Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Photo Gifts for the Holidays

by Christina VanGinkel

My upcoming holiday shopping listing is growing, and at a surprisingly fast rate. My mother-in-law is always difficult to buy for, but when browsing the Shutterfly site online, I think I found the perfect idea for what to get her. They have aprons that can be decorated with the photo of your choosing. They also have coasters, magnets, coffee mugs, and tote bags, besides several more items, that can all be personalized.

She spends a lot of time in the kitchen, so I figure if I order her an apron with a photo collage of all the grandkids and great-grandkids, not only will it be useful, it will be fun to wear and a conversation starter whenever she has company over for dinner. Just about any photo editing software will allow you to create a collage of different pictures and save it as one single photo. You then follow the instructions at Shutterfly (or other similar site that offers personalized gifts) on how to upload your photographs and any personalization's you want added, and ordering looks to be quite simple and clear-cut. The tote bag could be given with the apron inside, and decorated with the same picture. She shops a lot, often for just an item or two, and the tote bag would be perfect for those quick trips or for carrying books or magazines whenever she is going somewhere that she may have to sit and wait for a while, such as the doctor's office.

I also think it would be nice to order her a set of coffee mugs with each one a background for individual photos of each of the grandkids and great grandkids. I could actually give the set to both her and my father-in-law, as they are both big coffee drinkers. Along with a matching set of magnets to hang on the fridge, and a set of coaster for when they head to the living room to enjoy their coffee in front of their fireplace. I think together they would make an ideal gift.

When I told my husband about the idea, he liked it, but suggested not using the same grandchild theme for the set of mugs and coasters that we would be given to both his mother and father. He suggested instead that I look through the old photographs she passed on to me a few years ago, and pick out some of those. A perfect suggestion, as there are photographs of both sets of grandparents, along with photos of my husband, and his brothers when they were little, now those are conversation starters!

With all these old photographs stirring up ideas, I think I will also have calendars made for each household. In addition, one particular photograph of my husband's grandfather, that I remember being in the stack of photographs my mother-in-law gave us, of him dressed in authentic western gear from when he traveled on horseback from Wyoming back to Wisconsin, will be used to make t-shirts for all the kids. I can hardly wait to get started!

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