I would be absolutely over the moon if someone gifted me a photo book-those suckers take significant time to make and can be a lesson in patience! Though a photo book takes extra time to plan and make, it’s truly a gift you can cherish, but they don’t come cheap. Before kids when I was organized and had free time, I’d make a photo book and then wait for a deal. Deals abound for photo books but typically you have to order within days. Make one ahead of time and then you’ll have a photo book ready to go when the deal appears – Boom! Back in the day, I traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe and photo books became an excellent way to capture (and remember)the trips. Now that I have children the overseas trips have ceased but I make photo books to capture their lives (clarification: I made ONE photo book of my daughter’s first year of life and have yet to make one for my second daughter-second child syndrome). Yet, I digress. I’m writing this post not to discuss my failures as a parent but to mention some alternative photo book ideas. Here goes:
A recipe photo book to give to family members would be amazing. You could fill the book with pictures of family meals, holiday fun, specials events, and bloopers or recipe fails, along with top family recipes and memories of favorite dishes or meals. How about a collection of grandma’s recipes and stories or pictures of family meals? Priceless! This would be a great gift for parents or siblings.
A family album full of pictures of grandparents, parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews would make a wonderful coffee table book. This is a who’s who for when you have company over and want to show them pictures of your family. You could include a family tree and maybe have some fun pages, such as a side- by-side comparison of baby Luke as the spitting image of grandma Claire or a collection of family photo fails. This is a perfect book for people with kiddos. I come from a large family and my children sometimes have a difficult time putting names to faces. A family album is a fun way to jog their memories, plus it gives you some quality cuddle time where you can laugh at silly Uncle George.
Another option for a family book would be a collection of photos and memories of, say, your parents. The siblings (and grandchildren or others) would contribute stories and pictures. For this option, it’s good to know the word limit of the text boxes for your chosen photo book. It’d also help to ask for contributions months in advance and send progressively more frequent reminders as the deadline approaches.
This final option, a photo book of a child’s beloved possession, is my favorite. I recently made a photo book for my young daughter called The Adventures of Bear and Superwoman. It’s a book about her two stuffed pals (a neon pink bear and a purple ninja) and all the adventures they’ve shared. I spent several months capturing moments that she shared with her buddies. A lot of these moments were spontaneous as she played with her pals. At other times, I took her buddies along on outings and posed them near her as she played, etc. I also took pictures of her buddies hanging out around the house, playing with her favorite toys, reading her favorite books, and mimicking her daily activities. As luck would have it, Bear and Superwoman disappeared on the day I planned to take some final shots for the book. After months of careful planning, I scrambled to make a coherent story out of the photos I’d already taken (I had plenty, certainly didn’t need more!) and I worried that I spent all this time making a book about two friends she would shortly forget (“out of sight, out of mind” is so true for toddlers). Nonetheless, I sorted the photos and created an adventure story. In the story, I included some of her pretend play themes, used several lines from her favorite books and songs, and repeated some of her quirky sayings, such as at night when we tell her goodnight she says, “see you next summer” in a chirpy, optimistic tone. The book also had some hide-and-seek pages, some interactive bits, reciting of family names, and some counting, color and letter recognition. About a month after her birthday, Kacya opened a shoe box and found Bear and Superwoman all nestled in snug. Sounds like a sequel in the making, doesn’t it?