Frugal Friday--Graduation Gift Idea

7:25 AMHeather

May is like a month long gift-a-palooza.  And, I love it!  Ya got your Mother's Day, family birthdays, graduations, teacher's gifts, and inevitably my children have birthday parties to attend.  Not to mention those precious new babies and a wedding here or there.  So many happy occasions!  How I do love celebrating and gift giving.

My budget, however, cannot keep up.  So, as is my habit, I am searching high and low for new ideas that show a lot of care, love, and time invested--but hopefully not money.  We've been blessed by some amazing babysitters over the years, and I feel so honored when they invite us to their graduations or graduation parties.  Last year, two of these dear girls were graduating, and I had no money to spend.  But, I had an idea.

I had discovered, quite by accident, a fun little program on our computer called Windows Live Movie Maker.  It allows you to create slide shows--you know, those heart tugging pictures set to music.  Since one of the girlies was going to work in an orphanage, I thought a DVD slide show of some favorite memories might be a meaningful thing to take with her.  And, it's faster to make than a scrapbook.  Problem is that I don't have access to her family photo album.

But, determined, I found a solution, and I think these make very thoughtful gifts for all sorts of occasions.  For example, for the grandparents who have everything--these make really good Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts, too!  SCORE!  So, let me walk you through it.

1.  To gather the photos you need--go to F.acebook!  Yep, you can hijack photos from that site.  SOMETIMES the picture quality is off, but for the most part, it works.  Just left click on the image, and "save as" whatever you want to name it.  TIP:  I create a folder for that project and save all photos in it.  Also, I've found that using Internet Explorer rather than my favorite Firefox gives me better access to photo borrowing.  (not stealing, mind you).

2.  Open your Movie Maker program--it comes preloaded on most PC's with your Windows package.  Look at your tool bar for get photos, then open up your folder, select all, and download them into Movie Maker.

3.  It's as simple as clicking and dragging to move the photos into the order you want.

4.  On the tool bar at the top, you'll see Title and Credits.  This is where you can add in a title slide at the beginning and a credit slide at the end.  Super easy!

5.  When your photos are in order, go to animations.  These are those fun little transitions between photos.  Just click and drag the desired animation between each photo.

6.  Go to add music and open up your iTunes folder.  Choose whichever song tugs at your heart the most.

7.  Voila!  You have a fun little memento for your gift.  You can burn onto a DVD or CD, depending on your computer's capability.  I like to also print a cute little label to stick on my DVD.  Also, awhile back, I bought a set of DVD cases--you know, like your DVDs come from the store?  It's also fun to create a personalized label to insert in that case.

INTENTIONAL challenge:  This might sound a little complicated, but it really isn't too hard!  You can find websites that will help you create slide shows, as well.  But, I think the Movie Maker program is user friendly, and I love the idea of creating something so personal as a gift.   Memories are so priceless!  Or here's an alternate idea.  One year for my birthday, my friend burned a CD from her iTunes library of her favorite praise and worship songs.  I love that she took the time to share her music with me.  (If you are asking--isn't that essentially a mix tape?  Yes, yes, it is).  If technology isn't your thing--here's another idea.  Why not make a memory with that gift recipient by taking them to do something fun?  Give them the gift of your time and attention.  Snap a photo, and put it in a picture frame later so they can remember your special day together.   Here' what it boils down to--when it comes to gifts, I really do think it's the thought that counts.

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