I am the unofficial family photographer at all of my family functions. I love it. I have captured some of the best smiles and laughs from my nieces and nephews at birthday parties, vacations, Easter egg hunts--you name it.
It's become a tradition that I make my mom a calendar every Christmas featuring some of these photo treasures. Because the calendar can only hold so many photos, a lot of precious moments remain stored on my computer and never really see the light of day.
This year when I was Christmas shopping for my nieces and nephews, I decided to add a little personalized gift along with their toys and share these hidden treasures with them. I went through the hundreds of photos I had taken of each of them and considered ordering some photo books through Walgreens or Snapfish, but I had a combined budget of $30 for all 7 of them, and I was in a little bit of a time crunch with Christmas only a few days away. I have learned (as with most things in life) if you wait until the last minute, you will likely pay (more) for it. I ended up ordering prints from Walgreens because I needed to do a "same day print", but if you're not in a hurry, it's definitely more economical to order them and try to catch a good coupon deal.
I found some good old fashioned photo albums at Dollar Tree (for a dollar of course). The covers weren't too pretty, but I saw that they were removable so I scooped up 7 of them. I made new covers for them with some thick watercolor paper cut to size. I did a wash of watercolor on one side and wrote their name in Sharpie, and then wrote a personalized note on the other side of the paper (which became the first page inside the book). Then I filled each album with photos that were specific to each kiddo. The albums can hold 48 photos--52 if you choose to put photos in the front and back cover pages.
The reactions I saw when they opened these photo albums was priceless! My siblings have told me that these were by far the kids' favorite gifts this year. Although kids see their faces in photos a lot more often these days (even my two year old knows how to take a 'selfie'), it's not often that they get to tangibly hold their very own collection of personal photographs. My two year old likes to look through his photo album as part of his bedtime routine each night! He loves to point to every picture and name all of his family members : ).
The total price for printing the photos and purchasing the albums came out to $35 for 7 kiddos (I was $5 over my original budget--not too shabby), so each album only cost $5 to create! These would also make really great Valentine gifts for the little ones in your life.
I would love to hear of your ideas for fun Valentine gifts for kiddos (that won't rot their teeth)! But who are we kidding...candy is any kid's love language : ).