This post is the first in a 3-part series entitled Creative Photo Gift Ideas, and it explores meaningful and creative photo gift ideas your recipient will love to wear, no matter the gift-giving occasion. Download a free printable gift planner to help you design your photo gift-giving schedule.
A Holiday Photo Gift Tale
My dad knew he was breaking a cardinal rule the Christmas I was 10, and my sister and I were sweating. A few years before he had given my mother a vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day. My mom was infuriated and imposed a strict no-motors rule about gifts for her.
It wasn’t that he was thoughtless – it was that he was an engineer who designed rocket motors for the Navy. He lived and breathed motors and couldn’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t.
It was the late 1960s and by this time most of our family photos were in the form of slides. We had a small electric slide viewer with an 8-inch window. Only one person at a time could actually see the slides, unless we sat on top of one another.
The Plot Revealed
A few nights before Christmas my mom was out last-minute shopping. Dad called us 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 ten crisp $5 bills and told us to open the boxes and hide them throughout the packaging. He explained: Mom would forgive him for the motor because she could use the $100 to buy something special for herself, something she wanted.
We spent the next half hour doing just that. Paper crinkled and dust flew as we stuck them in and between the individual packing materials in the boxes. It was hard trying to find 20 different places in which to hide a bill. We finally got them all hidden, not without complaining, and my father boxed it all back up and wrapped it in Christmas paper.
The next few days were torture for me as I fretted about my mother’s reaction, and I worried that it might ruin Christmas.
Fireworks on Christmas Eve?
There were no fireworks. My mother kept it together, probably for our sakes. I think she saw the value in the slide projector. But she did say she wished 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. We’d sit together in the living room with bowls of buttered popcorn on our laps. And then we’d revisit family memories and laugh about “old” times.
Download my free Holiday Gift Planner so you can map out what photo gifts you want to give and to whom. I’ll also send you my Getting Started Checklist and my weeklyish updates. I never share your information and there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.
Creative Photo Gift Ideas that Will Surprise and Delight
My mother always said that the best gifts have a bit of both the sender and the receiver in them. She believed they should embody the relationship between the two people. 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. And I believe we are a people of stories.
Photo gifts that can be worn are often treasured for many years. Here are some fun and special ideas for wearable and creative photo gifts you can give for the upcoming Christmas and Hanukkah season. They are also fitting for any special occasion such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Graduations and more.
Custom Photo Socks
As a teen and young adult I always wore crazy socks, but I never had a pair of photo socks! These socks from Sockprints are cute, and there are lots of other designs to choose from. Choose the style, upload a photo of your recipient’s favorite pet or person, and you have a wonderfully personalized photo gift that’s unique. And they offer free shipping when your order is $35 or more, so order a batch and save.
Sockprints also offers several other customizable items such as face masks, tote bags, kitchen towels and pillowcases.
Photo Jewelry & Watches
Pictures on Gold has so much to choose from! Pendants, charms, watches – even cuff links, earrings and dog tags! They have an interactive tool so you can design the jewelry yourself. This way you don’t have to worry if they centered or cropped the picture they way you want it. And you can even send in your own jewelry and have them laser engrave the photo on it.
Pictures on Gold has been around since 1986. Everything is made in the USA, and they have some great sales for special occasions.
Photo Shirts and Jackets
If you love Amazon, they have a huge selection of photo clothing. Below are just a few examples.
Download my free Holiday Gift Planner below so you can keep track of your photo gift ideas. And be sure to read the rest of the series with many other photo gift ideas so you can feel secure that you won’t be breaking any “no motors” rule. I’ll also send you my Getting Started Planner and my weeklyish email newsletters filled with tips and tricks to help you enjoy your photos now as well as leave a meaningful collection for future generations.
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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