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Perfect Gift for kids of all ages

I’m having an internal struggle this year with Christmas gifts.  I’ve been reading a lot of books about consumerism and living with less and de-cluttering and buying things of real value and on and on and on.  And I’d really like to tone it down a little for Christmas.  Which is hard because I LOVE Christmas shopping and buying meaningful gifts for people.  But I’m also super sick of picking up crap everywhere.  And my kids definitely do NOT need more toys.


A few years ago I gave each of my kids a photo album for Christmas filled with pictures of just them.  Each kid got their own album full of pictures I had taken of them throughout the past few years.  Many of those pictures they’d never seen before.  That was before I started the picture display movement. I felt like I could start my own movement.  So I did.  Now they see many of the photos I take of them.


They loved those albums.  And still look at them often.  And each of them at different times have let me know they need more photos for another album.


So this year I decided to do something similar, but better.  Each of my four kids will get an album, some Project Life cards to “jazz” it up a little, Project Life journaling cards so they can write about the photos, their own pen, and a stack of pictures they are in.  The album won’t be assembled.  They’ll be able to assemble it themselves, put the photos where they want, add whatever filler cards they want, journal as much or as little as they want and end up with their own finished album full of their personality.  My 4 year old can’t write much yet, but it will be fun to have at least a few journaling cards with his handwriting even if it’s just his name.  I will probably assemble the album for my 3 year old this year.




You can get a full 12×12 size album or a mini 6×8 album along with some sheet protectors.


If you buy one full Core kit, several kids can use the same kit.  I’m planning to let them have access to several of the kits I already have. But if you don’t have any, you can probably just buy one (with a 40% off coupon to Michaels or Hobby Lobby) and spread it out for several kids to use.

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Each kid gets a stack of their own photos.  The amount will vary depending on the size of album you plan to use.  I print them all as 4×6’s and then you can cut them down to fit some of the 3×4 spots (I lay one of the journaling cards over the photo so I know where to cut to make it the right size).  I print these either at Costco or York photo online.  Or just google 4×6 prints and find somewhere running a sale.  (For more info on where to print your photos click here).


Then each kid will end up with their own completed album!


Besides the obvious benefit of them having a book full of pictures of themselves, this gift has other perks.  It will take them some time to get it assembled and completed.  Which hopefully means they’ll take better care of it and appreciate it more.  And keep them busy.

I also hope it will teach them the value of documenting life at an early age and appreciating the value of the stories we can tell through photographs.


This will obviously take a little effort on my part (and your part if you decide to do it).  And it’s a lot easier if your photos are already organized (which you can do in less time than you probably fear).  But I think it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

Steps to get it done:

Sort through all my photos and “flag” photos of a specific kid using iPhoto.  Then I put those photos in a folder to print.  And do the same for each kid.

Print photos

Buy an album for each kid and a core kit (if you don’t already have one).  When buying Project Life stuff, I use 40% off coupons at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  Amazon also does sales as well as Becky Higgins direct site.


A gift that matters, has value, and I don’t have to pick up off the floor 8 million times….hopefully.


Do YOU have any gifts you give your kids that have value and meaning?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for better more meaningful gifts.

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  • Betsy

    This. Is. Awesome! My 7 yr old loves taking pics so he could use this for pics he has taken as well!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Betsy that’s a GREAT idea. One of my goals for this next year is to start teaching my 10 year old how to take better photos. She’d love a collection of her own photos for an album. I bet your son would love that!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Sue

    I am taking my grandson this next summer to take pictures at a park or a place of his choosing for his birthday, which is in Jan but I am not going out in the snow and cold to take pictures, so we will do it on the half birthday. I plan on giving him a disc of all his photos from the day, but am taking all those photos plus ones I take that day also and have a book printed for him. He will be 11 in Jan. I am tired of giving gifts that just add more clutter to their room. I am doing an event with the grands for birthdays and also am doing it for my 3 daughters. It is really great for some one on one time.ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Carol–Great idea!! Giving photo stuff for gifts is perfect. No one throws away photos.ReplyCancel

  • Jen V

    So – I think Lindsay is a total genius and she sold me on this idea. It’s a great phase in my life to do this – my 4 kids ages range from 3 to 12. I went through all my photos this year and culled them down to around 100 pictures per child. Then I went (as Lindsay suggested) to Michaels – to check out the Project Life stuff and get a feel for it. To my surprise – all Project Life stuff is 40% off!! I bought 12 x 12 albums for $12!! I got everything I needed – and all at 40% off. Unbelievable. This sale goes through Saturday 12/12 so if you are thinking about doing it – get down to your local Michaels now! Such a great idea – and think of all those hours of quiet creativity during winter break! I am SO making this a Christmas tradition – I haven’t personally been this excited about Christmas in years!ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Jen– You are too too good to me! 🙂 Your kids will LOVE this. When my 5 year old opened his album at Christmas last year, he stopped opening presents and just sat and looked through his album. And my oldest daughter this year asked if she was getting more photos for her album. For clarification, they don’t fill an entire album each year. I think it will take a few years to get enough photos to fill an album.ReplyCancel

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