It’s that time of year again! Time to shop ‘til your drop, finding all the perfect gifts for your friends and loved ones. While the joy of giving is certainly enough fuel to keep us going through the season, finding just the right presents can be a lot of work. And it can also be tough on your wallet.
Creating personalized printed gifts out of your photo collections is a great way to give something meaningful and special, without breaking the bank.
You already have all the materials you need: a lifetime of memories and the photos to match. Spending a little time putting them together into keepsakes is fun and rewarding, and a nice break from the shopping routine.
Here are a few gift ideas I’ve used in the past that brought joy to the recipients’ faces:
1. ABCs Children’s Book
Put together photos of your child’s (or niece’s, nephew’s, etc.) favorite people, places and things, in the order of the alphabet. A is for Aunt Jennifer; B is for Bath time; C is for candles (show birthday cake); D is for Daddy; etc. It adds a personal touch to bedtime stories, and is a great item to bring to show and tell! My kids loved the book I made for them and read it over and over.
2. Why I Love You
Pick 12 to 24 photos that represent a person that you love and tell them why. I love when you laugh; I love when you dance; I love when we take time in nature; etc. This is a perfect gift for a husband or wife to show them how much they mean to you.
3. Lessons You Taught Me
Pick a series of photos that reflect the lessons your parents or someone special in your life taught you. You taught me how to love, play ball, laugh, cook, clean, etc. This is a great gift for aging parents. They will love to see all the photos you have with them through the years and take a walk down memory lane.
4. My Wish for You
Use the lyrics from a song such as Rascal Flatts “My Wish for You” and create an album for your teenager, sharing all of your aspirations for them. Choose pictures that show them growing up as the book goes on, highlighting all they’ve accomplished so far. It’s a great way to show your children how proud you are of them as they grow into young adults.
Of course, the people in your life are probably inspiring enough for you to think of unique gift albums for each of them. Be creative and have fun, and whatever theme you dream up will be a cherished reflection on your relationships and shared experiences.
And remember: these don’t have to take a lot of time! With a bit of planning and 12 to 24 photos, you can make a book as a holiday gift in a few hours. As I always say, “Done is better than perfect.” Your friends and family will appreciate the personal touch far more than they will notice any imperfections.
Cathi Nelson is founder and president of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (Appo), and her own photo organizing business, PhotoSimplified. Cathi has been helping people organize their photos for over 17 years. Through Appo, Cathi is now teaching others to do the same. Appo provides support and education for entrepreneurs looking to build a photo organizing business, and educates the public on the need for photo organizing services. To learn more, visit appo.org.