. Here is a sure fire hit.
It takes a few weeks or maybe even a few months of planning ahead, but the results will be no less than magical if you can pull it off. What I am speaking of is a "This Is Your Life" kind of gift. You will need to secretly obtain as many addresses and phone numbers of past and present friends, schoolmates, coworkers and family. Sneaking through stashes of old letters and address books is one way to obtain the contacts. A better and perhaps less obtrusive way is to recruit a close friend or relative of the honoree to help you with your mission.
Either in a phone call or letter, ask the people you contact if they would please contribute something memorable toward the upcoming special occasion. It could be old photographs, a story, something from a scrapbook or just a note of congratulations. Also, ask them to pass the word along to anyone who may have known the person you will be honoring.
For secrecy, you will need to have all the correspondence mailed to you at a location where it will not be seen by you-know-who. Have it mailed to your work address or maybe your co-conspirator will agree to receive the mail. People are notorious about being procrastinators so it will probably be necessary to remind them a week or two before the event to get the information to you, pronto.
Once you have received all the interesting tidbits, you will have to decide how to present them. You can do them in the world-famous "This Is Your Life" format with secret guests and a big production. What is more realistic would be providing a scrapbook filled with all the mementos and cards of congratulations. If you want something more dramatic like the "TIYL" format without all the work, you can read the letters and notes one by one, building up the suspense by not saying the contributor's name until the end. A nice photo album or scrapbook could be given so the honoree can put in all the pieces themselves.
If you know someone who is hard to shop for, this may just be the perfect gift for that momentous milestone in his or her life.
Michael Webb is the best-selling author of The Romantic's Guide and 7 other books. Visit www.TheRomantic.com for 1000s more free tips.
Sign up for our free eNewsletter Dollar Stretcher for Parents.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!