Making Beautiful Gifts From Your Family History Research
Your options for creating personalized gifts from your genealogy research are limitless. From t-shirts to coffee mugs to hardback photo books, it's all easy to do and, it's affordable. You've done the hard part, collecting all that data, but to share it with a creative gift adds another dimension. As the self-appointed family historian, it's up to you to let your family know how colorful the family is. The photos and stories you've collected over the years are your history. The dates you've collected prove it. So use that family history to create gifts for other family members.
There are lots of ways to do this and you already have some of the tools if you're sitting at a computer reading this. Of course you are. So lets talk about some of them.
So, you already have your data in a software application, don't you? Okay, maybe some of you don't yet. Maybe you've got photo files in a folder on your hard drive and your stories and vital statistics are in a Microsoft Word document. Either way, you can still create beautiful gifts.
Basic Microsoft Tools
If you use Microsoft Office, you probably have PowerPoint. It's a great software tool for creating a slide show. Did you know you can add background music, colored backgrounds, frames, animation, and clip-art? You can copy and paste text from your Microsoft Word documents into text boxes in your slide show too. Besides, no one wants to retype all that data.
In this age of digital everything, it's a great way to get your family excited about your work. And it's a beautiful way to create lasting memories. Just create a slide show, save it to a CD or DVD. Wrap it up and give it away. Soon you'll be the hit of the family with everyone wanting a copy.
Web Tools For Creating Gifts
The internet is loaded with sites that help you create gifts from your research. There are sites like Cafe Press where you can create T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, etc. from your photos. And the cost is really reasonable. Your designs are also stored in your account for easy reorders too. The turn around time is quick too.
If you're looking for something more detailed, then take a look at Shutterfly or Snapfish. Both sites allow you to create free user accounts where you can upload your photos and create photo books, gift cards, calling cards, etc. from your photos. Not only do they make it easy, they make it fun. There are tons of templates, embellishments, backgrounds, ribbons, frames, etc. at your fingertips and they even have project suggestions, if you're not totally creative.
If you've been really good and named your photos with the date they were taken, these sites will even sort your photos and insert them automatically. You choose which photos to upload and the site does the rest. Then all you have to do is the fun stuff like adding backgrounds and embellishments. Oh, and these sites frequently offer great incentive discounts. I made my Dad a 40 page memory book for Father's Day and I am absolutely dying to give it to him. He's going to be speechless. And...I got two for the price of one. It doesn't get any better than that. I included family data sheets, photos, and stories, all from the data I've been collecting.
Retail Store Options
If you're not one to order on the web, many retail stores can help you create personalized gifts using your research. The UPS Stores can design and print banners for family gatherings, posters, or calendars. They frequently run sales on color prints and in November, offer special deals on calendars.
Personalized Gift Web Sites
- Custom T-Shirts, Unique Gifts, Posters, & Personalized Mugs | CafePress
CafePress has the best selection of custom t-shirts, personalized gifts, posters & art, mugs, and much more. Get your unique or funny gift, t shirt, or other cool promotional merchandise for any occasion. High quality. 24 hour shipping available.
- Create Custom Digital Prints & Gifts with Personal Photos | Snapfish
Easily create customized digital prints and gifts at Snapfish using your favorite photos. Sign up today for our free online photo album & digital photo sharing service!
- Photo Books, Holiday Cards, Photo Cards, Birth Announcements, Photo Printing | Shutterfly
Create photo books, personalize photo cards & stationery, and share photos with family and friends at Shutterfly.com.
Want to Learn More?
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- Family History - Why Are You the Family Historian?
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It's Time To Do It
So now you have some tools to play with and that will make you even more eager to keep gathering data to add to your family history. Even if you haven't found that renegade relative or the millionaire uncle you had hoped for, these tools can make you feel like your family has a history to be proud of. You'll be amazed at how satisfying it is to put that data into a project that you can give away.
Giving a gift of your work can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. I learned early on that none of my relatives want to see family group sheets or time lines but they love the photos and stories. Once they saw what I could do with information on our family, stories and photos started rolling in. They all want a piece of the action now. So create a memory, include that boring old statistical data along with those treasured photos and stories. You'll find that when you're finished, you will have a real sense of having created your own historical document. And the cool part is that it can be passed down from generation to generation. Happy creating!
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.