Daughter’s Favorite First Keepsake Gift and Traditions
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Every year on my daughters’ birthdays, my husband and I partake in a few traditions that are bit unconventional for most families.
We love to throw birthday parties for our girls. For us, it’s a great time to celebrate our child’s birth with our friends and family who are closest to our children.
We also don’t buy our girls toys or other wrapped gifts but instead we buy something else for the girls that, to us, is more special.
This gift is something that our daughters will treasure for the rest of their lives.
Rather than getting a toy that can break or will be thrown out, we buy our girls a pearl.
We buy this special pearl from the company Add-A-Pearl.
“A Gift As Precious As The Memories It Celebrates”
These pearls will eventually come together to make a necklace. The strand of pearls will be complete by the time they are 18.
This keepsake gift is something that they will cherish for the rest of their life, and they will have had it since they were babies.
I’m excited to see the pearl necklace grow with each passing year, and I can’t wait to give my girls their completed necklace when they are older.
Related: The Ultimate Gift Guide For Girls
My husband and I also don’t buy greeting cards for my daughters’ birthdays. Instead we write hand-written letters to our girls on a plain white sheet of paper.
My husband and I actually started exchanging hand written letters to one another instead of greeting cards when we first got married. We felt it was more personal, and now we do it for each holiday (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Anniversaries and Birthdays).
So, we also started to do it with our children. However, we don’t actually give our kids the letter.
Instead, we have put the letters away in a fireproof safe. Since we started writing these letters when our girls turned 1 year old, there was no need to give it to them since they couldn’t read.
We put each of our letters away and will collect them until they are 18. When they turn 18, adulthood, we will give the birthday letters and the pearl necklace to them as one large keepsake gift.
To us these letters are so much more special than a greeting card. We spend time writing about our favorite memories we had over the past year, milestones, personality traits and blessings.
I look forward to one day going back and rereading what we wrote from years past.
For our family, these small things are most special for us during our daughters’ birthdays. It is also wonderful to have friends and family gather together to celebrate, give keepsakes and make memories!
I want to share my letter with you that I just wrote to my daughter who is turning 1 this month. She is my fourth child, and I am so blessed to have her in my life. I want her to know that, and I share that in my letter to her. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
(By the way, these letters are actually handwritten when completed)
Letter To My 1 Year Old Girl
Happy 1st Birthday, Natalya!
I am so excited to be celebrating your 1st birthday with you. You have grown up so quickly right before my eyes. And even though you grew up so quickly, I want you to know that I have cherished every possible moment over the past year with you.
You are my baby girl, my 4th daughter, and I made every possible effort to treat you like you were my firstborn! I always wanted you to feel special, taken care of and loved.
With every milestone, every special occasion and every new adventure, I was there to watch, take pictures and cherish the memory because I might not ever have this experience with a baby ever again.
Your first smile, the first time you learned to sit up (in my bedroom with the play mat), your first food (with Grancy in SC), your first time crawling (with your sisters encouraging you), your first word (mama), and your first steps holding daddy’s hands (you’re not quite walking yet, but I know you will get there soon. There’s no rush!)
One of my absolute favorite memories I had with you this past year was when we took you to New York City to see the Macy’s Day parade. It was quite an adventure. You were absolutely amazing. You stayed bundled up either in the Bjorn carrier or the car seat. Even with the freezing temperatures, you loved going out to explore the city with the rest of the family. You made that trip so special.
And even before going to New York City, we took you to Myrtle Beach when you were 2 months old! You are quite the traveler! Even though you were too young to really enjoy the beach, you kept me company under the shaded umbrella. You sure did look adorable in your little pink bathing suit. Well, you looked so cute in whatever you were wearing!
Natalya, you are beautiful in so many ways. Over the past 12 months you have changed from having tiny little grey eyes to great big round brown eyes, and from no hair to wispy brown hair. Everyone comments on your big round eyes. You are so beautiful!
I have been very fortunate to be home with your during this past year. I have enjoyed every waking minute with you, playing with you on the floor, tickling you, dancing with you and singing to you.
I absolutely love to hold you every night before going to bed. You weren’t the biggest fan of sitting still while mommy read you a book, but if you had a toy in your hand, you loved to sit through any books with baby faces in them.
You were very routine. From the day you were born, we would read to you, pray over you, hold you and sing you our bedtime songs (“Jesus Loves Me” and “Sleepy Baby”). You loved it.
Since you were little, as little as 3 months old, you would go to sleep in your crib at 7:30 pm sharp! Wow, what a sleeper you were. Sleeping from 7:30 pm to 9:00 am almost every day as an infant. You sure were a blessing to me!
I love to get you up in the morning. You always had the biggest smile on your face like you were so happy to see me. But to be honest, I think you were more happy to see your older sisters.
They love to greet you with big hugs and kisses and you would kiss them right back, wide toothless mouth and all.
Speaking of teeth, you just got your first tooth a month ago (11 months old). But that didn’t ever stop you from eating a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one that was not cut up into bite- sized pieces. You sure were an eater.
Your favorite foods are bananas and pasta! But when you didn’t like a certain food, you definitely let us know it. You have a strong arm and you would give us that stiff arm the moment you decided “no”.
Some of your favorite things were fingerling stuffed monkeys, little people toys, baby books, the song “Baby Shark”, your sister Aryanna singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” every morning, your sister “Alayna” giving you hugs and kisses and your sister Makayla holding you.
You absolutely loved to cuddle with your daddy, but the times that you were most excited to be with your daddy was when he got home from work. After being away from daddy all day, you would light up the moment he walked in the door and your eyes were glued to him.
As you got older, you became very attached to me and would cry the moment I got up from the chair sitting next to you or the moment I walked away from the play room. We have a very strong bond, and I love that about us.
I know that we will always have a special love for one another, and I am so excited for what God has planned in your life.
God has blessed you in so many ways, in ways that I don’t even know. But I do know that you are blessed and God has a special plan for you. I pray that you grow up filled with the Holy Spirit inside of you and that you will be a strong follower of Christ.
My role as your mom is to teach you and guide you in every possible way. I promise to be there for you no matter what life brings your way. I promise to teach you and protect you. I will forever love you as my daughter, and I want you to know that I love you more and more with each passing day.
Love, Your Mommy
I would love to hear from you. What are your traditions with your children? Have you done anything special with your little baby on their first birthday? Share your ideas and comment below.
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.