I’m a huge fan of giving photos and photo-related presents at Christmas, especially to family members. My parents love to tell me how they need absolutely nothing and not to spend a dime — not the best way to plan my gift list.
My oldest is a senior in high school this year, so I’ll definitely be doing some nice, big prints to give all four sets of grandparents this year. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, so it’s OK to not have his siblings in the picture. I hope. The storyboard up there is likely what I’ll be framing to give to them, although I’m not 100 percent certain if those are the pictures (and text) I’ll be using. Pink Ink Studios has some great storyboard templates for sale (although you need to be comfortable with Adobe Photoshop and layers to use them), if you want to make some of your own. I like to get mine printed at either MPix or Scrapbook Pictures. To save a little money, I try to make sure I use standard sizes so I can buy a ready-made frame and mat instead of having to spring for custom framing (it’s also a great timesaver, if you are in a hurry).
I love combining cute with useful, so photo calendars are another favorite gift on my list. There are tons of services available that let you plug your photos into ready-made calendars (Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, FedEx Office/fka Kinkos, Zazzle). Or you can buy a digital scrapbooking kit that will let you do the same thing. I prefer the kits, because you have more control over the final product. I’m a huge fan of the calendar kits from Shabby Miss Jenn Designs and the Shabby Princess. I’ve bought from both sites and been delighted with the final product every time. Probably my favorites are the CD-case calendars. They’re compact in size and so useful, sure to be a hit.
While you’re checking out all those great digital scrapbooking products, be sure to give a thought to some of the ready-made album kits. I used a brag-book album kit from the Shabby Princess one year to make a year-in-review book for my grandmother’s stocking (as well as for some members of our extended family).
You can use a kit or take the digital scrapbooking pages you’ve been working on all year and put them in an album to give, or make a really memorable gift by getting them made into a book. Not only will it impress your recipient but it’ll make a great family heirloom that can be enjoyed for years to come. Several of the sites mentioned above offer some form of book but this year I’m getting mine through Inkubook. The folks over there were kind enough to point out to me that they’ve got a special through Nov. 30: buy one 11×11 book and get another free! So you can give one and keep one or — if you’re like me — have two to give so no grandmother is left out. *wink*
My father-in-law collects stamps, so it was a no brainer to buy him some personalized stamps for Christmas one year. We’d had portraits done with the extended family to commemorate the in-laws 40th wedding anniversary, to it was great to have some stamps made with images from those sessions. (We had permission from the photographer to do so; be sure to keep in mind copyrights when using any photographs taken by others.) I’ve used both PhotoStamps and Zazzle for my stamp printing with great results. I tend to prefer Zazzle slightly because they let you use true vertical photos, which is a must for me.
And, while it’s technically not made by hand, I have to give a shout out to the coolest photo gift I’ve given my folks in the past few years: a Ceiva digital photo frame. Yeah, we’ve all seen digital frames but the Ceiva is a bit different. It connects to the Internet (either through your computer, a phone line or your home wireless network) and downloads photos sent to the recipient’s account. It requires a monthly subscription (or you can pay a lesser fee annually) and the wireless thing is a separate piece of hardware, but I can’t tell you how great it is to be able to snap a photo of the kids, upload it to Ceiva and know my parents can view it on a frame in their livingroom almost instantaneously. (Make it more crafty by creating a digital scrapbook to the frame’s dimensions.)
Thankful: 21. Date night with Honey. 22. Netflix. 23. Always fun phone calls from mother-in-law 1.0. 24. A peaceful, napping four year old.