For simple, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, look no further than your camera. With your digital images and a few other materials, you can make affordable gifts for everyone on your list.
Photo Calendar You’ll find calendar templates at almost any photo lab or on websites like Snapfish and Shutterfly. For high quality at a reasonable price, we like Shutterfly. Simply upload your photos and drag and drop them into the calendar template. You can easily order multiple copies of the same calendar or customize your project for individual recipients. Regular prices start at $17.99 per calendar plus shipping, but Shutterfly routinely offers discounts and free shipping on orders of $30 or more.
How to take great holiday photos
Found Alphabet Wall Hanging. Search your community for natural objects or architectural features shaped like letters of the alphabet. (Example: A door handle shaped like a “C” or a fence post shaped like a “P”) Photograph letters to spell the recipient’s name or another word. Cut a piece of cardboard wide enough to accommodate your chosen word, and cover the cardboard with heavy gift wrap. Mount the photos on the cardboard with decoupage paste. Cut a dowel or strip of lightweight wood slightly longer than the cardboard. Staple or tack the cardboard to the back of the dowel. Drill a small hole in each end of the dowel and string a ribbon through the holes for hanging. At less than $5 per wall hanging, these make excellent gifts for teachers and babysitters.
Photo Storybook. For a memorable gift to or from a child, write (or help your child write) a story on several 4-by-6 notecards. Photograph people or scenes to illustrate the story. For example, your child might write about a day with Grandma and illustrate the story with photos of Grandma and the activities they enjoy doing together. Insert the story cards and accompanying photos into a brag book-sized photo album, available at Michaels and elsewhere, starting at $2.
Blank Greeting Cards. Select a theme and photograph 4-6 objects or scenes depicting that theme. Trim photos to fit the front of 4-by-5.5 blank greeting cards, available at Michaels for $4.99 per package of 25. (Note: This card size is available in-store only.) Mount photos to card fronts with scrapbooking tape or decoupage glue. Assemble cards and envelopes in sets of four or six and tie together with ribbon.
Photo Tote Bag. You can purchase a tote bag with photo slots for about $30 or construct your own one-of-a-kind version for less than $5. You’ll need a reusable shopping bag (available at the checkout area of many stores for about $2), Staples 4-by-6 photo pages, some yarn and a large needle. (Note: I used Staples single-slot photo pages, item #40041, available in-store only.) Trim the photo pages to fit your tote bag and stitch them to the front of the bag with yarn. Insert photos into the pockets. To change the look of your tote, simply swap out the photos.
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