I have been bombarded by a lot of email promotions related to personalized Christmas Photo Gifts over the past week. If you look around there are some good discounts (from free postage, which means slow, to half price) on selected items available right now but they may not last into next week. Anyway it is time to act now if you want your creations ready to give at Christmas. Probably the most common photo gifts are calendars and they are pretty easy to set up these days via on-line services. In simple terms the quality and price are intimately related, spend a bit more and you will get thicker paper, perhaps be able to insert photos in the date cells (eg. to identify family birthdays) or have more control over the layout. Having said that there are a number of good templates around and once you have selected 12 (or 13, one for the cover) decent photos you will probably be able to set up the calendar and order it within 10 to 20 minutes, including uploading time. $20 to $25 seems to be the going price for a monthly per page wall calendar printed on decent card stock and spiral bound. Remember when you order on-line you will have to pay shipping, anything from about $8 for standard (14 days deliver) to $15+ (rush). I can recommend the calendars from Vistaprint (inexpensive), Snapfish and Momento (more expensive but more options) having created calendars will all these services at different times and pleased with the results. Just remember most people only need one wall calendar, and maybe one desk calendar not a dozen (eg. one from each relative with a camera). So it might pay to ask around if others in your family have similar ideas.
This year mobile phone photo cases (providing they are an iPhones or possible a Samsung Galaxy) also appear to be a hot item. However I suspect that mobile phones are such personal items it is worth checking that it will be well received before you create an expensive cover so it doesn’t languish unused in a draw or cupboard. Photo mugs are much more affordable and more likely to be used and appreciated. Mouse mats are disappearing from desk but they are still used by a lot of us.
If you are a much more real world only person (you don’t like ordering things on-line). Head for the photo shop in your local shopping mall (if it still exists), alternatively Big_W, Harvey Norman and Officeworks also offer some photo gifts, especially calendars.