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Brandi from Marketing November 19, 2021, 4:30 PM

Turn Old Memories Into New Gifts

My mom’s been on a decluttering mission lately, and one of the biggest challenges has been the boxes of old family photos, papers, and home movies that have taken over a corner of the basement. 

Every now and then she pulls out a box of photos and we go through them as a family, trying to figure out which of the cousins was hiding under the table in that shot from Grandma and Grandpa’s 40th anniversary party, or how old us kids were on that trip to the Phoenix Zoo. Then we decide what to keep and what to let go of.

It’s always fun to relive those memories, especially around the holidays. And if you can find a way to capture some of them as a gift, that’s even better.

If you’re more talented with scissors than I am, scrapbooking is a great way to go, or you could also mount some photos in a shadowbox with other related trinkets (like a baby’s hospital bracelet, or a ticket stub). 

But if you really want to expand your holiday gift giving options, consider converting old negatives, photos and VHS home videos into digital files instead, using the Digitization Station at Central Library. 

It’s a fantastic resource for converting and preserving your memories. You can scan old photos and negatives, convert old VHS tapes to DVD or digital media file formats, and pull files from old 3.5 floppy discs or CD/DVD drives, and save them to a USB drive, or cloud-based storage. 

From there, you can use the digital files to make all kinds of fun, meaningful, (or embarrassing) gifts:
•    Use an online printing service to make t-shirts, mugs, or family calendars out of old photos or negatives,
•    Create a home movie montage using your favourite video editing software,
•    Compile recipe files from an old floppy disk to create a family cookbook, or
•    Make a holiday card featuring footage from your younger brothers’ Grade 12 fashion show. 

The Digitization Station is bookable in 4-hour blocks during Central Library business hours. It’s a self-directed service, but staff will be available to give you a short orientation on the equipment and show you some references to help you through the process of converting your memories! 

About Author

Brandi from Marketing

Natural habitat: sandwiched between cat and couch or having fun with family - while thinking longingly about cat and couch. Interesting habits: chooses magical realism over most other genres. Special abilities: an uncanny talent for giving the perfect gift.

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