Passing On The Traditions
By Jill Savage
(first published in 2007 when my oldest daughter was getting married)

She opened each present with a sense of excitement about what new appliance, linen, or home décor gift might be hidden beneath the wrapping paper. This bridal shower signified the reality of a fast-approaching wedding date. It’s hard to believe that my oldest child is getting ready to begin a family of her own. Our summer days have been spent selecting flowers, making decorations, and addressing invitations.

When a child leaves home and begins their own family, they start from scratch in some areas (like setting up their kitchen) and in other areas they carry their heritage with them (like wanting to make cookies taste just like mom’s). While friends and family have showered Anne with gifts that will help her set up her first home, I’ve tried to give her gifts of a different kind. The best gifts a mother can give to her daughter are the ones passed from one generation to the next. They are gifts from the heart that will make her house a little bit more of a home right away.

If you have a daughter getting married, you can get creative in your gift-giving with:

Recipes—A recipe box is a wonderful shower gift. A recipe box filled with the family’s favorite recipes just might bring a tear to the bride’s eye. Sit down and go through your recipe box and pull out your family’s favorite recipes. Take time to copy each recipe on a new recipe card and place them in the appropriate category in the box. This gift will not only encourage her in the kitchen, but also start a tradition that can be passed down through the years.

Birthday List—Up until adulthood, a child depends on her parents to tell her when it’s her grandmother’s birthday or her brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary. Once she’s on her own, the responsibility to remember birthdays and anniversaries is hers. If you type up a list of the family birthdays and anniversaries and give it to her as a gift, she’ll be equipped to remember important family celebration dates. If you want to go one step further, contact her future mother-in-law and get the dates for her husband’s family, as well.

Card File—In our home I keep a greeting card file so that cards of all types are on hand when we need them (birthday, anniversary, thank you, congratulations, sympathy, etc.). If one of the kids has a birthday party to go to, they “shop” for their card from the card file. Since this is tradition Anne has known, a card file complete with a few cards in each file made for an appropriate gift.

Gift Wrap Box—A big “under the bed” box filled with a variety of wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, and bows gives a new bride a head start on gift giving. If you include scissors and tape, she’ll have all she needs!

Celebration Supplies—Do you have decoration or celebration supplies you’ve used throughout the years? At my wedding shower my mother gave me a box of cake decorating supplies—some new and some old. Another mom I know gave her daughter a “Happy Birthday” banner they used in their home. Find a box and fill it with party supplies from the Dollar Store. If possible, include some items that were used throughout her childhood.

Christmas Decorations—A new husband and wife start off without much in the way of Christmas decorations. A shoebox filled with their hand-made or personalized ornaments you’ve collected over the years will allow them to bring a homespun touch to their new Christmas traditions.

A wedding is expensive enough without adding on costly gifts that might just break the budget. With a little bit of creativity, time, and thoughtfulness, you can give gifts from the heart that would be considered priceless to a new bride.

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