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Gift Ideas Using Photographs

Updated on October 25, 2011

I take a lot of photos and have done so since I was about twelve years old. Looking for ideas to use these photos in some way can be a challenge.

There are hundreds of ways to use photos for gift-giving for all ages and all special occasions. For some of them, you can create them yourself and others can be readily ordered at your local discount store or even online.

Here are my favorites:

Photo Album - You could purchase a scrapbook and create a photo album. I made a small one for my mom one year for Christmas and she loved it. Although I have the creative gene and it was fun, this was very time-consuming. This year I am collecting some special digital photos of my teenage son and will order a special album online from and that will be a Christmas present for him this year at a cost of about $12.00. These make great gifts for anyone - parents, grandparents, sorority or fraternity members, special friends.

Calendar - Years ago, I cut and pasted dozens of photos of my then young son into a special template and mailed it off. The resulting calendar was fabulous. Now, though, just send them via the web to the company of your choice and viola - a personalized calendar that can be enjoyed all year long.

Christmas Ornament - Our family loves Christmas. We collect ornaments from every place we visit and every special occasion. What better way to commemorate something special than having a photo of the event captured on an ornament. There are craft kits available online and in stores.

T-shirt or Canvas Bag - Use your computer and special photo transfer paper to design a custom shirt or tote bag. I made t-shirts for the children who attended my son's eighth birthday party. It was a huge hit with both parents and kids.

Mousepad or Drink Coasters - Find a special photo for your computer geek and have it imprinted on a mousepad. The same thing can be done for drink coasters.

Jigsaw Puzzle - What child wouldn't love a puzzle of himself with his grandparents or favorite pet? It's educational, too!

Dinner plates or mugs - Have your favorite photo emblazoned on a plate or mug to cherish forever. Usually these are just for decoration so check before ordering.

Framed Photo - Don't underestimate the joy of receiving a framed photo. Pick a favorite and get it matted and framed. Or, buy one of those large photo collage frames and collect photos to add to it. Or, buy a digital photo frame and load a bunch of pictures onto the memory card. There are also companies that will transfer your photo onto canvas for a painting-like quality.

Locket or charm - For that new mom or girlfriend, buy a pretty locket or charm for a charm bracelet and insert a tiny photo.

Keychain - There are tons of choices available in photo keychains. There are also digital photo keychains. Great gift for a guy!

Deck of Cards - The gambler may enjoy a deck of cards with a special photo on the back.

Poster - Enlarge a special photo and create a poster for the wall. This is great for dorm rooms or kids' bedrooms.

Blanket - Yes, you can get a photo on a blanket. It can become a beloved keepsake.

Gift Cards - Order or make notecards, grocery lists, holiday cards, stationery and more.

Photo Clock - This is a great way to showcase growth of a child. In place of each number is a child's photo. Age one (or grade one), age two or grade two, etc.

A special memory captured by a photo can be a priceless gift for the receiver to treasure forever. The possibilities are endless. Consider pictures of vacations, holidays, birthdays, pets, neighbors, classmates, friends, club members, church family, special groups, locations  or favorite things.


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