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4 Ideas for Incorporating Photos into your Holiday

Scene: 1953, my grandma’s living room, annual Christmas card photo shoot. Four boys huddle around the fireplace, the littlest three smiling and holding their stockings up to hang while the oldest holds a prop camera–the kind with the big round flash, now vintage–and pretends to take a photo of them. The mantle looks a lot like mine does now–bottle brush trees neatly arranged across the top and evergreen garland draped festively in front. The boys’ fresh haircuts are combed perfectly to the side, and every outfit is ironed and neatly tucked for the picturesque portrayal of that 50’s Cleaver perfection. How do I know this? Because I have the photograph framed with three other of my grandparents’ Christmas cards and displayed in my hallway. And even though they have long been gone, I can feel my grandparents in the photograph–my grandpa’s attention to detail in the orchestration of the shot and the way he added a chair for my uncle to stand on to evenly space the boys’ heights, my grandma’s impeccable housekeeping and her dedication to the things that were of utmost importance in motherhood then–ironed clothes, fresh haircuts, clean faces, the deep roots of a loving home.

The love of photos runs in my blood–on both sides of my family, actually (throw in Brett’s–the deck is stacked)–and every time I walk past those old Christmas cards and see my grandma’s family, a lot like mine, I feel so appreciative for the way photographs rekindle our memories, connect us to a time, place and people we love, and make us feel loved and inspired. And because I speak fluent photo love, I’ve taken it upon myself to wrangle together four ways you can incorporate your favorite photos into your holiday this year, all of which bring a little happiness and sense of home. My friends at Artifact Uprising have hopped in to offer a giveaway at the end of the post, so make sure you check it out because their photo books are simply delicious.

1. Make a Book of Christmas Past for the Coffee Table

Collect all your holiday memories in one place so you can look back at how the kids have outgrown their Christmas footie pajamas and how your kids have matured in the annual photo with Santa  from screaming-on-his-lap to happily standing next to him. We used Artifact Uprising’s Hardcover Photo Book for ours. To keep it easy, I arranged photos randomly (rather than chronologically) and included the year on each spread by inserting a text box in simple white text (all easy to create and manipulate on Artifact Uprising’s site).

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My favorite thing about our book is how much the kids love to look at it and talk about the photos.

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When the season’s over, we’ll pack up our book with our decorations to be tucked away until next holiday.

2. Transform the Photos You’ve Taken This Year into Gift Tags

I love the art of wrapping and the challenge of using simple things to make packages look beautiful, and photos are the perfect way to personalize a gift and add a unique little “garnish,” not to mention pull up some great memories you’ve made over the year.

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Artifact Uprising’s 3.25 x 3.25 Everyday Square Print Set are perfectly sized to work as gift tags or to accompany them to make a gift stand out.

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The hard part–choosing which memories to include!

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3. Print Old Holiday Photos to Display in Your Home

This is one of my favorite ways to decorate for the holidays, and it’s super easy. Simply collect holiday or wintery scene photos from over the years, print them and display around the house during the holidays. I switch out our framed art in our living room with holiday photos (I store them taped behind the other prints, so it’s easy to make the switch) as well as add some to the kids’ bedrooms. I love Artifact Uprising’s Wooden Photo Ledge (made of real walnut wood and handcrafted in the U.S.–ours is the 18″ one) because it’s made to hold photos without frames, so it’s easy to switch out prints throughout the year.

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We keep a stack of prints in a drawer near our ledge so we can switch out prints whenever we want to freshen things up.

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4. Create Meaningful Gifts with Your Photos

The best gifts are always the ones with meaning and memory, so you can never go wrong with a photo gift. And for grandparents? Photo gifts are always the way to go. We’ve done photo books and framed photos and, while I love them, I’m always looking for a little more out-of-the-box way to present and gift photos. I love these two:

This Brass Easel & Print Set that comes with twelve 5 x 7 prints of your choosing.

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It’s beautifully packaged, and its sleek design fits in with any decor.

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And this Handcrafted Wood Clipboard Calendar (has a magnet on the back) that doesn’t take up a lot of room (I love a good calendar but can never find the wall space to display them) and combines your favorite photos with a simple calendar design for a sweet little display.

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Our kind friends at Artifact Uprising are giving away a Hardcover Photo Book like ours. All you have to do is enter your e-mail below for a chance to win.

I’ll share a few tips in December on taking pictures through the holiday, how to capture the best moments and how to balance “capturing” with the moment itself.


Leave a Comment
  1. Hello!! Please share where that adorable little White House on your table is from??? Does it light up? Love it! Thank you!

  2. I love your ideas..I should get cracking on a book of past Christmases..I have many in a Hallmark envelopes but I love my PhotoBooks so this is wonderful..I will get cracking..may be for next yr though as time is of the essence.My grandchildren all love their photobooks.
    I wish I had some of me:( I have very few pics of me as a child:(But I do have a Christmas one. your ideas even inspire a 63 yr old:)

  3. Laura ortiz says:

    Thank you for sharing your recommendations for photos displays

  4. Where did you get that pine cone wrapping paper. I have so many uses for that. Love your ideas, thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Kelle,

    Love this post, please could you share where you got all the small Christmas trees which are part of the decor.


  6. Photos are my Love Language, too. I found 4 suitcases of my grandpa’s old slides this summer, up at the family cabin, & sent the best 85 off for scanning. I can hardly wait to share these photo albums with our extended family in 3 weeks. :-)

  7. I love making photo books. I started back in 2005 and ended in 2008, so yes I have 9 years to get caught up on!! I love your idea of having a special family Christmas book to pull out each year with the rest of the Christmas books and decorations. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love these ideas! Especially using photos as tags! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  9. Kelle,
    What was the name of the company that you have used before to have old slides made into photos.

  10. Carla O'Neal says:

    Love these ideas! Especially using photos as tags! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  11. Christina says:

    Hello! Is the giveaway open to Canadians?

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