Gift Idea: Retirement Countdown

Is it just me, or are the men on your list the hardest to buy for?
Every year, I do pretty well brainstorming for my mom, my mother-in-law, the grandmothers, and my girlfriends.  I even thought I came up with a pretty great idea for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend who I barely know.  Basically, the only thing I know about her is that she loves horseback riding…she and her twin sister actually have a stable where they give lessons.  So, I made up this dictionary pendant:
{PS: Custom dictionary pendants are now available in my Etsy shop; you can get any definition and up to 5 charms!}

But when it comes to the men in my life, I’m stumped! 
Hubby is pretty easy because he just tells me everything he wants.  But my dad, well, he says he doesn’t want anything.  Except that he wants something.  My grandfather {dad’s dad} used to say he just liked to have a package to open, you didn’t even have to put anything inside.  One year I remember wrapping up a penny for him along with his ‘real’ gifts.  My dad, on the other hand, says “I want something to open…but I want something in the box too!”  He just won’t say what.  He buys whatever he needs, has everything he could want, except for one thing.
He wants to retire.
His job is one that requires a lot of tough physical labor and also requires him to be out in the elements.  He works in extreme heat and extreme cold, and often has to be up on a scaffold.  And he’s wanted to be retired for about as long as I can remember.  The good news is, he’ll finally be old enough in March.  Which means that he can sign up at the end of February.  He’s been counting down for years, but now it’s really getting close.  To help him celebrate, I decided that one fun gift for him would be a
Retirement Countdown.
It was really easy and super-cheap, but I think it’s going to mean the world to him. 
Here’s how I {we} did it.
4 small wooden blocks
1 small wooden plaque
acrylic paints and paintbrushes
Mod Podge
puff paint in squeeze bottle {optional}
STEP 1: Paint plaque and blocks desired colors and let dry.  Little Crafter loved helping.
STEP 2: Once base coat is dry, paint numbers on blocks and lettering on plaque.
I put 1-6 on two blocks and 7, 8, 9, 0 on the other two plus a star and a heart to take up the extra sides.  I freehanded the numbers with a thin brush, but used puff paint in a squeeze bottle for the lettering.  You could also use rub-ons or vinyl.
STEP 3: Once all paint is dry, seal with a coat of Mod Podge or acrylic spray.
Now your countdown is ready to use!  If I know my dad, he’ll be putting it on the kitchen table right next to where he sits and turning the blocks at breakfast before he leaves for work each day.  My thought was that the numbers closest to the plaque would show the countdown.  But, if he prefers to put it on his dresser or somewhere else where he’ll be looking down at it from above, that works too!
The actual number when he receives it on Christmas day will be 66…and counting!
This would also be a great gift for someone who is counting down to graduation, a wedding, a baby’s birth, an adoption, a move, the end of the school year, or any other major life event.  Who do you know that would like a tangible way to count the days to their special moment?
Happy Crafting!

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  1. Amy, this is the cutest! I think he will LOVE it. You’ve taken something that is so very important to him and incorporated a gift out of the desire. So great, thanks.

  2. That’s a great idea! Men really are so difficult to shop for! I remember when you first posted the dictionary page pendant and I loved it! I made a few last months as gifts.


  3. ugh, I agree. Men are soo hard to shop for. I made my husband write a list otherwise I would be so stumped. Girls are so much easier and more fun to shop for 🙂

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