Chances are you took a few photos this past year, and if so, those digital bits just might be your ticket to easy, one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season.Whether you are sharing family memories or showing off your photographic artistry, photo gifts can feel more personal than what a big box store sale might offer. Added to that, options multiply each year — mousepads and mugs have quickly evolved into jewelry, playing cards, coasters and more. If you can imagine it, you can probably customize your photo on it.
That said, you’ll need to get on it. Most photo gifts take a couple weeks to be printed and delivered — and that doesn’t include the time it’ll take you to find what photo you want to print. If you’ve got some photos that deserve a better end than being stuck on a cloud or storage device, here are a few photo gift ideas and tips to consider:
Photobooks. Photobooks are a great way to celebrate shared memories from a vacation or event; you can also assemble a photo collection around a person or theme. They make a great gift for grandparents, especially if Grandma and Grandpa don’t want to deal with the technological learning curve of putting one together themselves.
What to know: A photobook takes some time to put together. Not only will you have to dig up photos and decide what ones to print, but you’ll have to create the book yourself — which might mean learning the design interface. Most photobook printers have an “auto-build” option, but you’ll likely still want to customize the book.
Calendar. Whether you’re sharing family pics or photos from your trip to the Caribbean, customized calendars have been a long-standing gift option.
What to know: If an ordinary 12 month flip-style calendar is too ordinary for your tastes, check out some of the variations out there — including daily tear-away style calendars that highlight favorite photos from the year.
Canvas print. If you know someone who would be thrilled to have one of your photos on their walls, canvas prints are a high-quality, yet economical way to make that happen. It has the added bonus of not requiring the additional purchase of a picture frame. Metal, wood, multi-panel canvas and panoramic prints are other options to look for.
What to know: You’ll want to make sure you upload a high resolution file — just because a photo looked good on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’ll look good when it’s covering half your wall.
Puzzle. Your photos can provide both challenge and entertainment by having them printed into a puzzle.
What to know: Match your photo and number of pieces to your gift recipient — your preschool nephew might not be able to take on a 500-piece puzzle of your monochrome visit to Antarctica.
Blanket. That’s right, you can give your photos practical household utility by printing them on a fleece or woven blanket, quilt, pillow — or even a shower curtain.
What to know: Not everyone will want to cuddle up in a gigantic representation of your face.