Gift idea: a personalized calendar!

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means hectic Christmas shopping will soon begin! A necessity for anyone at the end of the year is to start getting ready for 2015, and what better way to get prepared than with an Elephoto photo calendar! Design and create a calendar for your loved ones – it would be a great holiday gift. With over a dozen designs to choose from, ranging from full photo pages to holiday themes, create a calendar that is sure to please friends and family. Here are of few examples:

Design templates from left to right: Modern Black | Bouquet | Christmas Elegance

When creating an Elephoto calendar, you have the options of a 12 or 18 month calendar, and can pick which month to start from. There is also an option where you can select which holidays you would like entered as well. There are many ways that you can add personal touches to make a unique (and awesome!) calendar – here are a few tips:

  • Add family birthdays
  • Add special dates and milestones – this could include graduations, recitals, sports tournaments, and so on
  • Include additional holidays
  • Use personal photos
  • Add photos to specific days on your calendar
  • Add text boxes to include personal goals for the month, a special quote, etc.
  • Create a calendar with your child’s artwork
  • Mix-and-match templates per page

Make sure your family and friends are ready for 2015 with their personalized photo calendar. It’s a perfect gift that you can tailor to each individual, so you know they will love it!

Family Recipe Cookbook Tips

Recipe photobooks are a great, as they can serve many purposes. One of the best uses is as a family recipe photobook, showcasing generations of precious family recipes. This is a great idea to preserve your family’s history, and will last much longer than saving a bunch of scattered recipe cards. We have come up with a list of steps to help you create your recipe book!


1. Give all family members a call and ask if they would like to include any recipes in the recipe book. Gather all of your recipes and images as well.
2. Decide what recipes you will use for the cookbook. Then organize them and decide what order they will go in. After you have decided which ones you will include, type each recipe out in Microsoft Word.
3. After the title of each dish, it’s a good idea to write a little description, for example, “Susan has a special gift for making blueberry pancakes. Blueberry jam along with fresh blueberries gives it the perfect flavor”. Its also a good idea to include “from the recipe box of …” on each recipe!
4. Take pictures of each dish, that is if you don’t have any existing pictures. Don’t forget to take some pictures of your family making and enjoying the dishes! These will really add a personal touch to your cookbook.
5. Design your cookbook. You can design your cookbook right in Elephoto. Just log in or create an account and you’ll be able to easily create basic page layouts in the Elephoto software. When designing your cookbook, keep in mind the finishing aspects that you would like to use. For example, if you want a photo on the cover or a plain linen cover. Elephoto offers a wide variety of options in terms of covers and book sizes.
6. When you are finished, make sure to do all of your proofreading and editing before you submit your order. It always helps to have a fresh pair of eyes check over your work.
7. After you do your final check of the file, simply fill out the necessary information and submit it to us! You family will love this thoughtful gift idea for the holidays.

What are some of your favourite homemade gift ideas?

Top five holiday crafts for you and the family

With the holiday season approaching, we have rounded up some of our favourite crafts to help keep you and your little ones busy.

Paper Snowflake

We have probably all made those paper snowflakes in elementary school where you fold up paper and cut out creative patterns. Here’s a paper snowflake that make a bigger impact. Follow the simple instructions pictured and you’ll have some decorations to hang in the window in no time!

Holiday Garland

If you want a garland on the creative side, gather up some old fabric and ribbon to make your own version of the classic decoration. This way you can easily customize it to match your other decorations and colour scheme!

Homemade Snow Globe

Create your own version of the classic snow globe. Using a small glass vessel that has a lid, such as a mason jar or a salt shaker (you can find both at the dollar store!) Glue any small decorations that you want inside to the lid, you’ll use this as the base when you’re finished. Create a winter scene with toy trees and fake snow and use some glitter or whatever else you can find at the dollar store that can act as snow without dissolving in the water.

Pine Cone Christmas Trees

This is a great craft to include the kids on and it looks super cute to boot! See the full instructions on how to create these over here. They’ll make a great centerpiece for your holiday gatherings or simply as some extra decorations for your living room.

Vintage Flowers

These vintage flowers can act as ornaments, part of your centerpiece, or use them to embellish your wrapped gifts. For the steps on how to create these, check out this great blog post!

What are some of your favourite holiday crafts? And don’t forget to take photos this holiday season to go in your holiday photo book.

3 Ways to Immortalize & Preserve Your Holiday Memories

Like most Canadians, you probably took tons of photos during this past holiday season. Whether you took them with your smart phone or a professional camera, some of these pictures are true gems that deserve to be immortalized and preserved for future generations. Maybe you have some shots of the family gathered around a table groaning under the weight of a holiday meal, or perhaps you have a funny photo of dad simply devouring that meal. Christmas photos can be the basis of a a great holiday photo book, a personalized 2013 calendar or a stunning canvas print that you can hang in your home or office. Don’t let those precious photos die in your computer or camera’s hard drive!

Holiday Photo Books

Photo books are definitely one of the best ways to immortalize your favourite holiday photos. With a photo book, your imagination can soar free as you can organize your book exactly the way you want. To make your holiday photo book even more meaningful, don’t focus only on photos. Include some notes or art from the children and interested adults. Include a cherished recipe in the pages to not only have a photo of a spectacular meal but instructions on how it was done. Different templates are available for photo books, and they can be an inspiration for your ideas. Learn more about photo books here.

2013 Photo Calendars

Personalized calendars are another way to commemorate that special event or Christmas holiday. They’re a great way to organize birthdays, anniversaries, and other important family events. Any dad who has forgotten an anniversary will be especially appreciative of a reminder! Include photos of family events both to remember them and build anticipation for the next one. Learn more about calendars here.

Canvas Prints

Elegant canvas prints are a thoughtful way to display a special photo of a smiling child with joyful eyes, a quiet moment with your spouse, or the whole family gathered for a Christmas celebration. Canvas prints are a welcome addition to both home and office décor with their artful look and stunning quality. They’re available in different sizes and are limited only by your imagination. Learn more about canvas prints here.

Families have holiday traditions, many of them handed down from parents to children. Photo books, calendars and canvas prints are an excellent way to preserve those traditions and memories, keeping them alive for your children and grandchildren.

5 Tips to Get Organized for the New Year

2012 is about to expire and 2013 is right around the corner! It’s time to reflect on how this year went by and what areas of your life you can improve for next year. One of the best ways to begin to meet those self-improvement goals is to get your home and work areas better organized. When your living area is organized, you will save time, money and energy that can then be redirected into other areas of your life. Fortunately, getting your household in order can be easily accomplished by following these five simple organizational tips…

Focus on Finances

After the holidays, a person will likely need to get their financial situation in order. Receipts, accumulated bills and other important documents should be carefully stored using a filing system. Many people also find it helpful to use an electronic spreadsheet that can be used to help them track their spending. This can make sticking to a budget easier over the upcoming year.

Conquer Paperwork

On top of bills, most households also have a large amount of paperwork that tends to pile up on every surface. Clear off that dining room table by dividing all of the paperwork into three easy piles. Label each one according to what action will need to be taken. For example, most people find that three piles labelled: trash, file and to-do will help them to eliminate the paperwork problem. Then, handle each pile accordingly, and set up a filing system that can be used to manage paperwork year-round.

Sort Out Closets

Next to paperwork and bills, most people’s homes also tend to accumulate a large amount of junk in their closets. Throughout the year, seasonal items, outdated clothing and cherished mementos are stashed away in a person’s closet. Organizing this area of the home can be tackled in a similar manner to paperwork. Simply take everything out of the closet and sort it into three piles labelled: donate, sell and keep. Then, hold a yard sale to get rid of your old items and donate the rest.

Music and Photos

After conquering paperwork and clearing out closets, many people will discover they have a large collection of treasured photographs and CDs. These can easily be stored in a way that takes up less clutter. For example, place photos in an album, or better yet, create a personalized book that can be placed in the home for visitors to peruse. Music can also be stored electronically, thereby freeing up much-needed space on closet and living room shelves.

Create a Scheduling System

It can be hard for a person to stay organized when they are constantly forgetting about important dates and appointments. For this reason, it is best to place a calendar in an area of the home that everyone can see. Then, important events can be included on the calendar so that everyone will know what to expect throughout the year. Using coloured ink or labels is a great way to keep track of each person’s appointments.

When making their New Year’s resolutions, it is always important for a person to consider investing in some additional time to organize their home. By getting their finances, paperwork and schedules in order, a person will be free from unnecessary stress so they can renew their focus on improving their life over the upcoming new year.

6 Unique & Unconventional Christmas Trees

When we think Christmas tree, we instinctively think of the traditional green pine tree that we’ve grown accustomed to see throughout the years. Some people, however, are moving away from this traditional vision and creating their own Christmas “trees” from different types of materials. Here are some of  our favourites…

#1 – Cozy Artistic Wooden Tree


#2 – Simplistic Modern Tree


#3 – Uniquely Handmade Tree


#4 – Suspended Ornament Tree


#5 – Metallic Christmas Balls


#6 – The Umbrella Tree


Have you seen any other unique Christmas trees worth a mention? Share them with us below!



Gift Ideas for the Person That Has Everything

We all have those hard-to-buy-for people in our lives that we struggle to find new and meaningful gifts for every holiday season. For these types of people, you can’t think in terms of traditional gifts like clothing, jewellery and electronics because you risk buying them something they already have or something they simply do not need and won’t use. It’s best to buy gifts of experiences or services. Here are a few ideas to spark your inspiration…

Charitable Donations

You can give a money gift to any charitable organization in the recipient’s name. This is a great gift for people who are passionate about a certain cause. If you are unsure whether the recipient is passionate about a specific charity, you can ask their spouse, child or close friends for recommendations. You can give the recipient a card acknowledging the gift you have given in their name. Some charities even provide cards for you to give.

Spa or Massage Services

Even people who can afford to go the spa every week often don’t think of treating themselves. Find a reputable spa in the area the recipient lives and ask them about gift certificates. Most offer certificates for many types of services like massages, facials, body wraps and pedicures. Most spas allow you to give a one-time spa service certificate or a certificate for services once a month for a year. If you’d really like to give a luxurious gift, forego the day spa and get them a certificate for a night or two at a luxury hotel, complete with in-room massages and food delivery.

Personalized Photo Gifts

We all take tons of photos every year, but most of us don’t know what to do with all these pics. Well, the holiday season is the perfect time to use some of our best pics to make great photo gifts for our family and friends. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives are usually delighted to receive personalized photo gifts like canvas prints or photo books. It’s simple to order canvas prints of your family photo or a special photo of your children with the recipient. A photo book that features your family members throughout the year is a very thoughtful gift that money can’t buy. Make sure to include pictures of the person you will be giving the gift to if you have them.

Experiential Gifts

People who have everything often love to share experiences with others. You could give them tickets to a local concert or event and offer to buy them dinner before the event and accompany them. Museums, aquariums, zoos and other popular attractions usually sell memberships that can be given as gifts.

If you’re looking for a unique experience to give, buy a gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride or a tour in a private plane. These are experiences that the recipient may never have had before. You may also purchase a certificate for lessons such as ballroom dancing, cooking or scuba diving. Just make sure that the person will be likely to use the certificate before you purchase it. Asking their spouse or child for recommendations is a good idea.

Lastly, if you are searching for unique gift ideas that are truly out of the ordinary, check out this site called This is why I’m broke, which showcases some of the most unique gift ideas available on the internet.

5 Tips for Great Holiday Cards

The holidays are just around the corner, and that means that it is time to design a holiday card that will be certain to become a cherished keepsake for your loved ones. Every year brings its own treasured memories. Family portraits, important milestones and special events, such as a graduation, are just a few of the things you might want to represent on your card this year. However, getting started on a holiday card design can be challenging when you are striving for perfection. Whether you are choosing to use professional portraits or random snapshots, these five tips will help you create a card that will wish your loved ones joy this holiday season.

Be Consistent

Consistency is one of the easiest things to overlook when planning a card. A simple rule of thumb for design is to make sure that each of the elements matches the other. For example, if you are choosing to use a formal portrait, then you will also want to go with a classic design. On the other hand, a spontaneous shot of your children playing will require a more playful background. When the mood of the photograph matches the tone of the card, it will be more successful at conveying your overall sentiment.

Use Photos from the Same Shoot

Narrowing down the photographs that you will include is also an important part of designing a holiday card. It can be tempting to create a collage of every special event that has occurred over the past year. However, this can appear overwhelming when they are all placed on the same card. For holiday cards, simple is best. Choosing photographs from the same photography session will help to create a theme for your card. While you may choose a series of different poses, it can help to keep them on a similar background or shoot from the same perspective.

Experiment with Editing

Professional photographers know that every photo can be polished with a little editing. By enhancing your photographs, you can draw out important features while hiding small imperfections. Experiment with editing software before submitting your photographs. Try changing a picture to black and white to evoke a particular emotion, or you can brighten up the focal point of an image so that the other elements fade into the background. These little changes can add a sense of professionalism to your finished card.

Choose the Right Font

With all of the focus on your photograph, it can be easy to forget about font. However, the message is very important on holiday cards. Consider the overall mood of your card when selecting the font. For example, a formal card will work best with a serif font. If you are going for a whimsical tone, then try a font that looks more like handwriting. Generally, it is best to stick with one type of font so that you can maintain a streamlined appearance for your greeting. You will also want to adjust the size of your font so that it fits into the correct space on the card.

Include an Inspiring Sentiment

Now that you have designed your card, it should also include a greeting that your loved ones can remember through the rest of the season. For many people, coming up with a creative sentiment can be intimidating. What is important to remember is that it should be heartfelt. Try including a few lines of your favourite holiday poem or traditional verse. If you have a favourite family tradition of singing a song or a story, then a few treasured words are all that it takes to conjure up a long-lasting memory.

Holiday cards are a treasured keepsake that many people display throughout the winter season. For this reason, you will want to get started right away on creating the perfect greeting card. By focusing on continuity and choosing the photographs and words that best represent your family, you can design a holiday card that will offer both love and warmth to everyone on your mailing list this season.

Find out more about our personalized holiday gifts here:

5 Funny Christmas movies worth watching… and re-watching!

As we’re heading into the long awaited Christmas week-end, we thought it’d be the perfect time to do a blog post about Christmas movies! We Canadians love Movies, Comedy and Christmas, which makes us the perfect candidates for watching funny Christmas flicks this week-end! 🙂 Here is a selection of 5 Christmas movies that are definitely worth watching (and re-watching)

1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

If you remember when this movie was a hit, you must be as old as we are! This is, according to public opinion, one of the funniest Christmas movies ever. The movie stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold. When the Griswold clan gathers for the holidays, Clark’s dream of having a good old-fashioned Christmas goes up in smoke, literally. Rude, crude, but downright hilarious, this is a must-see Christmas flick, year after year!

2) Elf

Will Ferrell as an over-sized, hyperactive, sugar-devouring Elf just seems all too natural in this movie.  When baby Buddy grows up to be Will Ferrell, he realizes that he wants to know more about his true identity and sets out for New York City to find his real father. Naturally, things don’t go so smoothly… this is one of the funniest Christmas movies ever shot! Worth watching and re-watching! 🙂

3) A Christmas Story

An oldie but a goodie! 1983’s A Christmas Story (which was partly filmed in Toronto!) is the story of young Ralphie who dreams about getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Naturally, his parents, his teacher and Santa himself are strongly opposed to his idea. With 89%, this movie is one of the highest ranked Christmas movies on RottenTomatoes. Definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet!

4) Bad Santa

This movie has received quite positive feedback since its release. Bad Santa is the story of two conmen who go on a road trip to malls dressed as Santa and his elf. Rather than spreading good cheer, the duo’s sole motive is to rob each establishment, a strategy that becomes complicated when they encounter an 8-year-old who teaches them the true meaning of Christmas. Laughs guaranteed!

5) Christmas in Wonderland

We had to include a Canadian movie in the list! If you haven’t seen Christmas in Wonderland yet, it’s definitely worth watching. A dad and his two kids move from Los Angeles to Edmonton on Christmas Eve. They visit the local mall to do some last-minute shopping, and while they’re there, they stumble upon a pile of counterfeit cash, and inadvertently catch the criminals behind it. It would all seem like a decidedly magical sequence of events, but that just might be because there’s something magical residing in the West Edmonton Mall.

Have a great Christmas week-end everyone!

Gloria’s Christmas Morning WIFEsaver

Gloria, with Miranda at age 4, doing what they love to do – spending time together and unwrapping gifts!

When Christmas gets to be this close, the excitement becomes palpable.  Everywhere you look, there are more lights, more smiles, and more joy!  That’s because Christmas morning is the most wonderful time and now it is only a few more sleeps away.

We share laughter and happiness with those closest to us, we open gifts that we spent all those months (or days if you’re a last minute shopper!) trying to keep secret, and then… mom runs off to the kitchen to start make breakfast.  Or at least that’s how it happened at a lot of our houses during our formative years.

Alas, one of the members of the Elephoto team, Miranda, shared with us about how her mom, Gloria, solved that when she was growing up, and we wanted to share it with you, our loyal Elephoto friends and followers!

Gloria came up with the “Christmas Morning WIFEsaver” and we’ve shared the recipe with you below.

This year, instead of spending your time in the kitchen on Christmas morning, you can prepare this dish on Christmas Eve, pop it in the oven before unwrapping gifts in the morning, and enjoy it an hour later.  Spend Christmas morning basking in the happiness of the season, the smiles on your loved one’s faces, and the delicious aroma letting you spend more time with your family.

Go ahead, enjoy the extra time without having to worry about cooking or cleaning a big mess for a breakfast that serves a big group… instead, snap more photos, steal more kisses, and tell more stories this Christmas!  And let us know what you think about Gloria’s recipe!


  • 16-20 Slices of Bread with the crust removed (plain is best)
  • Sliced ham or Canadian Back Bacon
  • Slices of Sharp old Cheddar Cheese
  • 10 eggs
  • ½ Teaspoon of Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of Dry Mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups of milk
  • ½ Cup of butter
  • Crushed Special K or Corn Flakes,
  • ¼ Cup of Minced Onion(optional)
  • ½ cup of finely cut green pepper (optional)
  • 1 dash of Franks Red Hot Sauce (optional)


  1. On Christmas Eve In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk and pepper. If you choose to use green peppers, onions or hot sauce add this in now. Mix thoroughly and put to the side-you will need this later on!
  2. Coat a 13 x 9 Glass baking dish in butter or PAM. Put 8 pieces of bread along the bottom of the baking dish. Ensure the bottom is completely covered.  (If you have gaps cup up a  piece of the bread  to fill in the spots J, and those instructions come directly from Gloria!)
  3. Add a layer of ham or back Bacon on top (completely cover the bread).
  4. Add a layer of cheddar on top (completely cover the ham).
  5. Add another layer of bread (ensure each layer completely covers the layer below).
  6. Pour half of the egg mixture over the full top of the dish.
  7. Repeat the layering process once more with the ham, the cheese, and a final layer of bread then pour the rest of the egg mixture on top.
  8. Press the top of the bead down with a spatula, cover it with some tin foil and put it into the fridge overnight…
  9. Christmas Morning, wake up, preheat the oven to 350°F,  take the dish out of the fridge, remove the foil and sprinkle the crushed Special K or Corn Flakes over the top layer, ensuring the top is generously covered.
  10. Melt the butter and pour over the crushed cereal layer
  11. Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes uncovered.
  12. Enjoy time with your family while this bakes, then serve with fresh fruit and ENJOY!

Happy Holidays from Elephoto!