Idea No.


Special Party -90yr- Crossword Puzzle of Memories



July 2008


Jennifer in Highland Park, IL  USA


This Is Your Life Party

My family tends to be fairly frugal with our celebrations partly because many family members must travel from all over the United States in order to attend.  Our goal was to honor the family matriarch on the occasion of her 90th birthday but without breaking the bank. What follows are some of the ways we recognized the occasion and tried to make her feel special. 

PUZZLE.  Using free online software, I created a crossword puzzle that featured people, places, events, jobs, etc. from her life.  It's simple to use.  You type in a word followed by a customized clue to accompany it.  After you're done, the program puts together the puzzle, providing both the puzzle and the puzzle key. 

[Tip #1  Be sure to have someone check or test your puzzle before copying and distribution to make sure that your clues make sense and that you haven't made any spelling errors  the puzzle program isn't that smart.]  For school age children, you may want to create a word find puzzle featuring names of people, places, etc. from the honoree's life.  MUSIC.  I asked my grandmother for some of her favorite music or songs.  I then burned a couple of CDs featuring those songs.  In the mix, I included a few popular songs from each decade of her life.  In addition to some classical favorites, she is particularly fond of old Irish folk songs that I didn't know anything about.

[Tip #2  Your local public library may be an excellent resource for music from different eras and/or different cultures.]  The CDs provided lovely background music for the party.  Since my grandmother doesn't have a CD player, I also made copies on tape cassettes for her to enjoy later. 

MEMORY BOOK.  I purchased a book with large blank pages.  I asked family members to loan me photos of our grandmother throughout her life.  I scanned them first.  Afterwards I was able to crop and print images on photo paper.  I pasted these small photos throughout the book.  At the party, the book was set on a small table with lots of pens and markers.  Family, friends and guests were asked to write a personal message on a page. 

They were encouraged to include a favorite memory or story about my grandmother as well as birthday wishes.  Having the photos from throughout her life sprinkled through the pages of the book also triggered memories amongst the family members and guests.  It was wonderful to read what people wrote and it was a lovely keepsake for my grandmother once the party was over.

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