The Best Photo Gifts for Grandparents

Alex Cook's photo

By Alex Cook

The best gift for grandparents is probably giving them grandkids. The next best gift is photos of their grandkids. Here are some of our favorite gifts to help your grandparents organize and display their photos around the home.

200-page cloth photo album

Less than $15 from Amazon

The #1 best photo gift for grandparents. Animated GIF of flipping through a cloth-covered photo album.
These albums are surprisingly high-quality for the price. They feel nice, too.

The first time I ordered one of these I was blown away by the quality. The window slots for each photo are thick and strong, it features margins for notes, and the cloth feels nice. There’s a slot behind the cover to display your favorite photo on the front. These come in many different colors. Be mindful of the price differences. If you’re sending photos on a regular basis with a service like NanaGram, these albums are a perfect way to collect and share photos in one place.

Acrylic photo frames

Starting at $11.98 on Amazon

Animated gif showing an acrylic photo frame rotating
Display your photos in double-sided glory.

Acrylic photo frames are a unique way to display 4×6 prints around the home. Each frame is made of two, clear plastic pieces held together with strong corner magnets. Your photo goes in the middle. Use two photos for a double the fun. The frames stand on their own and look almost like ice.

My cousins send my aunt fresh monthly prints on NanaGram. Every month she puts the new prints in acrylic frames around her home. When the next shipment comes, she moves last month’s photos into an album.

A standard 4×6 is $11.98 and there’s also a 5-pack option. You can also pick these up in unconventional sizes like 4×4 squares for $12.99 and 8×10 or $36.99.

Magnetic fridge pins

$12.99 for a 56-pack on Amazon ($0.23 each)

A refrigerator covered in 4x6 prints held with magnet pins.
Grandma Cook loves her magnet pins.

Most of us who grew up pre-Internet remember the days of refrigerators covered in photos and other keepsakes. As papers come and go, magnets seem to stick around. I still remember some of the magnets my grandma had on her fridge for decades. Many of them were free marketing swag from cereal boxes and the like. Because free magnets often aren’t strong enough keepsakes end up on the floor sometimes.

Magnetic pins to the rescue. Magnetic pins are shaped like standard push pins except they contain powerful, tiny magnets. In a test, I found one pin can hold 3 4×6 photos at once. They’re easy for people of all ages to handle. You can get a pack of 56 pins for $12.99 on Amazon ($0.23 each).

Digitize their wedding album

Free-ish

Photo of 1940s wedding.
Grandma and Grandpa Cook on their wedding day, dancing the night away and looking like movie stars.

Consider (carefully) scanning your grandparents’ wedding album. Once you have the digital files, you can reprint on all sorts of formats. For many grandparents, photos from their wedding album are the only copies they have. The photos rarely see the light of day. Digitizing their album and re-printing the photos in new formats is guaranteed to be a magical gift.

Growing up, I remember seeing my grandparents’ photo album a few times. With a recent wedding on the horizon, my grandparents started pulling out their wedding album nearly every time I visited. When I brought along my fiance (now lovely wife) Katie, Grandma Cook would do everything she could to convince her to get an ankle-length dress, just like hers. Grandpa Cook was proud of the fact that they hired a female photographer, which was apparently rare in those days.

One day while visiting my grandparents I decided to take their wedding album home to scan it in. I started sending copies from their wedding album into NanaGram. Their wedding photos started popping up on their fridge. 

Money-saving tip: If you don’t have access to a high-quality scanner or can’t afford to pay an archival company to do it for you (try Googling for photo scanning in your city), even just snapping photos of the photos with your phone is an inexpensive way to get started. (If you do decide to hire a company to help you scan the photos, I’d suggest working with someone locally to avoid losing your precious memories in shipping transit.)

NanaGram monthly photo deliveries

$7.99 per month

Photo of grandparents holding 4x6 prints
Happy NanaGrammers 😍

I’m obviously biased, being the founder of NanaGram. If you’re not a customer already, consider NanaGram. We help you mail 4×6 prints to your grandparents with just a text or email. Plans start at $7.99 per month for 10 photos which includes printing, shipping, and unlimited invites. Sign up for a free trial.

Find and develop old disposable cameras and film

If you were born in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, chances are your family used disposable cameras. My mom must have had a collection of nearly 75 old cameras she never got around to developing. One year I had all of these developed. It was fun to go through the prints as a family. 

A young, happy family.
One of the many awesome photos we found on an old, undeveloped disposable camera.

Thanks to Bob Lowry, Katie Woods, and Andy Cook for reading drafts of this post.