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What Do I Get My Parents For Their 50th Wedding Anniversary?

Updated on August 7, 2012


My parents upcoming wedding anniversary - FIFTY YEARS - was coming up and my brain ached from wracking it for ideas. There was nothing I could get them for their 50th wedding anniversary that they could not provide for themselves if it was wanted. Anything else seem to serve only to contribute to the considerable this, that and the other they had collected over their years together. And that's when I got the idea - the stuff they had collected together - they had also collected memories, I would give them a collection of their 50 years of memories.

In my effort to come up with the perfect 50th wedding anniversary gift I poured over photographs of them, pictures of them when they were younger, much younger and I followed them up through the ages and stages of their marriage. Pictures of myself and my siblings and pictures of the dogs, horses and cats that had been part of our lives. I threw in a couple of vacations and pictures of their parents, my grandparents.

It is then that I got the idea for my perfect anniversary gift. I selected a number of photographs and for each selected picture I wrote a poem to go with it. Some just a few lines, others a full page - I carefully chose descriptive words that captured the essence of each of them and the pair they made. I painted word pictures to describe times and memories shared and wrote a poem about me as well as on for each of my three siblings. I threw in a couple of touch stone moments and a couple of humorous memories as well. I have an aunt, my dad's sister, who is an artist (I cannot draw a straight line to save my soul) and she drew pictures to go with the poems that I could not match photos to.

If you want to stop reading here because you cannot or do not write poetry then scroll to the bottom where you will find a few suggested variations on theme. If you like the idea or you would like a window into our world - read on!

I scanned the pictures into my computer and inserted them onto the page with the appropriate poem. I bought decorative paper from the office supply store to print my work out on and I had the whole thing bound at a local print shop.

On the day of their anniversary I went over to my parent's home and sitting on their living room floor I began to read to them the poems I had written. It was the one and only time I have seen my dad cry. They were overjoyed with the touch stones I presented them with in picture and verse. My parents will be celebrating their sixty-second anniversary and to this day my gift to them on their 50th wedding anniversary, my writing of their life in prose, is proudly displayed on their buffet. There is not a visitor to their home in the past twelve years who has not been offered "the book" to read.

Brown eyes met hazel from far across the room,

And that one look was held, by a future bride and groom.

They feel in love and courted, and then they exchanged vows

They had cuddles, they had laughter, they had their little rows.

They've shared their life together now, for fifty busy years.

They've had their share of sorrow, disappointments and some tears.

They've also had their good times and raised a family

And I am as proud of them as parents as any child could be!

Summer Days

One of the memories I drew upon was of our visits to a summer home near a small village on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Often our father stayed behind working and our mother would load the four of us into her station wagon and drive nine hours and one ferry ride to reach our destination. Times were different then and the four of us had unending hours of freedom to explore and experience to our hearts' content.  When we weren't in the ocean we were exploring the shores, when we weren't exploring the shores we were finding treasures on the floor of the surrounding old growth forests.

On summer days we spent our childhood

Jumping off the wharf, swimming and splashing

in Whiskey Slough

On summer days we spent our childhood

Scouring the beaches, scrambling over rocks,

catching bullheads.

On summer days we spent our childhood

Running through the forest, laughing and jumping

Sun filtering through giant trees and glistening on

dew damp ferns

What did you do mum, alone, on summer days

While we spent our childhood

blissfully unaware?

What did you do mum, alone, besides lay Eden

at our ignorant feet?

They would jitterbug

On the kitchen rug

He threw her under one arm, then tossed her neath the other,

With her face aglow, she'd forget she was wife and mother

Instead she was a young girl, caught up in the dance.

There was a sparkle in her eye, and the flash of old romance.

And you'd see the kind of couple, that would make you stop and stare,

You'd see a man and woman who had learned to love and share.

You could hear it in their music, as well as in their laughter,

And although the dance is done, the memory stays after.

Approaching Year 62

More 50th Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Alternatives to the format I used could be to assemble your book with little captions or a short paragraph or two describing the memories, the occasions, the feelings, etc. Having the grandchildren draw pictures and write a few words about their time spent with their grandparents would be a delightful addition too.

Contact old friends that have shared their journey even though they may have lost touch over the years as well as new and current friends.  Have each of them write a short tribute or share a story and compile them all in a gold scrap book.  Ask them for photographs of times shared or of themselves then and now to add to the album.  

Create a musical collection of the tunes they have danced to or sung along with over the years - the golden oldies as well as the music they enjoy from more recent and current artists.  A musical montage of their five decades together.

My parents have a lot of photographs and they are assembled and displayed in albums but the8 1/2 x 11 book of pictures and accompanying words meant more to them then I could ever have guessed it would and no amount of money I could have spent on them would have provided a more well received gift!

The benefit I received from putting the book of poetry together was a deep appreciation for the lives they provided all of us and for a childhood rich with experience and memories.   The benefit my parents received was they felt acknowledged and appreciated. 


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    • profile image

      Malinda 3 years ago

      It's really great that people are sharing this inroamftion.

    • profile image

      Kiana 3 years ago

      Wait, I cannot fathom it being so stdwfghtioraarr.

    • profile image

      Evaline 3 years ago

      Great inshgit. Relieved I'm on the same side as you.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Great idea and very touching. A much better gift than more clutter for their home. By 50 years most have everything material that they need.