this thing's incredible

The Bespoke Photo Album I Plan to Give My Mom

Best Mother's Day gift Mosaic album.
Photos go from your iPhone straight to your mailbox in four days. Photo: Retailer

Editor’s note: Leah Bhabha originally wrote about Mixbook’s app-based photo book over five years ago for Mother’s Day, but it’s still a great gift for anyone for any occasion. So we’re republishing her piece with updated pricing and product dimensions ahead of the winter holidays. If you want the photo book by Christmas, order by December 14 with standard shipping or by December 20 if you’re willing to pay extra for express shipping.

As a general rule, one must be delicate when it comes to Mother’s Day gifting. Go too overboard and you run the risk of overcompensating. Be cavalier and you aren’t adequately celebrating Mom. Unlike her daughter, a known retail enthusiast with 20-plus Zara tabs currently open, my mother loathes shopping. Her hatred for the requisite fitting rooms, crowds, and frivolity runs so deep that I end up buying most of her clothes, and I force her to throw out stacks of items that she hasn’t worn since telegrams were a mode of communication (and no, they’re not chic and vintage, trust me). Since I already outfit her sartorially, when it comes to gifts, I stick to what she really wants: candles and family pictures.

After a stint creating calendars with family snaps from the previous year, I recently mixed things up with a Mixbook Mosaic photo book. Since the rest of us aren’t getting any younger or cuter, I gave her an album solely featuring pictures of her grandson. It was the ideal present: She could reminisce about the past year of him covered in soup (among other adorable memories), and I didn’t have to endure a running commentary about my awkwardness in photos. (“Are you doing that on purpose?” “Can you just smile properly?”)

Unlike album sites that force you to download weird software and leave your pics looking like a blurry mess more akin to a Girls Gone Wild video than a family vacation, Mixbook is exceedingly easy to use, and you don’t even have to put your phone down. Just select 20 photos from your camera roll — who wants to see more than 20? — and the app (of course it’s an app) will transform them into an adorable keepsake book with a cool geometric cover. A few days (depending on your location and the season — use the shipping estimator for a more accurate timeline) and $42 later, a 8.5-by-8.5-inch bound volume of your photos is in your hands. Each photo is expertly printed on a single page (with your choice of either a black or a white border). And because the only people who will be as into this as your mother are aunts and grandmothers, you may want to order a few extra.

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The Bespoke Photo Album I Plan to Give My Mom