Topics & Perspectives

Gratifying Gift Giving

Create a unique photo book for family and friends

Photo by Debra Goldie Jones ~

Gift-giving gets harder the older I get. Most of my friends are either downsizing or can buy themselves facials, massages, and bestselling books.

I’m particular. I like to give something that reflects my style and delights the recipient. How do I solve such a dilemma?

Personalized photo books.

I’m not talking about photo albums with a collection of random shots and corny captions. I’m talking about coffee table-worthy compilations of a specific time spent together with loved ones, or a unique topic of interest. I’ve made these books for friends for many years, now, and the reaction has been an over-the-top joy.

Here are three occasions that would warrant a personalized photo book:

Gift for a Travel Partner

I took a trip down the coast of Oregon, several years ago, with my boyfriend. I shot pictures on my phone along the way.

We saw magnificent foamy shorelines along the coast, cliffs and rocks, and a profusion of flowers one can only see this far west. I took pictures of old chairs, rusty signs, and amazing iron gates. A pair of baby goats passed us — what a lovely photo! At each seaport, I captured the sails, ships, dunes, and Dungeness crabs. I zoomed in on bowls of chowder and bottles of ale.

A few weeks after our return, when the high of vacation was starting to wane, I presented him with a souvenir he will always cherish: A beautiful photo book of our magnificent trip.

Gift for a Weekend Hostess

I had the privilege of visiting a friend in Taos, where we spent a few days exploring the area.
Once again, I used my phone for pictures. She admired some stick figures on a café wall. I caught her laughing as we entered the carved door of a museum. Sudden snowfall’s white blanket on riverbanks and scrub brush. A row of Santos, a roaring fire, a rare cheeseburger covered in fries — all memories of the moment.

When I gave her a carefully curated photo book, she cried. There was love in each of the pages.

Gift for a Gardener

I noticed a friend was posting gorgeous photos of flowers from her garden on Facebook, each arrangement paired with an antique vase from her collection.

I suggested she curate a book, and she liked the idea. At first, I suggested adding verses to go with the photos but eventually decided to make a desk calendar instead. The result exceeded both our expectations.

Her creations are magnificent, and now she knows how much other people are impressed.

Creating a photo book is an easy process requiring a minimum of computer skills. The cost is around $50 for a hardcover book with about 20 pages.

I made these books and others on, and they are worth more for all of the love and happiness they bring.


Debra Goldie Jones

Debra Goldie Jones is a dealer at the North Dallas Antique Mall, a freelance writer and content writer. She has been a dining critic, a shopping critic and now she’s just plain critical about everything!

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