Last year, a few days after our 'buy nothing new for a year' vow, my (then) 6yo daughter was invited to her school friend Robbie's birthday party. What on Earth could we make for a seven year old boy? Robbie is a lovely boy who holds a particular interest in animals and the environment, however I was really stumped for what we could do for him. Eventually, I came up with the idea for my daughter to write a book for him, and thought it would be nice for her to let him know why he is a special person. I asked her to come up with 7 reasons (because he was turning 7, of course!) why Robbie is her friend. She then wrote the reasons down and drew a darling little picture to illustrate each reason. Here is the final result: "7 Reasons Why Robbie is My Friend"...
The above picture shows the title page (which we made my cutting letters out of a magazine and sticking them on some black card stock, along with my daughter's drawing of herself and the birthday boy), a couple of the inside pages (again, my daughter's work was pasted onto black card stock), and the final wrapped gift.
Here is what's so good about Robbie:
1. He is Smart
2. He Cares About Animals (Even Snails)
3. He's Good at Explaining Things
4. He is Brave
5. He is Funny and Tells Good Jokes
6. He is Friendly and Kind
7. He Cares About the Environment
I had to help my daughter come up with things to write, by asking questions like "is he funny?", and "what else does he do that you like?". Sadly, my "is he handsome?" query was met with an embarrassed "No!"....not a reflection of Robbie's looks at all!
The pages of the book were secured using a black ribbon, threaded through holes I punched using a 2-hole punch. The only gift wrap we had at home was plain white (that's what you get for sending your husband out to buy gift wrap!), which looked incredibly boring, so I found a plastic snake in the toy box and we stuck it on the front of the gift with clear tape. Robbie has a pet snake so I think the idea worked really well.
I don't know whether the book was appreciated at all, or whether we just came across as cheapskates for not buying him some crappy made in China plastic toy. We had fun making it and I figure that doing something thoughtful and kind for someone is worth all of the effort. I would like to think that this would be one of those gifts that will make it into a child's box of treasures and will still be looked at in years to come.