Ancestor Bookmarks: a fun and unique family reunion gift idea
Mum turned 70, so we organised a little party to celebrate. Only with my family (one of eight here!), there is never anything “little” about a family get-together. Not to mention that she is the youngest of eleven children, so there were Aunts, Uncles and cousins to invite. It was the first big gathering since the 1980s, so I want to commemorate this party with a special family reunion gift.
Also, it was only a few years since the death of my oldest sister. Because of that, I wanted to make this special for Mum. I saw it as an opportunity to say thank you for our unique, adventurous childhood—a way to celebrate her years on this earth and acknowledge everything she had achieved.
So, my siblings and I poured an enormous amount of time, energy and effort into creating something memorable. As a way to say thank you for all the birthdays and events, she had made special for us. And we wanted to create a souvenir for the guests to thank them for contributing to the celebration.
Best laid plans
I had plans. Great ideas. For the decorations, the food, and the fun family activities where we would all laugh. Like one of those happy, well-balanced families that you see on TV. Much as I would love to tell you that story, it’s not mine. That is because my story involves being crazy with stress. Not showering or sleeping for days. And thinking so much about the sandwiches that I forgot to take the guest gift bags.
As a result, I ended up surrounded by many mementos of my mother’s seventy years. While I quietly crossed event planning off my potential career list, I started thinking about alternative gifts. I needed an idea that wouldn’t require me to sell a kidney on the black market just to afford the postage.
First of all, it had to be easy to create. Also, budget-friendly to produce and post. Furthermore, it should be something that could be unique for each guest. Something relevant to each person’s relationship with my mother. Sounds impossible, right?
My lightbulb moment
Things I love. Books, and making things from pieces of paper. Documenting the past and present for future generations. The eureka moment should have been the most noteworthy event. But I think I was doing dishes when I put it all together. A bookmark. My mini family reunion gift should have been a bookmark. Hindsight is always such a smartie.
Do people still use bookmarks? Does it even matter? Because people collect things they never use. Such as coins, stamps, and postcards. My grandmother also had a teaspoon collection, while not one of those ever stirred a cup of tea. We all have little mementos of events or trips that we keep to remind us of a person or an event.
Why bookmarks? They are easy to make. Budget-friendly. Simple or fancy. Such versatility! Single-sided. Two-sided. With a photo or two. Add a simple family tree, a story or a quote. It’s a unique, one-of-a-kind gift.
Are you Hosting a family reunion?
Are you looking for a budget-friendly family reunion gift? Have you considered a bookmark? Since they are so easy to make, then you can create a few options without blowing your budget.
Do you need ideas to get started? Consider these ideas to help your family celebrate:
- Do you have quality photos of a family? Then create a set of bookmarks for each member. Make these two-sided with a story or family tree on the back.
- Or are you celebrating one particular couple? Add their photos, names, and date of marriage. Make it two-sided with a list of their children on the reverse side.
- Maybe you are holding the reunion on a family property? Consider using a historic photo matched with a present-day image of the property, then add the date/s and details of the event.
- Maybe there is an artist in your family? An illustration or painting would make a beautiful background for the date and details of your family reunion.
Need more ideas? Then try Google, Pinterest (or your favourite search engine). Type in family reunion bookmarks, then hit go and check out the images for inspiration. While those designs belong to someone, you can still use them to inspire your own creativity.
Create your family reunion gift
Excited about the idea but not sure about the next steps. The good news is that you have a few options!
- Buy a template or artwork from an online marketplace (such as Etsy)
- Hire a graphic designer to create something for your event
- Create your artwork in PowerPoint or Canva, or similar.
The production phase
Depending on the quantity you need, there are a few options here.
- Visit a print shop or office supply store
- Use a trusted online printer
Make sure that you get a quote before outsourcing the printing.
Ancestor Bookmark Template
Since I love bookmarks so much, I have released four bookmark templates.
- Classic Ancestor Bookmarks | PowerPoint template
- Classic Ancestor Bookmarks | Google Slides template
- Folded Ancestor Bookmarks | Google Slides template
- Modern Ancestor Bookmarks | Google Slides template
All templates are available in either A4 or US Letter. The download includes everything you need to make your bookmarks for personal use or as a family reunion gift.
Share your creations
Whether you use my template or create your own, I’d love to see your family reunion bookmarks. Upload to Instagram and tag me – @thecreativefamilyhistorian.