Masthead header

Graduation

Image from: Angela L.’s Mother’s Day AwesomeBox

Graduation season is a big deal for students and families alike. This spring, close to two million students will walk across the stage to receive a Bachelor’s degree—and many, many more will don a cap and gown to celebrate achievements ranging from kindergarten certificates to high school diplomas and beyond.

That means millions of parents, grandparents, siblings, family friends, teachers, tutors, and mentors, all crowded into gymnasiums or huddled under tents, fanning themselves in the heat (or possibly trying to avoid the rain)—and all of them are expected to bring a gift.

It’s a centuries-old tradition—the first university graduation was over 800 years ago, but humans have been marking accomplishments with ceremonies since civilization began—and yet, it’s still one we struggle with.

How can we celebrate such a significant moment with something so simple as a gift?

Celebrate Graduation, Not Just Graduation Day

Many of the gifts given on graduation day are meant to mark the moment of graduation—the exact day a person achieved something great. However, that’s not all that graduation is meant to celebrate. It’s a special day to be sure—but above all else, graduation is a time to celebrate an achievement and all of the effort that went into making it happen.

We come together on graduation day not simply to note that a marker has been met, but rather, to reflect on all of the hard work and sweat and determination that brought our graduate to his place. What better way to celebrate the milestones than by compiling them in own beautiful keepsake full of inside jokes, fond memories, and heartfelt sentiments from friends and family?

Awesome Box: The Perfect Graduation Gift

Gift for graduation

Shay H-P.’s To Show Her That We Love Her AwesomeBox

With AwesomeBox, you and your loved ones can collaborate to create a graduation gift that your grad will treasure—and that will serve as a reminder of exactly how much they worked to get where they are, and all of the little moments that happened along the way. Invite as many people as you like to collaborate by adding pictures, messages, stories, and memories. Whether it’s photos from her college roommate of an all-night cramming session fueled by pizza or that moment he finally mastered long division under Grandpa’s tutelage, your graduate’s AwesomeBox will capture the steps that lead them from the first day of school to that moment the Dean called their name.

We were told that there’s nothing more special than the moment that an AwesomeBox recipient opens their box to see the love and care that went into creating something that’s uniquely theirs—and never is that more true than on a day that’s meant to celebrate a long road. Even those aunties, sisters, and childhood friends who couldn’t be physically there for the graduation day ceremony can contribute to the box, ensuring that your graduate feels the love and pride from everyone who was there for the journey.

No matter the age of the graduate in your life—whether they’re about to enter the real world, or just matriculate on to the first grade—after they shake hands with an administrator (who hopefully pronounces their name correctly!) and move their tassel, you want to be ready with a gift that will show how truly proud you are. Mark the many milestones that got your graduate where they are with a gift they’ll treasure long after their big day.

That a question couldn’t be easier for us to answer. Our AwesomeBox hosts and recipients make it crystal clear to us how fortunate we are. They tell us, in their own words, just about every day:

“I have to tell you that this box, received yesterday, was one of the best gifts I have ever received.  I lost my 36 year old son 9 months ago. April is our birthday month!  My husband’s is 4/1, mine 4/6 and my son’s was 4/17.  Every year, we had a month long celebration, so with this being the first birthday month without him, you can probably imagine the heartbreak I was feeling.  I think I almost ruined the box, the tears just fell and fell onto each card I read.  This box, this gift, let me know that my family and friends are still there for me, that they understood how difficult this birthday would be for me and for that I am so grateful. Thank you, for your creativity, and for the innovation of such an amazing company. Best gift ever!”

-Shared with Lisa’s permission.

Friends and family often ask, “How are things with AwesomeBox?” The answer is never further away than our customers’ personal stories and the impact that AwesomeBox has had on them.

“Things at AwesomeBox are incredible.”

 

AwesomeBox-ParadeMagazine

Today, with the help of Parade Magazine, we are thrilled to introduce the newest addition to the AwesomeBox family: the 10-card AwesomeBox! With our 10-card box, you’ll receive the same high quality, fully customizable cards to deliver your meaningful messages—all for $19. 

Just like our original AwesomeBox, this small-yet-mighty option is a beautiful, memorable keepsake for friends and family to create together!

Enjoy creating new AwesomeBox and let us know how you like it in the comments.

Mother

Written by: Hanna Brooks Olsen

As a child, you tried so hard to make Mother’s Day special. Unfortunately, your breakfast-in-bed attempt resulted in a ruined frying pan and a sink full of dishes. And while Mom definitely appreciated the effort that went into that necklace made of Cheerios, it didn’t exactly match her style. Now that you’re an adult, picking a meaningful Mother’s Day gift is just as important—and can feel just as difficult.

Fortunately, as an adult, you have the benefit of hindsight, a deeper and more understanding relationship with your mom, and the internet at your disposal, which means you have the potential to create and give a unique gift that she’ll treasure forever.

To come up with the perfect gift, it’s a good idea to borrow an idea from your younger self and make it better. Even if the execution wasn’t perfect, your handmade childhood Mother’s Day gifts were special to your mom not because they were particularly artful, but because you made them with her in mind. As your tiny fingers sculpted that shapeless lump of PlayDoh, she knew you were making something specifically for her.

How to make a memorable Mother’s Day gift when you are grown-up?

Here’s a secret about moms: While they do love beautiful things, they also love beautiful sentiments. And if you can combine the two? Your gift will be special, unique—and delightful. Yes, a piece of jewelry is always appreciated (particularly when it’s not made of breakfast foods), but what truly makes a memorable gift for Mom is the knowledge that you, her sweet child, were thinking of her the whole time.

With AwesomeBox, you and the collaborators of your choice can create a beautiful, thoughtful gift that will let Mom know how much you care through meaningful words, photos, and memories. Invite her friends, your siblings, or anyone else special to her, and together, we’ll help you build a beautifully-designed piece that will truly make this Mother’s Day a memorable event.

We’ve heard from our customers that there’s nothing quite like the moment that their loved one opens their AwesomeBox. Immediately, they’re overwhelmed with not only the special memories that come with so many long-forgotten photos and kind words—they also feel the warmth of friends and family who spent time creating such a significant item.

You may not have always had the tools (or motor skills) to make your mom the unique, special gift you always knew she deserved—but you do now. This Mother’s Day, take a page out of your old playbook by creating something just for her.

happy kids

by Rachel Wilkinson

One night, a few months ago, my very young nephew did not want to go to bed. I scooped him up and tucked him into warm covers, but he was having none of it. He wanted to be downstairs where the adults were telling stories.

So I told one to him. I described a day, a beautiful day in a shining meadow. There’s a picnic. And all his friends are there. “…and Neal is there, and Sierra is there, and Auntie Rachel is there, and….” I listed us all. His eyes glowed, and he couldn’t stop smiling as he stared at the ceiling and imagined it—in a field, playing games, with everyone in the world that he loves.

There’s something in this story that’s gentle, and calming, and old. Centuries ago, this was how we lived: in tight-knit groups of people whom we knew our whole lives long, in a dark cluster of houses with the wilderness beyond. It was a bit stinky, maybe, but we were safe, and we were loved.

Today, we’re dispersed around the globe. Where once we would have seen a few dozen familiar faces for decades, now we see hundreds every day. Every interaction is a new opportunity to be cool, right? But I sometimes miss that enclosed, safe place where everybody knows me. 

AwesomeBox Birthday Card

Image: From Shuchi’s Birthday AwesomeBox

Recently, I spoke with Shuchi, whose husband created an Awesomebox for her birthday. On a Friday night, gathered with friends around a big corner table at Lola’s restaurant, she felt rather than saw the commotion a few seats away. Many hands passed a bag to her. She reached inside, took out a white box with her own smiling face on it, and opened it. Picture after picture, she pulled out the people in her life she cared most about.

“This is awesome!”

She recalled being surprised, happy and grateful. Everyone at the table, all contributors to the Awesomebox, got big hugs. They expected her to cry, but she didn’t. She was, she says, too happy.

First thing the next morning, though, and without waking kids or husband, she curled up on her couch with her box and went through it again, slowly and with care.  She examined each image and read what her people had written. “Oh my god, this is from my friends all across the world,” she realized.  

“This time, there were tears rolling down my face. I was really happy. I felt really thankful that I had so many people who loved me, people from across the globe, and it was like they were there for me. Every card I read, I had tears rolling down. I spent an hour re-reading it.”

That evening, Shuchi had her girlfriends over for tequila—another gathering, another celebration. Once more, the box came out to tell Shuchi’s story. Everyone wanted one; they had never seen anything like it. On Monday, it went to work so colleagues could hear and see. Even Shuchi’s father in Pune, India viewed the box on the website. “And then I had a happy dad.” All over the globe, friends and family had collaborated to send love on her birthday.

“People sitting across the world—you don’t feel like that anymore. It’s like the person is with you from so far away.”

Every time you open it, every picture you pull out, and each word you read takes you back to your village.