Beat the Holiday Rush by Ordering these Creative Gifts Early

In the blink of an eye, the holidays will be upon us. It happens every year – you think you have lots of time, and then suddenly you’re scrambling to get everything ticked off your holiday shopping list. Why not make this year different? If you’re planning to send gifts or cards abroad, or want to be able to give out gifts to friends, co-workers and teachers before the holidays begin, then there’s even more reason to be proactive and start ticking off your holiday shopping list early.

Our London Drugs Photolab has all kinds of gift ideas, from greeting cards to tree ornaments that you can personalize with your own photos for some truly unique and thoughtful gifts. The best part? You can order them all without ever having to step foot in a mall. By ordering early, you can get your gifts delivered to your home well before the holidays – either by ordering online, or using our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android.

Keep reading below for 6 creative gift ideas that will help you beat the holiday rush!

Personalized Greeting Cards

If there’s one thing that belongs at the very top of your to-do list, it’s your holiday greeting cards. Depending on how far around the world you’re planning to send your cards, you’ll want to give ample time for them to arrive (preferably at the start of the holidays). Before the holiday rush hits, take some time to design your cards, create your list of recipients, and get them ready to toss in the mail.

Holiday greeting cards are a tradition for many families, as they’re a chance to get your family and friends caught up on your year (and show off your beautiful family with a few photos too). To help you make your cards extra special, we offer personalization options that allow you to add photos and text directly to the cards – no more hand cramps writing them by hand! (Pro tip: order a stack of 25 cards to save!). Our Photolab also has a variety of themed card templates for Christmas, Hanukkah and general Winter themes, so no matter what your traditions, you can find a beautiful card to customize.

Not sure what photo to use on your card? Check out our blog here on tips for taking the perfect holiday card family portrait.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Gifts like personalized Christmas tree ornaments are an excellent choice for co-workers, teachers, or anyone else you want to share a little something with to wish them a happy holiday season. If you’re looking to give out gifts to these people though, it’s best to order them before the holidays begin. That way, you can have them ready to go before the last day of school or work. You’ll also want to give out your ornament gifts a bit earlier than Christmas so they have time to hang them on the tree and fully appreciate them during the holiday season!

New this year, we have beautiful wood ornaments, in addition to ceramic, crystal, pewter, metal, and ball ornaments. Each one can be customized with a photo, as well as a personal message or a date if you like.

Heart Puzzles and Storage Tins

Holiday parties can often take place weeks before Christmas is here. If you know you’ll be heading to some parties this holiday season, it’s a good idea to have a few small gifts in your arsenal that you can give to the party hosts, or bring as part of a gift exchange. Our photo puzzles are a fun and unique gift if you’re doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, for example. Just pick an image of your choosing, and we’ll personalize the puzzle with that image! You can even order a puzzle that comes with a matching storage tin.

The Gift of Fine Art

Consider yourself an amateur or pro photographer? Why not turn your best photos of the year into prints to give to your friends and family! Or simply take your favourite shot from a photo session you’ve had, and order some prints to share. This is a great way to gift someone a special memory to treasure. Our If your not sure why print surface is best for your image, you can always visit our LDExperts in the Photolab. Our Photolab also has two brand new fine art papers that can elevate your images from ‘photos’ to ‘fine art’ in time for the holidays.

Baryta Fine Art Paper

Baryta is a bright white cotton paper ideally suited for photographic images. This smooth cotton paper was designed for long life – perfect for those memories you want to stand the test of time. Fine art photography, portrait photography, wedding photography are all ideal for this print surface. It’s also great for scrapbooking, if you’re planning to get very creative with your gift-giving.

Kauai Fine Art Paper

If you really want to step up your gifting game, you can go with some museum-quality prints. Kauai is a smooth hot press fine art paper that is best for print that require Museum Grade quality, especially when Image Permanence is a critical factor. This smooth cotton paper was designed for long life, and similar to our Baryta fine art paper, it’s ideal for fine art photography, portrait photography, wedding photography and scrapbooking.

Cozy Photo Blankets

What do you buy for the person who has everything? Rather than scrambling at the last minute for gifts for those tough-to-buy-for people on your holiday shopping list, here’s a gift idea you can order right now: a personalized fleece blanket. These cozy blankets can be customized with either one image, or a collage of images. They’re a great way to give the gift of coziness, plus the photo personalization adds some real uniqueness and thoughtfulness that they’ll appreciate.

Personalized Pet Tags

Know of someone whose pet is their best friend? Here’s a creative gift idea they’re sure to love: a personalized pet tag! You can order a pet tag with a snapshot of them with their beloved pet, and even add their pet’s name to it. We also have customizable pet bowls that you can add an adorable photo of their furry friend to. A perfect gift set for all the pet lovers on your holiday shopping list!

Morale Mail: Send a Care Package to Members Serving Oversees

Once again this holiday season, Canada Post is offering free shipping for family and friends of deployed men and women who wish to send their loved ones a special care package. This comes at a time of year when it can be difficult for those posted overseas who can’t return home for the holidays, and a gift from home can go a long way to making them feel cared for.

You can create your own Morale Mail care package, complete with everything from chocolates and personal notes, to personalized gifts. A photo book of them with their family and friends would be a thoughtful way to show them you care. Or a cozy blanket customized with a photo of their beloved pet on it, so they can feel a little more at home. Why not also include a personalized greeting card telling them you’re thinking of them?

Free shipping on parcels will be available from October 16, 2019 until January 10, 2020, and regular letter mail (up to 500 grams) will be free of charge until Deccember 31st 2019. You can find more information on Morale Mail here.

It can take up to 28 days for parcels to arrive, so the sooner you plan out your care package the better, to ensure it arrives in time for the holidays!

8 Tips for Taking the Perfect Holiday Card Family Portrait

We all know that one family that kills it at the holiday greeting cards every year. The card is always beautiful, the message inside is so thoughtful, and most importantly, their family portrait looks flawless. What’s their secret? They’re probably following these 8 tips for taking the perfect holiday card photo:

1. Decide on a style

You want your family portrait to properly reflect your family. If no one in your family would ever wear a suit and tie, then a dress code that formal won’t be a good fit. The opposite is also true – if everyone is excited to get all gussied up, go with it! Just make sure everyone is on the same page – you don’t want one kid in jeans and the other in a fancy holiday dress.

If you want to go with a cute and quirky photo, you could also add some props to the mix! Hand out some funny antler headbands, or some Santa hats.

2. Pick a colour scheme

The key to a great looking family photo doesn’t lie with matchy-matchy outfits. It does, however, lie in finding a good combination of colours, textures and patterns that work together. So skip the ‘everyone wear red’ mentality, and instead have your family work within a broader colour scheme.

3. Choose a location

Your location may depend on who plans to take your photos. If you’re planning to take the photos yourself (with a self-timer), your best bet is outdoors or somewhere in the home where you have lots of natural light. Otherwise, lighting your photo properly might be a struggle if you’re not an expert. If it’s snowed recently, there’s your chance for some great ‘winter wonderland’ shots, as well as some possible snowball fight candids!

Also keep in mind the style and colour scheme for your family portraits when deciding on a location as well, so that they all fit the look you are creating.

4. Keep your subjects happy

Not everyone loves taking photos, we get it. Sometimes, preparing a little reward is an easy enough way to keep your subjects happy during the shoot. Plan ahead and order in some pizza or have some other yummy snacks on-hand. Or if you’re shooting outside in the snow, consider having some hot chocolate on-hand to keep everyone cozy and warm in between snapshots. It’ll go a long way to avoiding the usual groans when you ask to take ‘just one more’ photo!

5. Go pro or DIY-it

You have the option of hiring a professional photographer, or taking the photos yourself. If you have smaller children, you may prefer to hire a photographer, so you can simply focus on making sure the kids are all under control and happy, instead of also having to focus on lighting, framing, and everything else that comes along with shooting.

If you’ve got a little (or a lot) of photography know-how though, then you may decide to shoot the photos yourself. The biggest advice our LDExperts can give you is to take lots of photos. That way, you’ll have plenty of options to work with later on – so you can find that one perfect shot where everyone’s eyes are open. Have a tripod and self-timer remote with you, so you can easily set up the shot, join your family and then hit the shutter release.

6. Schedule a time

The last thing you want is to feel rushed during your family photo shoot. Especially with the shorter winter days, you’ll want to make sure you schedule enough time so you’re not running out of sunlight (if you’re shooting with natural light). Ideally, the weekend will give you the most time. If you can schedule your shoot on an overcast day, that will be your best bet!

7. Get everyone in focus

The size of your family is going to help you decide what aperture you want to use with your photos. A nice wide aperture (ex. f/2.8) will give your family portraits that beautiful blurry background, but you have a lot of people in your frame, you might find that some of your family members end up out of focus. If this is the case, you’ll want to go with a narrower aperture, to ensure everyone stays in focus!

8. Keep it simple

While you might be tempted to get very creative with your photo-taking, don’t forget the true purpose of the photo: to show your family and friends how your family has grown and/or changed over the last year! So while some art direction isn’t bad, just remember that you want to have a good photo that features all your family members’ beautiful faces – not the backs of their heads, or their silhouettes.

 

Sharing your holiday portraits

Once you’ve got your picture-perfect family portrait, it’s time to start creating your holiday greeting cards! We’ve got lots of tips for designing your own greeting cards to give out over the holidays – check them out in this post.

Another way to preserve that beautiful family photo is by having it printed as a fine art print, like an ultimate enlargement, aluminum metal panel, or canvas gallery wrap.

And if you snapped some other great gems during your family photo shoot, you can also create some beautiful gifts and decor with them. We can put your chosen photo on a mug, a Christmas tree ornament, or even a Christmas stocking!

You can find our entire selection of customizable greeting cards, fine art prints and personalized gifts on our London Drugs Photolab website, or you can always visit us in-store or simply download our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android to order on-the-go!

 

5 Tips for Designing Your Own Holiday Greeting Cards

No you’re not reading this post wrong – it’s October and yes we’re talking about the holidays already! But take our word for it, now is the perfect time to start working on your holiday greeting cards. Especially if you’re planning to send cards to elsewhere in the world, you’ll want to get an early start so that they arrive on time. And getting them done early also allows you to spend a bit of time personalizing your cards to make them extra special!

Sending personalized greeting cards to family and friends is great way to spread some holiday cheer, and update everyone on what you’ve been up to over the past year. And while we love the internet, we think it’s better to skip the e-cards and go for traditional mailed cards for the most thoughtful and personal holiday message. Our LDExperts have rounded up their top tips for designing your own holiday greetings cards, to help get you started:

1. Be conscientious of your recipients’ traditions

As you’re going through your list of people you’d like to send greeting cards to this season, make notes of what type of holiday card should go to each person. Our Photolab has a variety of personalized greeting card options with Christmas, Hanukkah and general Winter-themed templates, so no matter what their family traditions, you can find a beautiful card to customize for them.

2. Pick a favourite photo (or two!) to personalize your card

Once upon a time, we would slide a print photo or two into a generic holiday card, as a way to keep our family and friends updated on how things have changed over the last year. After all, a lot can change in a year – whether it be a fast-growing newborn, a furry new addition to the family, or you and your better half celebrating your first Christmas together. Holiday cards are the perfect opportunity to share those important moments from that year with the people you love.

With our personalized greeting cards, you can take that all to the next level! Just choose a photo, or two, and add them to any of our greeting cards, through our Photolab site, in-store kiosks or through our London Drugs Photolab App. We have specially crafted holiday templates so you can simply drag and drop your photos, creating a perfectly personalized design in seconds. You know your mother-in-law will be impressed.

Some options for photos are:

  • A photo of your family from earlier this year
  • A photo from last year’s holiday celebrations
  • A styled photo from your own holiday photo shoot!

 

3. Share a special message from the heart

The key to a truly special holiday greeting card is a heartfelt message. Are they celebrating their first Christmas as a couple? Is their little one celebrating their first Christmas? Or maybe they’re away from home during the holidays? With our personalized greeting cards, you can add your own message for the recipient that is 100% unique, and touches on an aspect of their life. Create one individually for each person on your list – it’s guaranteed to make their mailbox a little merrier.

If you’re strapped for time, or aren’t one for words, even a simple message wishing them a wonderful holiday will go a long way. And you can easily order multiple copies to pop in the mail for all your family and friends.

4. Give your greeting cards a professional finish

Choosing a higher quality paper material won’t just wow your recipient, it will also be more durable, so they’re less likely to be damaged when sent by mail or when they’re opened.

When ordering double-sided cards, folded cards, or postcards from our Photolab, you can choose from either traditional card stock or one of our 6 specialty papers, which will give your cards that extra special touch – literally. Our specialty papers come in linen natural white, linen white, matte soft white, matte white, shimmer silver, and shimmer soft gold

5. Add your personal signature

Add a final personal touch by signing each card by hand. It might seem like a small detail, but it can really make your card stand out. Just make sure to give it a few seconds for the ink to dry, before closing your card and putting it in the envelope. You don’t want to smudge things, right at the very end!

 

Once your personalized greeting cards are ready to go, make sure to get them in the mail early! Ideally, you want your greeting cards to reach their recipients by early to mid-December, and the further they need to go, the sooner they should be put in the mail. Luckily, we offer Canada Post services at many of our London Drugs locations, you so can drop them off the next time you’re in the store!

Procrastinators We’re Here for You! 7 Photo Gifts You Can Pick Up in 24 Hours

We’ve all been there. You meant to pick out a gift for that birthday party weeks ago, but somehow time got away from you. And now it’s down to the wire. You might think you’re stuck with getting them something generic: there’s no way I’ll be able to get them something special now! The good news is, there’s still time. You might be surprised to hear that there are lots of personalized gifting options available at our London Drugs Photolab that you can pick up within 24 hours or even same day.

To help you out, here’s our procrastinator cheat sheet for last-minute gifts:

 

Photo Mugs

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Instagram Books

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Express Books

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Book-It Mini Books

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Photographic Greeting Cards

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Photographic Folded Greeting Cards

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

Coil-Bound Calendars

Turnaround time: same-day/24 hours

 

All you’ll need to do is pick a favourite photo or two, choose a theme, add some customized text if you like, and within 24 hours you’ll have a beautiful personalized gift that is sure to wow! So breathe easy procrastinators, we’ve got you covered.

There’s no time to lose! Get started right away by uploading your photos to our Photolab online, using our in-store kiosks, or downloading our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android! For exact turnaround times, make sure to contact your local London Drugs Photolab.