Holiday Photo Gifts from the Heart

Collage Calendar

  “The best gifts come from the heart, not the store.” ― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

If you’ve ever received the gift of a drawing, a hand written poem, or framed photo from a special event, you know the truth of that statement first hand. As the year comes to a close, we spend time with family and friends reminiscing about our adventures together. What better way to enhance the sharing of those times than with a gift that remains a visual reminder of your time together?

Here are some ideas that may just fit perfectly with someone on your list:

  1. Wall Calendar: This personalized gift is a lasting reminder of special people and events from the the past. Use photos from the current year, or go back in time and pull memories from long ago to add to the nostalgia of the calendar. Leave notes of love and encouragement throughout the year by personalizing specific days. You can even add small photos to special days, like birthdays and anniversaries, or just to share more photos.
  2. Collage Calendar: Select a handful of photos to use as the background collage to be displayed all year. Pick a special event to commemorate or a celebrate the life of a loved one with a favorite picture from each decade.
  3. Themed Photo Album: Using 50 of your favorite photos, relive memories from a recent family reunion or milestone in a beautiful book. Remember to include memorabilia like ticket stubs, invitations, or pictures of small tokens collected during the event along with the stories that will really make the album come to life.
  4. Playing Cards: If you’re in a Bunco or poker group, surprise the host with a deck of cards sporting a group photo or pick their favorite mascot or motto and put that image on the deck.xmas playing cards - Page 001
  5. Water Bottles: Isn’t it amazing where you can put a photo anymore? Use this fun gift to encourage a special friend who has changed their life by incorporating daily exercise or give one with a family photo so your loved one can smile every day at the memory invoked by the photo.
  6. Coasters: Using no more than four photos, in just a few minutes you can create and order coasters to celebrate a newly married couple, a couple celebrating a milestone anniversary, a family welcoming a new addition, your child’s favorite teacher or coach, or a neighbor who coordinates the annual block party. If you like crafts, consider making some photo coasters out of ceramic tiles from your local hardware store. Check out my Pinterest page for some instructions.

Whichever idea you choose, there’s still time! Take advantage of seasonal discounts and create your personalized gifts this weekend! If you love the idea of giving something personal but you just can’t fit the creative piece of the project in to your already busy schedule, contact me. I’d be happy to help. Happy Holidays!

Giving Memorabilia for the Holidays

"Remembering Mary" collage
“Remembering Mary”
by artist Susan J. Maxwell

Webster defines memorabilia as “things that are remarkable and worthy of remembrance; things that stir recollection or are valued or collected for their association with a particular field or interest.” The hand-made card, note, child’s art project, these items that connect to our memories hold immense value. Throwing or giving them away can feel disrespectful and cold-hearted, so we save them, and save them…and save them. Our storage rooms and households become over-crowded and cluttered. So what’s a family to do?

Consider making a gift using your treasured items.

  • For three-dimensional items like trophies and awards, you can put them in a shadow box to be hung on the wall or use a decorative box purchased from a craft or gift store and given like a treasure box.  A quick search online reveals many shadow box sizes are ready-made and available. Be sure to measure your items carefully (height, width, and depth) to be sure they fit before ordering. Also, check the website return policy and save the shipping materials until you’re sure the shadow box will work for your items.
  • For documents, photos, and drawings, you can make a collage to be hung on the wall.  Scan the originals and use the copies for the collage.  Glue the items onto foam board and cover with decoupage to seal and protect it.
  • If you have artwork from your child, you can scan or photograph the masterpieces and put them into an album.  Label the artist and be sure to use the date.  A digital photo frame can be a quick way to review the artwork daily and make your child feel honored. Flip-Pal is a great mobile scanner for digitizing large and even 3D items, like large paintings and medals. You can purchase one online or through me. (Check with me as I may have a special price available!)

Be sure to take a picture before and after to document the construction of your gift! Contact me if you need additional tips or help.

Photo collage created by Susan J. Maxwell.