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How to Commemorate the First Day of School

09/09/2013 02:06 pm ET | Updated Nov 09, 2013

The first day of school is a pretty big deal. And commemorating it has always been important too, though maybe it wasn't always done in as organized a fashion as it is now. When I was growing up, maybe my parents thought to take a picture of me on the first day of school. Maybe. And even then, if the photo wasn't dated right away, it eventually wound up in the slush pile of general childhood photos. Whether it was second or third grade was impossible to tell. But now, we live in a different time. Parents everywhere are determined to commemorate this special day for their kids, and they're doing it right. Read below for some of the best first day commemoration ideas out there right now!

Label It
The way this works is you write "first day of school" and your child's impending grade on a sign. Take a photo of your child holding that sign so that when you look back at the photo years later, determining which grade they're in won't be an entire afternoon's activity! I've seen signs made by using all different mediums: chalkboards, poster boards, construction paper, construction paper in picture frames, even iPads and photoshop.

Paint It
If you want something you can hang on the wall or frame but a sign pic isn't your vibe, why not try a silhouette print to commemorate the big day? Many printing presses make them. All you have to do is email them a photo of your child, tell them what info you'd like included on the print, and in exchange, presto! You'll get back artwork both memorable and unique. You can do a silhouette yourself too by taping paper or canvas on the wall and tracing your little one's head with a pencil. Then you can fill it in with paint and stencil whatever words and dates you'd like.

Write It
Often by the time kids get to the end of a school year, it's hard for them to remember a time when they were less wise and a few inches shorter. A good way to track their development is to have them write a letter to themselves on the first day of school, replete with a photo, and again on the last. Have them answer the same questions for each letter like: What's your favorite TV show, what do you think you'll like (what did you like) most about ___ grade? Then, compare the two notes to see just how much they've changed.

Capture It
This one definitely wins interactive points if that's what you're going for. Invite friends and relatives over to see your son or daughter off in the morning. And while you've got them, record them each congratulating your kid on their milestone and turn it into a video. Watch it together years later with a box of tissues and some popcorn!

Press It
This one I absolutely adore. Buy a good old-fashioned flower press, let your kid pick out their flower of choice from the florist, and press that baby in their new flower press along with the date, occasion, and class year. Follow suit every year and make a beautiful scrap book to pass down.

In order to take that trip down memory lane later, start planning now. Happy first day of school!

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of Gifts.com and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.