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Beyond the Grandpa Mugs

You’re looking at your Christmas shopping list, trying to decide what to get everyone.  As you work, you glance over to your sleeping cherub.  Was there ever such a beautiful baby?  Back to your list: what could you give people that would bring them real joy?  Back to Cherub: who can resist that face?

And so, just as chocolate and peanut butter collided to bring us Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, your shopping list somehow seamlessly merges with your desire to stare at Cherub’s face for hours at a time.  Pictures of Baby for everyone this year!  Who wouldn’t love it?

Slow down there, Stella.  Just because you find her adorable, your mom may not need a mug with Kiddo’s mugshot on it.  For one thing, she doesn’t drink coffee. Or tea.  Or hot cocoa.  Forget the mug!  Let’s think a little outside the pottery box for a second.

Because photos aren’t in themselves bad gifts.  Many relatives who don’t live nearby would love the chance to gaze regularly on their grandchild/nephew/cousin.  The trick is to put the photo on something they’ll actually use.  As I approach Madeleine’s first Christmas, I’m eagerly scouring the Internet for cool, usable stuff on which to plaster her smiling visage.  I’ve come up with a few great sites, which I’m happy to pass on to you.

First off, there’s Cafe Press.  This site goes beyond the typical online photo stores in a couple of very important areas: first, you can upload any image or file to use with their merchandise.  That means text as well as photos.  You can upload Junior’s first  poem and print it on canvas bags for everyone in your family, should you desire.  Second, their merchandise selection is more varied – think clocks, underwear, coasters, ceramic tiles, you get the picture.  Finally, this site has a “storefront” where you can sell any item you’ve designed.  That way, if you design a shirt that says, “World’s Greatest Kid” with Cherub’s name on it, lay it out there in your “store” and Grandma can rush in and buy one. 

If Café Press doesn’t do it for you, there are several photo shops online that do basically the same thing, but I’ve searched a few of them for some more original photo gifts.  At Kodak Gallery, you can turn your photo into playing cards, a photo canvas, or a jigsaw puzzle.  Snapfish offers the same, as well as throw blankets, baby bibs, cutting boards (!!) and more. 

Surely now you can send Grandpa back to work after the holidays with something better than a mug.


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