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A few years ago, I organised a party for my Mum’s 70th birthday. She is the youngest of eleven children, therefore it became a mini family reunion. We were catching up with some cousins for the first time since the 1980s! So, I wanted it to be more than just another family barbecue.

Also, it was only a few years since the death of my oldest sister. Because of that, I wanted to make this special for Mum. I saw it as an opportunity to say thank you for our unique, adventurous childhood. A way to celebrate her years on this earth and acknowledge everything she had achieved.

So, my siblings and I poured an enormous amount of time, energy and effort into creating something memorable. Our way of saying thank you for all the birthdays and events she had made special for us. So we planned to give a memento to all the guests. A reminder of their adventures with Mum. A celebration of her seventy years.

Best laid plans

I had plans. Great plans. For the decorations, the food, and the fun family activities where we would all laugh in a casual, relaxed manner. Like one of those happy, well-balanced families that you see on TV. Much as I would love to tell you that story, it’s not mine. Because my story involves being crazy with stress. Not showering or sleeping for days. And thinking so much about the sandwiches that I forgot to take the guest gift bags.

As a result, I ended up surrounded by multiple mementos of my mother’s seventy years. While I quietly crossed event planning off my potential career list, I started thinking about alternative gifts. I needed an idea that wouldn’t require me to sell a kidney on the black market, just to afford the postage.

First of all, it had to be easy to create. Also, budget friendly to produce and post. Furthermore, it should be something that could be unique for each guest. Something relevant to each person’s relationship with my mother. Sounds impossible, right?

My light bulb moment

Things I love. Books. Making things with pieces of paper. Documenting the past and present for future generations. The eureka moment should have been the most noteworthy event. But I think I was doing the dishes when I put it all together. A bookmark. My mini family reunion gift should have been a bookmark. Hindsight, always such a smartie.

Do people still use bookmarks? Does it even matter? Because people collect things they never use. Such as coins, stamps, and postcards. My grandmother even had a teaspoon collection while not one of those ever stirred a cup of tea. We all have little mementos of events or trips that we keep to remind us of a person or an event.

Why bookmarks? They are easy to make. Budget-friendly. Simple or fancy. So versatile. Single-sided. Two-sided. With a photo, or two. Add a simple family tree, a story or a quote. So unique.

Hosting a family reunion?

Are you looking for a budget-friendly family reunion gift? Have you considered a bookmark? Since they are so easy to make then you can create a few options without blowing your budget.

Looking for ideas to begin? Consider these ideas to help your family celebrate:

  • Do you have quality photos of a family? Then create a set of bookmarks of each member. Make these two-sided with a story or family tree on the back
  • Celebrating one particular couple? Add their photos, names, and date of marriage. Make it two-sided with a list of their children on the reverse side.
  • Maybe you are holding the reunion on a family property? Consider using a historic photo matched with a present day image of the property, then add the date/s and details of the event.
  • Maybe there is an artist in your family? An illustration or painting would make a wonderful background for the date and details of your family reunion.
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Examples showing single-sided bookmarks using different colours to show family lines

Need more ideas? Then try Google, Pinterest (or your favourite search engine). Type in family reunion bookmarks then hit go and check out the images for inspiration. While those designs belong to someone you can still use them to inspire your own creativity.

Create your family reunion bookmark

Excited about the idea but not sure about the next steps? The good news is that you have a few options!

  • Buy a template or artwork from an online marketplace (such as Etsy)
  • Hire a graphic designer to create something for your event
  • Create your own artwork in PowerPoint or Canva or similar.
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Looking for a template? Try my ancestor bookmark template on Etsy.

The production phase

Depending on the quantity that you need there are a few options here as well.

  • Print-at-home
  • Visit a print shop or office supply store
  • Use a trusted online printer

Make sure that you get a quote before outsourcing the printing.

Ancestor Bookmark template

Since I love bookmarks so much, I have released my first template. A PowerPoint template with a 20-page guide to step you through everything required to make your own bookmarks for personal use or as a family reunion gift.

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The Ancestor Bookmark template available in two-sizes. Also, includes a 20-page quick guide with a step-by-step through the process.

I’d love it if you would join the fun and subscribe to the mailing list. Select templates or printables are available for free download with every newsletter. Or like me on Facebook to catch sneak peeks of templates in progress.

Keen on genealogy?

While you are here, take a look at my all-in-one genealogy worksheet free download. Or give me your thoughts on the family history book layout I’m working on.

Share your creations

Whether you use my template or create your own, I’d love to see your family reunion bookmarks. Upload a pic on Facebook, or send to

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