This was one of my favorite Christmas gifts so far. My husband has a large family (he is one of 10 children, and most of his brothers and sisters are married with children), and they are spread out all over the country, from Boston to Kansas to California and a few places in between. Needless to say, we don't get to see each other all that often. So one year I made these family match games for all of my nieces and nephews.
A month or two before Christmas, I sent out an e-mail calling for family unit photos- the whole family, if there were kids, or just the couple if there were no kids, or just the person if they were unmarried. I then had several wallet-sized copies of each photo made (very easily done through walmart.com) and began making sets of cards, each set containing two copies of each family's photo.
Once I had the photos, I used scrapbook paper and glued the pictures to the white side using a glue stick specifically for photos. I found that the best way to do this was to glue the photos down prior to cutting them. Then I used my trusty paper cutter and trimmed each photo to the edges. Then I used my corner rounder (available at any craft store) and rounded each corner.
While it may seem like it took a long time to make 10 sets of these, it actually didn't take very long at all once I got the hang of it. I also included a slip of paper with each one listing ideas for games that could be played using the cards:
- Guess who? Go through the cards and try to remember each person's name.
- Remember When? Take turns choosing a photo and say something you like about someone in the picture, or say something fun you remember doing with them.
- Memory- Lay out the cards face down, then take turns trying to find a match.
- Story Time- Take turns picking out a card, and then make up a story starring you and the person whose photo you picked.
I also made a little "bonus gift" with the photos by matting them and attaching them to a pretty piece of patterned paper, which I then framed with the family name and date and presented to my husband's parents. It's hard to get a whole-family photo these days, so that was the next best thing.
I got a great response from doing these cards- they were simple, fun, and they helped to strengthen family bonds even across the country. Now when the cousins get together, they feel like they know each other a little better, because they've been "playing together" all year! I also appreciated the fact that these were very inexpensive to mail to the more distant family members.
Even if you don't have a large family, you could do these cards simply with individual photos. You could even include photos from different events (Halloween, birthdays, vacations, etc.) and have fun remembering the activities you did together. This is a great way to spread a little family love at Christmastime.