This year I wanted to give gifts that were a little more heart felt and personal. As I started thinking about what I would do or make, I realized how many wonderful photos I have that are sitting on my computer where no one can enjoy them! I created fabulous list of photo gift ideas. So this Christmas I am extending a challenge to myself and to all of you to dig into your archives and use your photos as gifts!
To give you some photo gift ideas, I will share a few that I am working on, as well as a top 20 list that the other contributors and I have compiled of our favorite photo gift ideas. Many of these are projects that only take a couple of hours to prepare, and if you start soon you should be able to complete them in time for Christmas!
Unique photo gift ideas
1. Photo cards & tags. I have done these in years past and everyone I give them to loves them! They add a little personal touch to a gift. To make them, I took photos of things that represent Christmas, then printed them with my inkjet printer (or you can use a lab) and glued them to some cardstock. Easy! I also saw this ideaChristmas craftiness and creative gift wrapping ideas on Pinterest for using photos on gifts.
2. Photos in a box. Courtney wanted to do a gift for her parents that she could add to each year. She chose her top 10 photos from the year, printed/mounted them as 8×10’s and included an easel for displaying them, and a storage box to hold them. Her parents can swap out the photos for display throughout the year. You can either get the storage boxes from The Frame Destination or Paper Coterie has darling ones that you can personalize! For more on this project check out photography gift ideas.
3. Mini Accordian Album. These are great for Grandma gifts or to put in your purse to show everyone you meet!
They can be ordered through Miller’s Lab, White House Custom Color, or Simply Color Lab to name a few. Templates can be found by doing a google search under “mini accordion album templates”. Several designers on Etsy and others offer inexpensive downloadable designs that you can customize in Photoshop, then order through a lab. I did this one for a client using a design from Melissa Davis Designs.
4. Favorite things book. I came across this idea, photo books from Megan at Mousehouse. Basically you take photos of your child’s favorite things and people, add letters to the photos if they are easy to read objects (ie. can use scrabble letters or alphabet blocks) and print them in a book through an online book printing company like Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Blurb.
I tweaked this project slightly and did an alphabet book for my one year old. I incorporated favorite people and everyday objects around the house to teach him common words. I wanted the pages to be more durable (plastic) so he could touch them with his slobbery fingers. So I found this 5×7 album for 5.95 with plastic pages. Then I glued on my son’s initials to personalize it.
I looked through my archives and pulled photos that represented different letters/word, and took more photos as needed to fill the alphabet. Then I brought the images into Photoshop, cropped for a 5×7 (or you could do a 4×6 album/photos), then added the letter and word to each photo.
Then I printed the photos and slipped them into the plastic album pages. This is great for a more portable version you can keep in your purse for use at doctor’s visits, in church, or wherever you need to entertain your child momentarily!
Another version of this cute project is this mini book of names and faces if you don’t want to format the pages yourself, and this personalized alphabet book has ideas for alphabet objects if you need inspiration on what to take photos of for your book.
5. Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas can be an especially hectic time for couples in many ways. This year I wanted to remind my husband that he is important to me, amidst the coming and going and crazy schedules. So I put together a 12 Days of Christmas surprise for him, using photos as much as possible for a personal touch. Shhh…this is top secret, so if you know my husband DO NOT TELL HIM about this post! I am hoping he doesn’t find out :)
After all my brainstorming, here’s some suggestions on things you can include (some include photos, some do not). You could also adapt these ideas for your children or another special person in your life.
Day 1. Think single item. This is usually a nicer gift since it is only one item. I printed up a gallery wrapped canvas of my kids for my husband’s office. You could also do a photo book or any of the other photo gift ideas listed in the links below.
Day 2. Think in terms of pairs. Two tickets to an event, socks, gloves, etc. I chose Utah Jazz basketball tickets so we can go out on a date night.
Day 3-6. Think in terms of packs. A pack of golf balls, razor refills, favorite 6-pack of soda. This coaster idea would be great, or I did 4 magnets of my kid’s faces on day 4 for their daddy’s white board at work. Original idea on the magnets.
These only took me an hour total to create and cost me under $5! I used the metal lids of frozen juice containers, then I made circle images the same size as the lids in Photoshop, then I print/cut them out and modge podged them onto the lids and glued a magnet on the back.
If you don’t know how to do circle images in Photoshop you can print your pics out, then measure and cut the circle the right size for your lids. Or if you have a circle punch the right size, that is ideal so the edges are clean.
Day 7-11: Think small. Doughnuts or cookies delivered to his work, post-it notes placed throughout the house with special messages or reasons why you love him. Eight free favors by your kids (make up coupons on your computer and have kids sign them). Or you can publicly praise him on day 10 by listing 10 things you love about him on your blog with some of your favorite images of him.
I discovered the other day that most men’s button-up shirts have seven buttons on them! So I plan to get him a shirt for day 7 with a note on the package that says, (Sing the song in your head) “On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a shirt with seven buttons!”
I also plan to put a sticky note on his alarm clock on day 10 that says, “10 things you do that make me laugh every time…go see bathroom mirror.” So he’ll wake up, see the note, then walk into the bathroom to see photos of us over the years stuck to the mirror, or hanging by ribbons from the ceiling, with sticky notes on the back that individually list quirky things that make us laugh or fun memories.
Some other “10 lists” you could do:
-10 of our favorite songs or pictures, or both (put on CD)
-10 things that you truly wish for him.
-10 things you love about him right now.
-10 words that best define him.
On Christmas Eve, day 11, I plan on leaving a note on his steering wheel of his car in the morning that says, “Watch for a text at 11:11a.m.” In the text I will wish him a Merry Christmas and tell him that a romantic evening awaits that night at 11:11 p.m….after the kids are in bed and milk/cookies are put out for Santa of course :) If I’m feeling ambitious I was thinking it would be fun to light 11 small candles in our bedroom that night.
Day 12: Think by the dozen. A 12 month magazine subscription to a hobby magazine, a dozen chicken wings for lunch, a dozen doughnuts or any other baked goods. Photo idea: a 12 month photo calendar for next year. A couple of my favorite online resources for calendars are Paper Coterie and Tiny Prints.
And finally, I’ll end with a list of over 20 of our favorite photo gifts you can give this year using your own photos.
12. Memory Flip Book
17. Photo tins
19. Photo Jewelry
25. Flash cards
What are some of your favorite unique photo gift ideas?