For three years now, I’ve made photo books for Caedmon and given them to him in his stocking at Christmas. I had a couple of people ask about it, so I thought I’d share the details.
I know there are fancier ways of making photo books, but I started this with Caedmon when he was 2. I wanted it to be durable, and was afraid that if I made an actual photo book, it wouldn’t be able to handle the wear and tear.
My motivation behind making the first one was to help him recognize people and get over some of his shyness. It helped. And he enjoyed the book so much, I decided to keep making them. I think I like the photo books as much as he does!
These are the three books I’ve made for him, the oldest on the left, newest on the right.
See how they’ve been excessively loved? The one on the left lost its cover long ago. But Caedmon still loves to look at the pictures in it.
So here’s how it works:
Each year in late November/early December, I go through my photos and choose 100 to put in Caedmon’s book. I try to start where I left off the previous year, but I usually end up just starting in January and going through the end of November/first of December – whenever it is I’m making the book. I tried to choose a certain number from each month, but some months just have more fun things in them than others. I copy all of the photos I want to use into a separate folder, then see how many I’ve chosen. If it’s more than 100, I have to delete some. If it’s less, I know I can go back and choose more. I’ve never had that problem, though.
So what kind of photos do I choose?
Family members, and Caedmon with family members. This photo is from Caedmon’s first book. He and NLB were bear crawling because Caedmon didn’t like his knees in the grass.
Fun places and events. These are from last year’s book, when we visited the fire station. Caedmon still talks about when we went, and loves to look at the pictures.
Family and friends. We have photos from birthday parties and playgroups, holidays and family gatherings. The group photo is from Caedmon’s 3rd birthday party, and Brandon and Jill are our special friends who are like family to us.
Big events. From this year’s book, we have pictures of when Caedmon and Honor met for the first time.
I am also sure to include a family photo, photos of Husband and me together, and photos of each of us with Caedmon. Most of mine with him are fun self-portraits. And this year I included several of Caedmon and Honor together. Next year, she’ll need her own book!
I also put the photos in chronological order. It just makes more sense to me that way. Not that I’m Type-A about it or anything.
Yes, ordering 100 4x6 photos can get expensive - about $20, depending on where you have the photos printed, plus the cost of the album. It probably costs about the same as making a photo book from a site like Shutterfly (which I may look into this year since I will need to make two). But this year I was able to use Pampers reward points and got all the photos for free, and I ordered with some other prints and got free shipping. So all it cost was $5 for the book.
Caedmon keeps his photo books in his room. He looks at them regularly. And we look at them together sometimes at night before bed. He loves to talk about what else was going on the day those pictures were taken, and of course my detailed child remembers those kinds of things!
Like I said, I put these in Caedmon’s stocking each Christmas. You’d think he would toss it aside in favor of candy or a toy. But he really is excited to get a new picture book.
I love that Caedmon gets to see himself with family members and friends, especially when we can’t be with them a lot. It helps us keep them close when we have to be far apart. I hope this is a tradition I can keep going for a long time for both kids!