About 7 Christmases ago, I made some very simple Christmas photo placemats for my parents. They are simply our old family pictures--Christmas and otherwise--placed on red paper, color copied, and laminated at a copy shop. I love this handmade gift idea mostly because it PRESERVES our family's history, and our Christmas traditions for our kids. These placemats have become such a fun tradition for the Christmas meals at my parents' house. All the grandkids love seeing the old pictures, and hearing the stories that accompany many of the funny pictures.
HOW TO MAKE THEM:
I made 4 different placemat designs, on 11"x 17" (ledger size--the largest that copy shop could laminate) red paper. Over Thanksgiving (hint hint--get busy this week!!), my sister and I gathered a whole bunch of family pictures. Many of them were pictures of past Christmases, but some were simply old pics of extended family members. We tried to find pictures that were funny, or that told a story. I ended up using about 12-13 pictures per placemat--so I had a total of 50 pictures that I took to the copy shop (along with a roll of Scotch tape).
At the copy shop, I purchased 4 pieces of 11" x 17" red paper, and began arranging the pics. I attached the pics onto the paper only temporarily--just using Scotch tape on the back of the pics. Once I had the pics arranged, the copy shop made 3 color copies of each of the 4 designs, and laminated all 12 placemats. Ta-Da--that's it!!!
As you can see, these placemats are nothing at all fancy. But, the pictures on them are priceless--to our family. Each picture tells a different story, shows a different family tradition, reminds us of a beloved family member we miss... Every time our family has a meal with these placemats, we end up telling some of the old stories.
Oh, and just so you know...My mom still sets a beautiful Christmas table. Even though these placemats seem "casual," they look really great on the pretty table!
HERE THEY ARE:
On this one, I love Uncle Harry pointing at me (when I took the picture 30 years ago). I also love prim and proper Aunt Mae with my dad (bottom left). The one of my grandaddy kissing my forehead at the airport is priceless to me. And my mom at the piano in her white go go boots--Sassy! (oh she will hate this comment!!) Stay tuned for another picture in a couple of days of the 3 matching jogging suit girls...
When using these placemats, we usually laugh about my dad's blue robe...that appeared in many years' Christmas pics. Sadly, the blue robe has been retired. There's one of my Gram (bottom middle) at her house, and one with my brother holding one of my Gram's famous Christmas morning fried quail (YUM...middle right). And the one of my Grammy and Grandaddy in the middle always makes me smile.
There are also pics of the grandkids--who were so little 7 years ago! There are the little cuties (now tall and handsomes) Drew and Brady (upper left) and Claire, still without much hair (oh I rhyme! top middle) I SO WISH the pictures were clearer, so you could see my very distinguished older brother with a record number of olives in his mouth (middle left). And my Aunt LaNell, who has the BEST laugh, with our sweet neighbor Miss Patty (bottom right) That very well may be the only picture we have of our dear Miss Patty...
This one...I cropped a little...I am not sure my parents were ready for their WWW smooch premiere. However, on the placemat, the kiss picture is just CUTE and totally appropriate for our family. Also, Gina, I get bonus points for not posting a make-up free picture! I love the one with my little sister--with our 1980s big hair--on our Christmas garland stairway (bottom middle). Ah, and there's my sweet little blond girl Becca Boo! (bottom right)
If you make these for your parents or in-laws, or even for your own home--I hope they bring your family as much enjoyment, and giggles, as they have brought ours! If I can get my act together, I do hope to add a couple of new placemats this year...with some of the younger grandkids not yet born 7 years ago!
I'd also really love to tackle this project for my husband's side of the family...but shhh, don't tell!!!
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