If you love to travel, I’m sure you also love to take photos. Through photography you can experience certain situations from a different perspective; you can immerse yourself fully but also take a step back and realise how lucky you are, right here, right now. The best thing about taking photos while travelling is that you get to create ever-lasting moments. Some time ago, we shared an image on our FB page which said, ‘Photos are our return ticket to a moment otherwise gone’ – and I think this is 100% true.

Whenever I flip through my travel photos, I’m hit by nostalgia for the road, for the places I have visited and for the people I met along the way. When it comes to Christmas presents, I love to pass on this nostalgia – either as memories for my past travel partners, or as inspiration for potential partners in crime in the future. The cool thing about photo gifts is that you don’t have to be a DIY genius in order to give something you made yourself. If you shot the image, you personally created the content of the gift – and that’s what counts! It is so easy to surprise your friends and family with creative gifts that carry a lot of your own personality. Here are ten of my favourite ways to turn your photos into Christmas gifts:

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas presents

1. A Calendar 2016 from PhotoBox

Just a few months ago, we tried PhotoBox for the first time and made a ‘Best of Beaches’-book with our favourite beach Instagram shots from our past travels. We really liked the result of the photo book, which is a great gift for someone you shared a journey with. Next time, though, we want to try one of their new photo calendars (UK page), because a calendar makes the perfect gift for anyone: they are great to collect twelve memorable moments of your (travel) friendship or simply inspiring photos of breathtaking landscapes which anybody would enjoy. Everybody needs a little bit of organisation in their lives, and a new calendar is ideal to start off the new year as well. To make it even more personal, mark some special events throughout the year by hand – like your birthday, bank holidays or which country would be the perfect destination each month.

I also really fell in love with the Photo Journals (UK page) and can’t wait to design one with some inspiring photos and quotes, and plenty of blank pages. Great as a gift for travellers, because it gives them plenty of space to take notes, but is also a very personal gift! from €21.90 (calendar) / €12.90 (photo journal)

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas presents - Photobox, Photo Journal

2. A Mosaic Poster from Postrgram

Artsy and creative folk (who can’t decide on just one photo) will love to play around with Postrgram, an online shop which allows you to create mosaic posters from your Instagram feed (or individual photo upload – but it is quite exciting to see a lot of your IG shots make up one big picture together). This is the perfect way to use many of your photos rather than just one, to create a personal piece to decorate a home. I’m sure my mum would love a mosaic selfie of me in an exotic place for the living room, and my best friend a shot of my favourite ice-cream cone or cocktail glass for the kitchen!

I had great fun going through our Travelettes IG photos and seeing all the different combinations of prints I could make. Here are a few tips for getting the best result possible: like every kind of mosaic it works best with a little distance. The more photos you use to make the big picture, or the smaller the big picture is in format, or the further you stand away, the less ‘pixelated’ the image will appear – so make sure to upload plenty of photos, choose the size of the print wisely and don’t hang in tiny rooms. The mosaic structure also works much better on shots that show distinct people or objects, rather than small details, empty landscapes, lines or geometric forms. from $8 (digital copy) / $29 (print) / $39 (canvas)

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - Mosaic poster print, Postrgram


3. Photo Wallpaper from Decorelo

The thing about customisable photo wallpaper is that in order to get perfectly sharp results on a large scale, the photo you send in, has to be of absolute highest resolution – otherwise you end up with a pixelated version of a theoretically beautiful image that just doesn’t look right blown-up to the size of your wall… One solution is to go for a ready-made motif, shot by a professional photographer and guaranteed wallpaper-material. OR, you go for a personalised photo collage on adhesive wallpaper from Decorelo, which can turn walls, doors or any other large surface into a picture frame for memories.

Depending on the receiver of this gift (maybe your flatmate or partner?) you could go for shots of the two of you, or a place you visited together, or the favourite landscape of the person. Maybe a collage of rainforest images? Maybe beaches? There is no limit to your ideas! from $78

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - Photo Wallpaper, Decorelo


4. Fridge magnets from Rustic Details by DM

When it comes to bringing home souvenirs from my travels I’m a sucker for fridge magnets. I try not to collect too many things in my flat (because I move way too often), but the bag of fridge magnets I haul around from home to home is ever-growing. They are also a favourite gift of mine to friends, because who doesn’t have a fridge, and who doesn’t like to display pretty things in their home.

The online shop Rustic Details by DM lets you turn  your IG pictures into personal fridge magnets, which I think are a great Christmas present. You can choose between sets of four, five or 27 magnets, or a photo puzzle with 9 pieces – perfect to mix and match memories from the journeys when you couldn’t bring back physical souvenirs for your friends and families! from $12.50

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - Rustic Details by DM, Fridge Magnets


5. Photo Bunting from Heart Kiss Hug

Restricting the use of bunting to children’s birthday parties is long gone – nobody can blame you to bring a little bit of party-atmosphere into your home and daily life. Bunting is so much easier to mount than photo frames, because you don’t necessarily have to use nails, but could simply tie it to window handles, curtain rails or anything similar – the ideal gift for your friend who lives in a college dorm, dreaming of traveling the world – or someone who moves a lot and doesn’t want to haul picture frames around all the time!

I love the polaroid style bunting you can get at Heart Kiss Hug, an Etsy shop that operates from England but ships worldwide! from $10

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - photo bunting, heart kiss hug


6. A Tearaway Calendar from Social Print Studio

A tearaway calendar is the perfect photo gift for minimalists who fancy a tidy desk, particularly when you go with the very clean design of Social Print Studio. You can choose a different (IG) photo for each day of the year and there are three different layouts. That way you can share 365 (!) of your favourite photos in one present!

My biggest issue with this gift would be to actually tear off and throw out the image every morning… make sure to recycle the paper properly! from $40

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - Tearaway Calendar, Social Print Studio


7. Christmas Cards from Artefact Uprising

A few months ago, Sophie talked about Artifact Uprising on her and Alex’ blog, and I knew at some point I had to give this a go. As I live in a different country than most of the people I want to give Christmas gifts to (mainly my family and childhood friends), wrapping up presents and including a nice hand-written card is always a major part of making the actual present.

The postcards from Artefact Uprising seem to be a great addition to any gift. You can order a pack of Christmas cards with the same motif of one or nine square images (from $1.40/card), design them yourself (from $1.50/card) or receive a selection of 20 pre-designed postcards each showing another photo of yours ($29.99).

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - christmas photo cards, artifact uprising


8. A Phone Case from Keep Sake Photo Gifts

If you know a person as clumsy as me, be reassured that they will appreciate your gift above everything else, if it is indeed a protective case for their phone. I’m notoriously bad for dropping my phone on the floor because I get too excited about the things I want to capture, or because my fingers freeze while I try to get that perfect winter shot… As a non-iPhone user it is however not always easy to find a cool cover for my phone.

That’s why I like the Etsy shop Keep Sake Photo Gifts, where you can get a phone case for almost any brand of smartphone and customise it with your favourite photo(s). from $8.50

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - phone case image via Caribou Creek Cases (only iPhone & Samsung)

9. Coasters from Awe Snap Crafts

I was never big with coasters, but somehow lately I have started to develop a love for unique coasters to place my cups on. My selection spans from cheesy Christmas motifs to weird Scottish colloquial, but I think the next time I move house, my flatmate’s Christmas gift will be my own travel photos on coasters.

There are many shops out there, but I was particularly intrigues by Awe Snap Crafts, because the artist doesn’t use mod lodge glue, which melts way too easily – I reckon the quality would be particularly good at this shop! from $20

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas gifts - Photo Coasters image via Darkroom & Dearly

10. A Double Exposure Portrait from Daydream Diaries

This is the classic present of a framed photo print with a twist – a double exposure portrait print from the Etsy shop Daydream Diaries. This is a great gift for a fellow traveller – somebody you’ve visited a particular destination with. You could combine a portrait of that person (or a local) with a landscape from the place you’ve been to together.

The shop will send you a digital file of the image, so you can get it printed and framed wherever you’d like, or printed on canvas, or even turn it into another photo gift from this list. from $39

10 awesome ways to turn your photos into christmas presents - double exposure portrait image by Khánh Hmoong

With these ideas I hope that even the clumsiest DIY-greenhorn will be able to finally give away an almost self-made present!

Do you like to turn your photos into Christmas presents? Or do you have other ideas for cool DIY Christmas gifts? Let us know in the comments – Christmas is coming!


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This is a post by Kathi Kamleitner.

Kathi Kamleitner was a regular contributor at Travelettes from 2013 to 2019. Originally from Vienna, Austria, she packed her backpack to travel the world and lived in Denmark, Iceland and Berlin, before settling in Glasgow, Scotland. Kathi is always preparing her next trip – documenting her every step with her camera, pen and phone.

In 2016, Kathi founded Scotland travel blog WatchMeSee.com to share her love for her new home, hiking in the Scottish Highlands, island hopping and vegan food. Follow her adventures on Instagram @watchmesee!