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An old adage says a picture is worth a thousand words. We say they’re worth even more when given to a cherished someone. Photos can commemorate a special experience or person, and they can serve as a fun visual reminder of past good times. It's the holiday season, so spread these remembered joys with those you love.
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In that vein, here at Reviewed, we spend all year researching and testing the latest products, making sure we can confidently recommend our favorites just in time for the holiday season. Here are 23 photo gifts that we are really excited about—from the best vlogging camera we've ever tested to the photo album from our favorite photo printing service.
1. For the friend who’s celebrating a milestone moment: Make My Book Photo Service
After putting several photo printing services to the test, we ranked Shutterfly as the best overall printing service of 2020. With the highest quality photo prints among competitors like Snapfish and Amazon Print, Shutterfly’s impressive collection of photo gifts is worth checking out. The Make My Book service stands out among photo books, carefully created by a Shutterfly designer, and ready to ship in just three days.
2. For the new homeowners: Pallet Photo Art Gift
When deciding on an appropriate gift for a couple in their first home, this item is both stylish and sentimental. A unique wood medium offers a rustic flair to this décor art that fits in any living room or entryway. We also love that its maker, Raw Kraft, will replace the item for free if it gets damaged in the mail.
3. For the nostalgic family member: Layflat Photo Album
Artifact Uprising may not have the same level of name recognition as Shutterfly or Snapfish, but as a photo service, its quality is top-notch. If you’ve got someone who loves to reminisce with all manner of house guests, a Layflat photo album makes a sentimental yet chic addition—complete with customized foil colors and paper finishes—to a coffee or an end table. Plus, the gift-receiver can leave the book open to specific pages when they please, inspiring conversation when you come for a visit.
4. For your partner in crime: Custom Best Friends Portrait
Not sure what to get for the close friend in your life? Go the personal route with this best friend print. This Etsy shop creates the ultimate personal gift, allowing you to customize the hair and skin tone for a portrait version of you and your best friend. You can also add a personalized message at the top, making it all the more
5. For retired family members or grandparents: Custom Photo Puzzle
Nothing fills a grandparent’s heart with joy like little ones in the family. This holiday season, you can make them happy by filling their downtime, too, with a custom photo puzzle designed with one or more personal photos. This puzzle from Shutterfly can be created in four different sizes, from 60 pieces to just over 1,000, so even the most amateur or professional puzzle hobbyist will be satisfied.
6. For the one you share oh so many memories with: Heart Snapshot Mix Photo Art
If you have a friend or family member in your life that never fails to snap a photo on every occasion, this collage of Polaroid-style photos is the perfect gift. This art is available on Minted, an online marketplace where you can get specialty prints and goods from independent artists and designers. For this print, you can choose from a wide selection of frames and sizes, or get the art unframed. Here's a tip: The heart-shaped design makes for a great gift for your significant other, too.
7. For the coffee or tea aficionado: Custom Photo Mug
Can a coffee or tea drinker ever have too many mugs? Remind your favorite java fan of the fun times you’ve had together by gifting them this Tervis mug that can be customized with a personal photo. This quality, highly rated insulated mug is designed to keep your drink cooler or hotter than it would be in a regular cup (as do all Tervis products). With every soul-warming sip, they’ll be reminded of good memories.
8. For the quirky teacher or healthcare worker: Custom Picture Face Mask
Since coronavirus protective gear has become the new normal, an abundance of creative and fashionable face masks have risen to the top of holiday wish lists. We’ve tested the best face masks on the market, but this highly rated, customizable one is a favorite for its endless options. These can be personalized with photos of pets, celebrities, a family adventure, and more.
9. For the Gen Z-er with an old soul: Mini Photo Album
Organize quick, of-the-moment snaps all in one place with this vintage-looking album that can safely store up to 120 photos from an instant camera. The album comes in seven different colors and textures, and there is also a notes section to write down a date and location.
10. For the one who values the art of family portraiture: Custom Photo Painting
Know anyone with an art collection? A painted version of a cherished photo may be their perfect gift. PaintYourLife features a team of professional portrait artists who recreate the photo using varied mediums, including oils, acrylic, charcoal, pencil, or watercolor. These artists are committed to creating the best painting possible, allowing unlimited revisions and free online proofing.
11. For the friend who works from a home office: Brass Easel & Calendar
With remote working becoming an integral part of our lives, it’s important to create a working space that feels good and is just as charming as the rest of the home. This elegant solid brass calendar from Artifact Uprising is a sleek touch to a desk setup, offering 12 flashbacks—one monthly—to past adventures.
12. For the busy parent: Google Nest Hub Max
If you know someone who’s busy juggling work, school pick-ups, and dinner plans, you’ll be doing them a huge favor by gifting them a Google Nest Hub Max. This smart tablet features built-in Google Assistant for hands-free task management, compatibility with smart TVs and speakers, and more, but it’s on this list because it can also function as a digital photo frame, showcasing your collection of photos stored in Google Photos. We tested this exact model earlier this year, and we loved just how user-friendly and helpful it is.
13. For the design-forward friend with a large family: Gallery Picture Frame Set
The friend who has been looking to build their own gallery wall will appreciate this coordinating, 10-piece set of frames in nine different color collections. It is a stylish home accent and a fun decorating project made easy.
14. For the sentimental collector: Linen Photo Box
This bestselling photo box pairs a standard-size photo with a soft linen fabric and satin ribbon to keep your momentos safe and sound. We love how the box includes a special storage space for a USB stick, making it easy to share meaningful photos and videos along with the box. This gift is perfect for anyone who likes to show and tell their favorite memories and keepsakes.
15. For the pet-obsessed person who loves to cuddle: Custom Pet Pillow
We all know someone who treats their fur baby like their child—and this is the gift for them. These custom pet pillows are handmade in the U.S., with the submitted photo printed on cotton sateen. They’re cute and cozy pieces for the couch or bed, especially for former pet parents who want to keep snuggling with their cherished Rex.
16. For the one who likes to add personality to business casual: Custom Photo Socks
We’re here to say yes, socks are a great gift during the holidays—especially these custom-printed pairs. You can select up to 10 different faces to display—including pets. These make for a fantastic gag gift, whether at the office Yankee swap or the family Secret Santa.
17. For the design minimalist: Dipped Place Card Holders
What’s the best gift for someone who doesn’t like clutter but appreciates good design? Go for something small, sophisticated, and most importantly, functional. These handmade dipped card holders can hold many items (not at once), including note cards, place cards and photos. Not to mention they are absolutely loved by reviewers for their high quality.
18. For the one who loves a quirky way to decorate: Custom Photo Gallery Magnets
Bring some fun to any fridge that’s papered in grocery lists, school notices, and business cards. Family members, kids, and pets become hilarious on high quality glass photo magnets. This gift is sure to add a sentimental touch to their kitchen space.
19. For the proud parent of an adorable kid: Photo and Engraved Keychain
A custom keychain is a creative way for a parent to show off their child’s most recent school photo. And because in their eyes, their kid is obviously the best, any old keychain won’t do. We love this top-quality key fob made from cowhide leather and stainless steel—and it’s no surprise it is a bestseller on Etsy. Reviewers rave over its soft leather material and its beautifully embossed initials that take the quality of the keyring to the next level.
20. For the road-tripping family: 50 States Map Photo Collage
Many families opted to venture out on road trips this year when widespread travel all but stopped. This 5-star-reviewed, beautifully handcrafted 50 states travel map helps those with wanderlust track their trips across the country. Simply use the online resource the seller provides to print your photos into state shapes, then use the glue dots included in the gift to secure them once you’ve visited. This gift also inspires incentive to continue exploring.
21. For the amateur vlogger: Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K Digital Camera
While capturing amazing experiences while traveling abroad may not be in the cards any time soon, there’s still plenty of buzz around capturing what’s happened during this unprecedented year—and what lies ahead in 2021. Out of all the vlog cameras we’ve tested here at Reviewed, the Panasonic Lumix is our pick for best overall. It’s easy to use, extremely durable, and shoots stunning 4K video, making it a fitting camera for most vlogging needs.
22. For the one looking for photos to double as décor: LED Photo String Lights
Twinkling lights with a personal twist can complete a cozy space like a man cave or a she shed, and these highly rated LED battery-powered ones are Amazon’s Choice for string lights. The recipient can get interactive, clipping favorite photos or ephemera (postcards, notes, etc.). Bonus points for gifting this with a few of their favorite photos already included.
23. For the teen with the trendiest style and gadgets: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Film Camera
Instant cameras are becoming must-haves for photo-obsessed teens who love vintage filters. Of all the instant cameras we’ve put to the test, our top three camera choices were all Fujifilm Instax Minis. This latest version, the Mini 11, features a fun selfie mode that shoots exceptional close-up photos.
24. For the one who likes to get cozy: Woven Image Throw Blanket
We all know someone who’s always cold and cuddled up in the nearest blanket or oversized sweater. Certainly, there’s always use for a Snuggie or a slanket, but for a more personal gift for a get-cozy Netflix binger, try this woven throw blanket. This 100% cotton blanket from Collage.com can feature anywhere from one large image to eight smaller images woven right into it. If you haven’t heard of Collage.com yet, this online retailer is a reputable go-to for a vast collection of customizable photo gifts including phone cases, tote bags, and more.
25. For the one who appreciates a sustainable gift: Fracture Glass Print
For a modern take on the classic photo print, look no further. Fracture creates ultra-sleek glass prints while maintaining carbon-neutral sustainability throughout the manufacturing process. The durable yet lightweight piece makes a perfect addition to any home. Pair it with Fracture's Storyboard shelf, crafted from beautiful solid hardwood with ridges to securely hold your glossy photos.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: The 25 best custom photo gifts anyone will love