Photo books make delightful gifts for the elderly parents and relatives in our family all year round

Photo books make delightful gifts for the elderly parents and relatives in our family all year round"It's that time of year..." when we start looking for special gifts for the elderly parents in our families, whether they live near or far. And there's one gift that almost always gets a huge smile - Photos taken by you. Nowadays, there are so many grand ways for us to prepare these delightful pictures to be extra special treats for our aging loved ones. Some ideas I've enjoyed using (many of which I'm working on right now as well), include:

Traditional photo gifts - take pictures, have them developed or print them yourself on photo paper and give or mail them to your loved ones.

Write a letter to your beloveds, and use your photos to spice it up - and those are just as much a delight for your aging parents who live nearby as those who live far away. We grandparents (and great-grandparents) never get tired of seeing our cute grandkids.

Send a Smilebox. Smilebox is a fairly easy program that's been around for several years. It's free to download from - as well as free to use, though be aware that it will have ads in it and your music choices are limited to what they have available. If you prefer, you can inexpensively buy a design that will be ad-free AND let you pick from your own music as well as from their selection. Personally, I like to subscribe to their annual option which gives me access to all their designs with no limits and no ads. Whatever route you prefer, you pick a design, add your photos, choose a song if you want, and email your Smilebox card. These are excellent for seniors who are online. My senior mom finally got online with her new iPad and I can't wait to send her one this year. For loved ones who are offline, you can also print the Smilebox card in color or in black and white and mail it.

Create a Photo Book. I've given and received photo books several times over the past few years, using Shutterfly and Blurb, and I've been very happy with them. You can use as many or as few pictures as you want and make it very wordy, use just a few words, or leave it totally wordless. Having seen my senior mom's reaction along with those of a couple of other older relatives, I can safely say that this is almost always a huge hit! When I make one, I try to add photos of the recipient as well. It's always a sweet treat to spot themselves intermixed with their family on the pages of their new photo book.

Whichever way you go, your gift is sure to be a sweet day brightener and a fun way of sharing your love and your life with your senior relatives, near and far. And all of these are wonderful to give, receive and read - all year round!

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