Holiday photo book gift ideas

The release of our 2010 collection of holiday cards has got me thinking about photo books as holiday gifts.

List 1 – quick ideas using existing photos
My first list of gift ideas can be created with photos that have already been taken. Little preparation is required to create these books.

(Photo Book by Julie323)

1. Travel: Most of us have gone on a trip this year, even if it was a weekend camping or a day trip to the beach. Often these trips were spent with family and friends. Why not use the photos you took on your travels to gift these memories in a travel photo book.
2. Year in Review: Take the best shots from each month or season and create a year in review photo book with those images.
3. Major milestones: Did you or someone you know get engaged, attend a wedding, celebrate the birth of a baby or a big birthday? Each of these events are worth commemorating in a photo book.
4. Favorite photos: Each of us has our favorite photos whether it was one you took last week or an image that someone else took a generation ago. Display, celebrate and share these favorite images in a photo book.

List 2 – ideas that need some preparation time
My second list of gift ideas requires more preparation, but it’s November so you’ve got time. You can also use these gift ideas for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, other holidays, or just because.

(Photo book by Euna-B)

1. Everyday moments: Similar to the year in review idea, this idea incorporates everyday memories and inspires you to capture details of daily living that you might otherwise overlook.
2. Family history: Whether you decide to take on creating a family tree through photos or just scanning an old family album to give the photos new life, consider telling your family history in a photo book.
3. Tribute book: Is there someone special you want to remember or honor? Make a tribute book with images and collaborate with others to provide remembrances of that someone special.
4. Family photo shoot: Hand over the camera to a professional or just a friend and get everyone in your family into the picture. Use a group shot for a holiday card and then take the rest of the images and put them in a family photo book.
5. Holiday traditions: From family recipes to ornaments handed down through the generations and all the details in between, document and share your holiday traditions with your family.
6. Teaching books: If there is a youngster in your life, a photo book that can teach – ABC’s, 123’s, colors – is in order. Look through your existing photos or take some special shots that illustrate the concept you’re trying to convey.

If you need more ideas or further inspiration, browse our Shutterfly Gallery where you’ll see hundreds of different books that fit each of these themes and will probably give you a dozen more.


  1. Joey says

    I love these tips and i have always said that photobooks make the best gifts; especially when someone is not expecting it. Great tips for making photobooks as gifts. I know i’ll be helping my sister as this will be her first book. She went to my party, so I have been pushing her to do one, and now is her chance to see how easy they can be.
    I love the two example books you mentioned above.
    Another great gift is the new desktop plaques. I just got mine yetserday and I LOVE them. I’ll for sure be ordering more for gifts. its a one-stop shop, shopping at Shutterfly.
    Happy Holidays!

  2. TonetteB says

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and tips! I have made tons of photobooks for gifts and have tried most of the ones above except for everyday moments and a tribute photobook yet. I would love to do both of these ones as well! The holiday one is also on my list with Christmas memories in the past like one made by Ellesnaps AKA Shutterfly Guru Lisa M. Then of course I also want to do a recipe photobook. I have been trying to remember for the past 9 months to take photos when I make our favorite meals and desserts. I have a folder with all the photos collecting in there. I hope to get it done soon! I better get cooking! LOL! Great article and awesome examples! :)

  3. cnj4755 says

    I wonder if people who make photo books, keep the original photos as well, either as photos or stored in an external hard drive or CD?

  4. julie323 says

    Great article with tons of great tips, Lara. I have made tons of photobooks to give as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions and I am always delighted at the genuine joy they bring to the recipients.

    To: cnj4755 I definitely keep all of my original photos used in photobooks stored on an external hard drive and on the Shutterfly site in my albums. Photobooks are such a wonderful way to store, display and perserve your photos for the long haul.

  5. BarbaraJ says

    WOW, I love the ideas you have given for creating books for gifts. I love sharing books with family and friends at Christmas and just because…bj

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