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How an Old Photo Turned Into the Best Mother’s Day Gift I Ever Got My Mom

BY: Shannon Grilli | May 6, 2019

mom photos

I actually think I’m pretty good at coming up with great gift ideas. Especially when it comes to buying gifts for my mom, who is notoriously easy to please. I never ever default to gift cards (unless she specifically asks for them), and I always try my best to take my mom’s hobbies and passions (cooking, gardening, musical albums that pair an iconic, aging adult contemporary artist with a younger, hipper adult contemporary artist, etc.) into account. Yet even I have managed to come up with some real gifting missteps over the years. Here’s a few of my favorite Mom Gift Fails from years passed:

  • A rain barrel (still sitting under the deck, unused, 11 years later)
  • A dwarf meyer lemon tree (died after two years... which was for the best as it was clearly suffering)
  • Her first digital camera (last time I checked it was still in the box)
  • A video-streaming stick (she’s about 60% sure she knows what this is for )
  • Three live blueberry bushes that, together, do not produce enough berries for even a single batch of muffins

So yeah, you could say I’ve made a few gifting blunders over the years. But I’ve come up with more good gifts than bad, including one gift that was so good, my Mom still hasn’t stopped raving about it.

The elusive gift of all gifts? A custom photo canvas from Canvas on Demand.

I knew a lot of my friends had purchased custom photo canvases, and I thought they were pretty cool. But I had always felt that I didn’t have any photos that were worthy of being reproduced on canvas.

Then, one day, my mom and I were going through old photos and we found an awesome shot of her and my late Dad on their wedding day. My Dad snapped the picture minutes after the reception as the two of them settled into the backseat of the limo that would take them to the reception (killer selfie game, Dad!), and it’s one of the only candid photos that exist of my parents on that day.

The original photo wasn’t in the best shape, with a number of noticeable creases through it, so I had no idea if it would be a good candidate for a Canvas on Demand. But I took a chance and uploaded it to the company’s website.

Within a few days of placing my order, a Canvas on Demand associate emailed me to get final approval for the design—and I was totally blown away! He was able to do some light editing on the original photo, including removing those annoying creases, and the preview of the final canvas looked amazing.

canvas on demand

The company exceeded my expectations once again when the finished canvas arrived at my house. The final product somehow looked even better than the preview image. The image was clear, the colors were reproduced perfectly, and both my parents looked flawless, though not in that ‘oh my God, this person has so obviously been photoshopped’ kind of way.

My mom was just as ecstatic when she opened her gift and even teared up a little (aww, moms). The photo canvas is now hanging in the dining room of her house, and all these years later she still points it out to visitors and starts reminiscing about her wedding day.

In fact, she loved this gift so much she’s since given a Canvas on Demand as a gift to several other people as well. (You’re welcome, friends and relatives!)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that standard turnaround time for a Canvas on Demand is about a week. The time it takes for a dwarf meyer lemon tree to produce a lemon? Like, 9 months. Just sayin’.

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