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(ARA) – Finding that perfect holiday gift for friends and family is always challenging. Clothes are difficult unless you know the perfect size and style. You can miss the mark on books and music if you’re not intimately familiar with the genres that interest the recipient. One type of gift that will never go out of style is the personal, handmade present.

While that may sound cliche, the fact is, something heartfelt – created from memories new and old – will almost always be more valuable to someone than something store-bought and mass-produced. The hard part is narrowing down the list of things you can make. A good start is to recall all your favorite memories by looking through the pictures you’ve taken throughout the year. After all, clothes may go out of style, but photos never will – so you will want pictures that will last for years to come.

How many photos do you and your family take each year? Hundreds? Thousands? Unfortunately, many of those photos end up staying stored indefinitely on your camera or smartphone, your hard drive or in email attachments. Creating great gifts with those photos – right from home – is a snap, and the key is to start with great-looking photos.

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  • Make frames. One of the easiest ways to get your kids involved in the gift making is frames. Start with Popsicle sticks – either colored sticks or the plain wood ones that they can color or paint on their own, and decide what size frame you want to make. You can also buy a frame with a large solid-colored mat around it so your children can decorate it, and you can simply put their photo in the middle – either are great gift ideas for parents and grandparents.
  • Make fun collages. With so many great family memories from the year, picking just one picture to highlight can be a challenge. One great way to put more of those memories in the spotlight is by making a collage. It can serve as a wrap-up of your year and a perfect complement to your family’s annual holiday card. Pick several really fun photos to cut out and lay the parts you want to use on a sheet of paper. Make sure you give the placement of the photos careful consideration before gluing it down to the paper or you’ll have to start over.
  • Share the holidays with friends and family from afar. We all have friends and relatives who aren’t close by. Take photos of your holiday dinner, your family opening gifts or decorating your home, and send them to your out of town loved ones so they can still be a part of your holiday festivities. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Holiday gifts don’t need to be costly or store bought to have that real, warm impact. Bright, quality pictures and a little creativity are usually all you need to get the job done – right at home.

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