Don't Let Your Holiday Photos Go to Waste!

BlogHer Original Post

Christmas Is: LovePerhaps the Christmas lights have been inspiring you. Maybe you've been to umpteen programs where your kids have been everything from an angel to a sheep. If you're of the baking or crafting type, you've no doubt been busy cranking out beautiful works and tasty treats, likely snapping photos of each finished project. Your memory card is filling up and you're not quite sure what to do with all those photos, are you?

Let me help!

In the digital age, we often snap more pictures than we know what to do with, and then we never look at our beautiful masterpieces ever again. In fact, a press release from Photobucket shows that 82% of respondents to their survey will capture holiday memories with a digital camera. Make this the holiday that you actually do something with them. Here are a few ideas to either make a keepsake, make a gift or just generally use your photos.

Make a Keepsake

1. Make a photobook! Or, make multiple photobooks! This is an obvious idea, of course, but the good news -- for you -- is that many of the book making sites are having fabulous deals. If you procrastinate too much longer, you'll miss expedited shipping for delivery by Christmas, but if you're just making a keepsake book for yourself, it shouldn't be an issue. Look at Snapfish, Shutterfly or Blurb for great book options and designs.

2. Make a calendar for 2011. I know with the Christmas holiday right in our face, you might not be thinking ahead to next year. But it's waiting, just around the bend. When I make photo calendars, I choose my favorite photo from each month of the year. Round out your 2011 calendar with one of the amazing photos you've taken this holiday season!

3. Make a photo garland -- for your tree, for your wall or just because. When I first heard of Contributing Editor Karen Walrond's photo garland project, I loved the idea. Karen was feeling the stress from her recent book launch and was inspired by a friend of hers do create something with her photos. Karen then decided to share the project with her readers, giving us great prompts and the steps to create our own photo garland.

(As an aside, you can give all of these keepsake items as gifts as well. But sometimes it's nice to create something for yourself, isn't it?)

Stuff to Give Other People

1. Print your own holiday cards! If you missed the deadline to order some photo cards, why not put those holiday photos you've been snapping to good use. Angie at 221vision gives a step-by-step guide to how she printed her own photos and made her own envelopes. Don't forget, of course, that you can use sites like Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid (etc) to have cards printed quickly in store so you can pick them up while you grab ingredients for your next baking task!

2. Send a photo eGreeting! If you're purposefully not sending paper cards due to the environmental impact, consider sending an eCard to friends and family. There are great sites like Smilebox that offer free eCards. If you're the DIY type through-and-through, scrappycath at The Hybrid Chick gives instructions so you can make your own eGreeting!

3. Make a photo ornament for the grandparents (or yourself). There are many sites that will do this for you. Last year, we made some great ones at Photoworks and all of the big name photo printing sites offer their own fun, festive variations. Of course, a photo ornament is one of the most commonly made holiday photo projects, so there's no shortage of how-to's on the web. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.

4. Make photo gift tags so the gift recipient automatically knows who the gift is from. Like everything else, most photo printing sites offer their own variation on this theme. Teresa at Creative Cowgirl offers up templates and instructions on how to make your own photo gift tags.

5. Print photos in large sizes, in collage format or on canvas. If you took a really great photo of your friend's children and you know she'd love it, print it. Or if you snapped a great picture of your grandma's dog, give it to her this holiday. Or if you managed to take some great photos of something a friend loves (birds, trees, food stuffs), throw them in a collage format and gift them to your friend to hang in their office, kitchen or where they choose. And, trust me, it's not "self indulgent" to think that a friend or loved one would love a photo you took. Chances are that they'll treasure it greatly!

(As a tip that I just read on a friend's blog, Snapfish is having a great deal through the 19th. Spend $5 and get 100 free prints. Use code MERRY1213.)

Still not sure you've found the right project? Here are some other great posts that detail some easy-to-create things to give as gifts or keep for yourself.

Lastly, if you're shopping for a photo enthusiast, don't forget to hit Laurie's gift guide for photographers. And, really, if you want to send me something on that list, I won't be sad. At all.

Are you using your holiday photos to make any keepsakes or gifts? Do you have any creative ideas to share with us? Please do!

Contributing Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and newspaper photographer.


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