Last summer and this summer our family was very fortunate in that we had two very special (and rare) occasions occur that called for parties to be thrown! Both my parents and my parents-in-law celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries with much fanfare (ok, so it was mostly from their family and close friends).

While I love to plan a party, and especially one for such loved people, I always find it difficult to decide on a gift idea for those who have everything, and need or want nothing. Even though these celebrations are meant to bring family and friends together and are not for receiving gifts, I do love to bring some sort of token of appreciation and love, especially if it is something that may bring about special thoughts and significance to someone.

For my parents and my in-laws, I knew that they would think it was pretty neat to have their special occasions recognized by the leader of our country, Canada, which is our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. By simply planning in advance (approximately 6 weeks), and filling out an online form found here, you can request free birthday or anniversary greetings from the current Prime Minister (note that this is not just from Prime Minister Trudeau; any currently serving Prime Minister would offer the same greetings).

Birthday greetings are available for 65th birthdays and up, at 5 year intervals. Wedding anniversary greetings are available for 25 years and up, also at 5 year intervals. If you are planning this as a surprise for someone, you can even have it delivered to you so that you can present it yourself on the date. You can get more information on the Prime Minister’s website.

Because the certificate is not a typical photo-size, I had to find a document-size frame for it, which I did easily at Walmart for about $22.

Another celebratory greeting that can be requested for free for Canadians is from our Governor General, and you can do this online as well at this link.

“The Governor General sends messages to Canadians who are 90 years of age or older and to couples who are celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more.”

Our current Governor General is His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and his role as Governor General of Canada is to be the representative of the Queen in Canada. This fall, Julie Payette will be sworn in as our new Governor General.



And for those very very very special occasions, you can even request a free congratulatory message from the Queen!

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sends messages to Canadians who are 100 years of age or older and to couples who are celebrating an anniversary of 60 years or more.”

On the other hand, for your religious loved ones who would appreciate a blessing from Pope Francis, you can also request a Papal Blessing Parchment right from the Vatican!

Papal Blessings are available for a variety of celebrations; as per the website:

“The Apostolic Blessing is granted for the following occasions:

1. Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation
2. Marriage
3. Priestly Ordination
4. Religious Profession
5. Secular Consecration
6. Ordinations of Permanent Deacons
7. Marriage Anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years)*
, Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession
8. Birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)*
9. Catholic individuals* or families*
(with name and surname of the spouses united in a religious marriage).”

You can download the request form from the website and then fax it in to the Office of Papal Charities. You get to choose from 7 languages what language you would like your Papal Blessing in…I chose Portuguese, as I figured my parents would love that.

Make your request at least a month in advance, as it does get shipped to you from the Vatican, and then you will need time to frame it as well. The parchment is not a standard size, so I found a simple gold frame that was big enough for it and then I had a custom white mat cut for it, all at Michael’s.

Although the Papal Blessing gets sent to you for no fee, included with it will be a suggested amount for a donation to the Papal Charities. The amount will be to cover the costs of the parchment and the courier fees. I believe my amount was approximately 30-40 Euros, which can be paid online.

Getting all three of these envelopes in the mail sure makes for a fun mail-week! (I felt super important even though they were totally not even for me)

Once you have all of the lovely messages framed, you can then use them as decor to decorate your party space! After the party, they can go adorn the walls of your loved ones’ home as a reminder of their special day…

My smart sister had another idea for a unique gift that can be useful (because who doesn’t need more pillows, right? Give me all the pillows!)…. These fun personalized pillow covers from Thirty-One Gifts were a hit!

You get to choose the colours you want and what you want it to say, and you can preview how it will look online before you order! Check out these personalized pillow covers here.

The pillow insert was a perfect size and a great price from Ikea.

Don’t forget the balloons!! You always need balloons for a party!

Happy celebrating!! xoxo