Inside: This post is the first in a 5-part series entitled Holiday Photo Gift Ideas and it explores wearable photo gifts. Get a free printable planner to help you design your photo gift-giving schedule.
A Holiday Photo Gift Tale (Almost Gone Wrong)
The Christmas my dad bought my mom a slide projector, he knew he was breaking a cardinal rule. I was around 10 or 12 years old and my sister 2 years younger. He got us involved in the gift’s presentation, and boy, were we stressed.
My father was a Professional Engineer who worked for the Navy and specialized in engines. Early in their marriage my mother had established the rule that gifts must not include a motor. I don’t remember the details, but it may have been after he bought her a vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day or her birthday.
I’ve written about my childhood on slides. At this point we had amassed quite a collection and the only way we had to view them was a small electric slide viewer which served one person at a time.
So my father bought a Kodak slide projector along with a screen on which to project the slides. The projector did, indeed, have a motor to run the fan which kept the high intensity projection light from burning up the slides. But he had a plan to mitigate that little detail.
One night a few days before Christmas my mom was out last-minute shopping. My father called my sister and me to the living room where the boxes containing the forbidden items were on the floor, in front of the Christmas tree. He handed each of us fifty $1 bills and told us to open the boxes and hide them throughout the packaging. He explained his rationale to us: My mother would forgive him for the motor because she could buy something special for herself with the $100.
We spent a good part of the next hour doing his bidding. We stuck them throughout the individual packing materials protecting the projector components But we soon ran out of places. So we had to dig deeper and start stuffing them into the pieces of the slide projector itself. We finally got every bill hidden in and throughout the packing and parts, and my father boxed it all back up and wrapped it in Christmas paper.
I’m sure my mother noticed the large boxes under and behind the tree. I don’t remember if she said anything, but the next couple of days were torture for me as I worried my parents would get into a fight when we opened our family presents on Christmas Eve.
Phew! No Fight!
My mother kept it together, probably for our sake. She believed that Christmas festivities were for children and it was up to the adults to make it magical. And I think she saw the value in the slide projector. But I also remember something she said about wishing he would take the time to find out what she wanted and buy it for her himself.
Despite all that, the slide projector and a screen got a lot of use in our family as we would sit together on the couch or on card table chairs, with bowls of popcorn on our laps, and revisit our family memories. When I was a few years older, my father spent 4 months in Vietnam during the war as a Navy-employed civilian, and although he did not enjoy looking at the slides he took there, my sister and I found the world outside our own fascinating.
My father knew he was breaking an important rule, and he saw the value of the gift outweighing that rule. He knew that giving our family the opportunities to view our photos together would not only help us remember our past, but it would enrich our present and maybe even inspire hope for our future. Although he technically gave it to my mother, it would benefit the family.
My mother always told me that the best gifts have a bit of both the sender and the receiver in them, that it encompasses the relationship between the two. And that’s why I believe that often the best gift you can give may be a photo gift. It’s meaningful, affordable (although there are some high-end options), and it often encompasses some kind of story. I firmly believe we are a people of stories.
Unique Photo Gift Ideas to Surprise and Delight
This post is the first in a 5-part series entitled Holiday Photo Gift Ideas. I will add links to all the posts in the series at the end once all I publish the posts. This post covers wearable photo gifts.
Download my free holiday gift planner so you can map out what photo gifts you want to give and to whom. I’ll also add you to my mailing list to receive my weeklyish updates. I never share your information and there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.
Wearable Photo Gifts
Custom Photo Socks
As a teen and young adult I always wore crazy socks, but I never had a pair of photo socks! These Shutterfly socks are cute, and there are lots of other designs to choose from. Choose the style, upload your recipient’s favorite pet or person, and you have a wonderfully personalized and unique photo gift.
Photo Jewelry & Watches
Shutterfly also has bracelets, bangles, and necklaces. Besides photo charms, you can optionally add birthstones and initial charms. You might even want one of these pieces of photo jewelry yourself!
Amazon has quite a selection of photo watches for both men and women. This one makes a unique photo gift because the photo is engraved, unlike other photo watches which contain ink or paint. You can optionally add an engraved personalized message on the back.
Wearables for Kids
Download my free holiday gift planner below so you can keep track of your photo gift ideas. Be sure to read the rest of the series with many other photo gift ideas. I’m willing to bet most of these places will have some Black Friday deals. Start now and you’ll be ready to take advantage of any great sale that pops up. And you can feel secure that you won’t be breaking any “no motors” rule.
Have you ever received a photo gift? Comment below and tell us what it was and how it made you feel.
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