Homemade Family Treasures (Christmas Gifts): Links of Light Bulbs (9)

These gifts build family culture!  They may not cost too much, but they are a great way to collect family memories and strengthen the bond of family!  The good news with these homemade gifts is that once you create and format the first one…the others are easier to produce,
but will be treasured for years to come!

(1) Perpetual Calendar
This is one of the gifts we have made over the years for our whole extended family…one for each household and tailored to our family tree.

We created a template with 12 year old daughter Kelly’s awesome Kelly Comics and added family birthdates, First Sacrament dates, family Patron Saints’ dates and over time we continue to add any monumental firsts and family events and the dates that our loved ones have passed away.

It used to look like this!

You can create one like this too, with your own collage of family pictures.  Once you format one and record your key family dates, you can make copies for a treasured gift for your whole extended family!
With all the calendars we have made, we like to print the pages and glue them into a dollar store spiral-bound sketchbook.  It’s durable, with a nice cardboard back cover and it gives us a chance to glue a nice custom front cover on as well.  We use clear contact paper (also from the dollar store)  to preserve the front cover.  This is an idea straight out of A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families.  See the original Equipping Catholic Families post on Perpetual Calendars.
(2) Guess Who!? Family Edition

How about a Family Guess Who Game of familiar faces.
We made the family versions for both sides of our family last year for Christmas…so we have the deluxe version with both sets of templates.
You can make templates with pictures of your family and friends.  Imagine what funny questions you can ask to narrow the search, given how well you know your loved ones!
Check out my templates for a Saints version of the Guess Who!?

(3) Family Treasure Chest

We collected award certificates, newspaper articles, Sacrament certificates, report cards, a filled-out family tree, favorite pictures, special letters or cards between family members, birth announcements or special family newsletters, family trivia and any other special artifacts recording our family history. 
We made photocopies of each article, creating collections for each family of relatives.
We created a treasure chest out of a laundry box to store all the articles in and presented each treasure chest to a different family, reminding them that they can continue to add to their collection.
This is also an idea from A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families

(4) Photo CD

Having collected the family photos over the years and even scanning older pictures from family albums, I have quite the collection of photos!  One Christmas, I compiled a CD of all the favorite family photos I could find, organizing them into a different folder for each family.  Each family received the whole collection on a CD full of photos.  As the collection grows…it may require a DVD which can be formatted as a slide show as desired.

(5) Picture Book

We have created a number of photo books…sometimes with captions
and sometimes illustrating a crazy story
made up by my husband and the kids.

We even made up a whole spy story with our pictures from our trip to Australia.

Now, there seem to be endless photo book services online to create a photo book and have it printed professionally, but we assembled our own with bristol board,
scrapbooking paper and prong fasteners.

(6) Family Cook Book

Collect the special family recipes from as many relatives as possible.  If possible…request them to be hand written on index cards.  Scan or photocopy, organize and assemble them into a scrapbook or album, making copies for each family.  Your local printshop can spiral bind pages for an easy-to-use version. 
You may even want to make special copies for the young adults who are starting out on their own!

(7) Photo Coasters & Trays

There are specially designed coasters and trays available which are designed to hold your family photos.  There are also various other techniques to transfer images on different materials or even mod podge the pictures in place for practical gifts with memorable photos.  Check out All Things Homie for the Travertine Tile version!

(8) Family Trivia
Start building a list of questions and quotes for a special trivia game.  Perhaps you could enlist each family to come up with 5 or 10 questions to even out the playing field.

(9) Family Movies

Is it just our family that creates crazy movies tailored to special relatives on their birthdays?  In any case…ANY family videos including clips from family events can be compiled into a movie….especially as movie making technology gets easier and easier! 
(10) Custom Playlist
A CD (or thumb-drive!) can go a long way! 
Not sure how legal this is to share music, but we used to do it with cassette tapes!
The coolness factor goes way up with custom printed CD labels and CD cases. 
I’m sure we could figure out how to dress up a thumb-drive…

(11) Hand-Printed Shirts & Aprons
We have customized our share of T-shirts, aprons, coffee mugs and ornaments with hand-prints of our kids…especially the little ones!  As the hands get bigger…they can even be layered (big to smallest on the top).
We even used footprints for a project this summer!

What are your ideas for Homemade Extended Family Gifts?

you’ll find it in the Treasure Chest…

(well at least some of these ideas. =)


Linked to the Festival of Links: Christmas 2011
and the Fiestas de Enlaces

Links of Light Bulbs (9) is brought to you by Equipping Catholic Families, a division of Arma Dei.


  1. There are a lot of great ideas here. I would love to do these but I just don’t have any more free time maybe one day I will be able to be more original in my approach to gift giving. hand made really is the best gift. Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

  2. Monica, you never stop amazing me!!! I just wiah I had more hours in my day to be able to do all your great ideas!! I woudl love to try the Family Trivia this Christmas!! I will be fun!!

  3. Thanks so much for dropping by the Be-Bop-A Blog Hop! I’m a follower and I hope you’ll stop by again soon! Have a great day! 🙂


  4. Great ones!!! I love the treasure boxes!

    Thanks for joining Make Yourself Monday!! :o)

    For Love of Cupcakes

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  6. Great ideas! I love to give gifts that I make. Even better when my husband and the kids help. One year I made a board game about each family (one for my parents, one for my husband’s) which we play at family gatherings. It’s a lot of fun and helps my children hear family stories and fun facts about each family. Thanks for linking up with NOBH! Smiles –

  7. You have some really cute ideas.

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