© 2012 photobookgirl

Day 4 of the 12 Days of Custom Photo Gifts – Start Your Own Holiday Photo Tradition




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Day 4 of my Can’t Miss Christmas Gifts draws its inspiration from some of this past year’s viral phenomenons. You know, those pesky things that appear on your Facebook newsfeed and fill your inbox – those things that you can’t resist clicking on first thing in the morning before you’ve even gotten out of bed?

Many of you may have seen the story I posted on my Facebook page a couple months ago about five friends who have recreated the same photo every five years for the past 30 years. Just in case you hadn’t, to summarize, in 1982 five high school buddies (and their pet cockroach) posed for a photo during a cabin trip to a California lake, never intending for it to become a tradition. Even while they continued to meet up at the cabin every year, it wasn’t until five years later did they decide to recreate the photo. From that point on, they’ve taken the same photo every five years to present day 2012.

I believe folks found this story appealing not only because it was interesting in a voyeuristic way to witness the changes in hairstyles and physiques that inevitably occur over time, but also because it evidences the bond of friendship among the five buddies and how it solidified over the last decades.

Taking the concept of recreation even further is photographer’s Irina Werning’s Back to the Future project. What’s visually captivating about her photos is how detailed they are in trying to faithfully recreate the past. I find myself scanning back and forth between the past and present photos trying to see how closely the details match, which becomes a fun game in itself. Basically picture yourself wearing the same exact outfit (only in a larger size) posing the exact same way or doing the exact same thing you were in that picture. Yes, even that dreaded grammar school photo you have with your coke bottle glasses and brown turtleneck with the gray marbled vinyl backdrop cannot be left to rest in peace. Of course it’s the embarrassing photos that garner the most favorable response, so just embrace it! I’ve been going through my baby photos and my husband’s baby photos and thinking about which photos may be fun to recreate. I talked about it here before in my post about unique ideas for baby photo books.

What I like about these two inspiring projects is that it essentially celebrates the everyday snapshot. Those photos that aren’t perfectly composed, clothes and hair askew, busy backgrounds – the unedited, uncensored version of real everyday life.

Those are the charming photos – the ones we come back to again and again and point out with a chuckle. It’s like the bloopers that some movies show during the end credits. (My hubby loves those blooper credits – even more than the movie itself!)

In researching for this post, I also found this hilarious site called “young me now me” where folks have posted their own photo recreations. I had to stop myself from spending too much time there. Now that we’ve gotten some inspiration, let’s get to it!



Look through old photos, pick one that appeals to you (some ideas below):

    • Find a photo of you and your mother and recreate that same look with you and your child (extra bonus points if you still have an outfit from your childhood to put on your kid!) or recreate that same photo with your mother and your child (grandma and grandchild);
    • Find a photo of your parents and their siblings and have them recreate the pose at the next family gathering;
    • Find a fun photo of you and your siblings to recreate;
    • Step into the shoes of your parent or older relative – works best when you’re roughly the same age as the person in the photo;
    • You may choose to incorporate a sign or prop that shows the year for an added touch;
    • If none of the old photos appeal to you, use the next family gathering or this year’s holiday party to take the first photo which you’ll recreate the following year and subsequent years; or
    • Think about any iconic photos that you may like to put your stamp on and create your own tribute to the original.

The Beatles crossing Abbey Road.


  1. Scan the original and do a little clean-up of the image if necessary – however, I tend to do minimal touch up to old photos as I like their antique charm (see my how to on scanning photos here);
  2. Do whatever post-processing tweaks you’d like on the new photo, perphaps cropping;
  3. Want to give the new photo an antique look? Use one of the many free filters or Photoshop Actions available online to give your photo that vintage look. (PicMonkey is a great free site with lots of special effects. Check them out plus other free photo editing sites I reviewed here.)
  4. Use a collage tool or editing tool to show the two photos side-by-side (try PicMonkey’s free collage tool)


  • Print it on your printer at home;
  • Upload them to your favorite printing service and make copies to share with family and friends;
  • Upload it to a photo sharing site or social media of choice and share away!
  • Turn it into a holiday card – many photo book companies like Shutterfly, MyPublisher, Mixbook and Snapfish etc. also print holiday cards;
  • Put in on a mug, calendar, blanket, canvas or any type of photo gift you can imagine;
  • Last but not least, place your masterpiece in a photo book of course!
I love these types of projects because you’re only limited by your imagination. Great gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money or any money at all. This would be a great creative projects for older kids too. I can’t wait to do projects with my little guy when he gets a little older. I love seeing parents and their kids in craft stores picking out supplies together. Love, love!

Do you have a photo tradition? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below!



Be sure not to miss any of my gift ideas! I’ll be archiving all of them on the main Photo Book Girl gift page as we go through all 12 days so be sure to check back! I’d love to hear if you’re planning on making any of my picks for someone on your list! Comment below.




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