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Make a Family History Book for Christmas: The Best Handmade Christmas Gift Idea That Will Surprise and Delight

Published by Sanda Brumitt

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Christmas shopping can be a headache: choosing the perfect gift for each person on the list is a real challenge – but for the keen family historian, it’s easy. If the family history is well underway, it could be possible to pull it together quickly in time to get it professionally printed for Christmas, using one of the many excellent Print on Demand Publishers.

Most people, however, are likely to have some information, but not enough to get a book printed. This is where a quick visit to the nearest scrapbooking store will bring dividends. Thanks to the popularity of heritage scrapbooking and family tree scrapbooking, scrapbook suppliers have archival paper, archival photo albums and a wide range of suitable paper.

The Choice: Archival Photo Album for One, or Digital Scrapbook Printing for Many?

If the plan is to give a handmade family history scrapbook to one special person, these supplies will be ideal. On the other hand, if the idea is to save time by creating one family history layout and printing multiple copies as gifts (which is an excellent idea!) then digital scrapbook printing might be the answer.

A quick search online will produce plenty of results for digital scrapbooking layouts and other tips on scrapbooking memories. There are hundreds of sites that feature examples of layouts produced by keen scrappers, and some of these are sure to inspire. Look for advice on journaling, too, to see how to incorporate text with the layout.

Tips on Digital Scrapbooking Layouts

  • Create (or buy) a template for the family history book.
  • Fine-tune the layout. Insert the information (text and pictures) that is relevant to the whole family (which will be most of the content).
  • Create a section near the front that will be personalised for each recipient. Make the first page a family tree. Where the recipient’s name appears on the family tree, paste in a recent photo. Add a page that celebrates that person’s life so far – birthday, school attended, achievements. This will vary according to the age of the recipient: a grandmother will have a lot more ground to cover than a child. A nice touch can be to include a short video saved to disk showing the recipient in action or talking.

Producing the Final Family History Book

This gift is sure to be popular because of the personal attention that has gone into making it, so the production cost doesn’t have to be huge. A hand-made scrapbook with special paper and embellishments will cost more than one created from a digital scrapbooking layout. The digital version can be created using scrapbooking software, or simply created in a word processing program then rendered as a PDF document to be sent to a printer. Some printing options are:


  • Print out on a home printer and slip the finished pages into a display book with plastic sleeves
  • Print out and bind with comb binding
  • Have the finished family history bound at a nearby printer or office supplies store
  • Make your own photo album online (if the gift consists mainly of photos)
  • Send the finished product to a Print on Demand publisher (one with a quick turnaround, if Christmas is close)

A family history is a unique Christmas gift, and one that shows care and thought. Handmade and personalised gifts are always well-received. This just might be the most popular Christmas gift yet!

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