The holidays are a time for making and sharing memories. A time for family and loved ones to gather together. For me, this has been a difficult year, and there will be one less family member with us this Christmas. When you lose someone close to you, memories become all the more precious. That’s why I love the idea of giving the gift of memories.
I can’t conceive of celebrating without my father this year, just as I couldn’t 10 years ago when my brother died. I know we will, we will celebrate for the kids, and we will feel them with us in spirit. We will celebrate because of them, because of all the joy they brought us over the years. The quote that helped my through my intense grief (although I think the concept of “getting over”a loss is wrong. You don’t get over it, you live with it.)was from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
I’m a big believer in preserving memories. When my brother passed away, I thought again and again “I wish we had more home movies”. I treasure photos of him, anything with his handwriting on it, things that were important to him.
So, my recommendations for gifts always include ways of sharing memories. Here are a few ideas:
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If you have little ones, this is great. There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest you can try. There are ideas for every holiday (little feet made into ghosts for Halloween are a personal favorite. I saw a treat tray with them and “Trick or treat, smell my feet” written on it. Come on! That’s ADORABLE!)
I love photo books! The first thing I do when we get home from a family trip is make a photo book online. I order 3 copies, and each of the kids gets a copy of the book (or books) from that year. My hope is that when they get older, and go to college and out on their own they will take these books. I told my Dad once that while I don’t remember every gift I got as a child, I DO remember every trip we took. My brother and I were such lucky kids, we traveled the world with my parents.
Of course, that’s just one way to use photo books! You can do “year in review “ books (get those pictures off your phone, already!), or photo books in memory of a loved one lost (I’m doing that for family members this year). Really, the only limit is your imagination!
My favorite photo book company is Blurb. it’s really easy to use, they have an app that makes it even easier! They offer gift cards as well, perfect as a last-minute gift! Your loved one can make a book using their own photos.
Social Media Collections
Have you heard of My Social Book? Well, I’m obsessed. In a nutshell, what they do is take your social media account (Currently Facebook or Instagram) and make it into a book. At first, I thought it was weird, but I ordered one just to see what it was like (you pick a time period, I did a calendar year) and I loved it!! I’m on Facebook all the time, but I never go back through my timeline. With these, not only can I see my timeline in book form, but they print the comments too. I now have one for every year I’ve been on Facebook. Looking through them is fun, and my kids love looking at them, and seeing comments on the pictures I post of them! I think a gift card to My Social Book would be a wonderful gift for anyone! You can get them here: My Social Book Gift Cards for the Holidays
Once again, we have to get all the great pictures we take of our loved ones off of our phones and memory cards, and out where we can see them! I have framed photos EVERYWHERE in my house, and they bring me joy. I love seeing other people’s family pictures in their homes, and hearing the wonderful stories they tell when I ask about them. That’s what photos are, after all…stories.
Frameology makes it simple! You upload a picture to their site, pick a frame, and you’re done! They print and frame the photo for you! A framed photo is one of my favorite gifts to give and get. They also offer gift cards!
Family Recipe Collections
This is one of my favorite ideas! We have a lot of family recipes that have been passed down over the years. I treasure my Mom’s well-worn copy of Julia Childs’ “The Art Of French Cooking”, it’s a family heirloom. It automatically falls open to our favorite recipes!
The other thing I treasure is the handwritten recipe cards (remember them?) from my Grandmothers, and my Mom. I love the idea of scanning them and making a book out of them, another one of the countless things you can do with Blurb.
Give the gift of memories this holiday season, truly nothing is better! Have fun making new memories as well!