Each year, we send out a lot of Christmas cards to our family and friends. I love receiving photo cards - it is nice to see how everyone's family grows and changes each year. (I've even started a scrapbook to capture many of those photo cards - and husband wonders if anyone keeps them). One source for our Holiday photo cards has been Shutterfly. They offer Holiday cards in a variety of styles and sizes - you are certain to find one that suits your style and needs. This year, we decided that we really liked the Confetti Flowers Christmas Card. I used my 10 free cards from my recent Shutterfly House Party to get some of these cards for this year. I like too that they offer coordinating address labels to match many of thier cards.
I know it might sound like cheating, but photo gifts seem to me to be an easy to give, great to receive, personal holiday gift that is appreciated and doesn't add to life's clutter.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I enjoy putting together and giving a Photo Book to our parent's each year. What I like about this gift is that I can share with them pictures of the kids (family really) from throughout the year. I try to select a highlight of the events from the past year, as well as some pictures of the kids simply being kids. I do a much more in depth Photo Book as a family scrapbook for us to keep, but the one that I am making as a gift is meant to just be a brief glimpse. I recently completed this year's Photo Book gifts on Shutterfly. Have you tried their photo books? I really like their Storyboard feature that is available to help you set up your book when you use the custom route. What I like about their Storyboard is that you can just start dragging and dropping your pictures on the page that you want them. Once you have the pictures on the pages that you want, you click a button and the program will auto-fill your book, selecting a default layout for each page based on the number of photos you placed on each page. Then, you can go in and add captions, adjust pictures, or tweak the layouts if you would like. To me, this makes the overall process both quick and easy.
There are so many other photo gifts to choose from on Shutterfly as well - puzzles, mouse pads, desk organizers, canvas art, notebooks, apparel, bags and more. Each year, my brothers and I also put together a wall calendar for my parents, filled with pictures of the grandkids. We generally split the months up, with a few months where everyone has a picture. My mom loves this gift and looks forward to receiving it each year. I've also considered the photo mug as a potential gift for our parents or even for myself. You can make the photo mug with one picture or a handful. What a great way to make you smile while you enjoy your hot beverage. (I also use a mug as a pen holder on my desk at work - so there is yet another use and a different way to display pictures at your desk.)
Outside of gifts for parents, I have also considered giving Photo Puzzles to my kids. They have two varieties - Center Stage (24 or 125 piece puzzles), where your child becomes part of a picture featuring Disney Princesses, Star Wars, Transformers and more and the photo puzzles (252 piece puzzles), where your pictures is transformed into a puzzle. My preference would be to get them the 252 piece puzzle, so I will likely wait until my daughter is a little older. I think they would find a puzzle made from their picture to be pretty cool.
Beyond the holidays, I know people who have used Shutterfly to make birth announcements and also used their photo cards for birthday party invites or thank you cards.
Their site is easy to navigate (I was even able to walk my mom through it over the phone and she successfully ordered Christmas cards and a photo book.). They frequently offer specials - right now, for instance, they have free shipping on orders over $50 and 30% off Photo Books.
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No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. I am submitting this post to receive 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.