I ordered one for my friend, and she absolutely loved it. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated September 04, 2018
Photo Book Gift, open to show photos
Credit: CanvasPop

Birthday presents are difficult. Especially when you're looking for a unique birthday present that also happens to be personalized, easy to order, and reasonably affordable. And when you're shopping for friends who you've known for years, you can quickly fall into a pattern and end up buying them the same uninspired gift year after year. As one of my best friend's birthdays approached at the end of August, I debated getting my tea-loving friend (yet another) herbal blend or vintage tea pot, but then I found just what I needed get out of my present-buying rut: an inexpensive CanvasPop photo book I could order right from my phone.

As a video editor, my friend spends more time behind a camera than in front of one, so I knew a photo book that put her in the spotlight would be the perfect present. After I downloaded the Photo Books by CanvasPop app, it only took me about 10 minutes from start to finish to order the personalized present. Working on my phone, I pulled images of my friend from my camera roll and Instagram—the hardest part was scrolling through all of the memories without getting side-tracked. You can select between 20 and 30 photos, so once I'd narrowed down my picks, I pressed preview to see what the photo book would look like. I spent a few more minutes dragging and dropping each photo to put them in the perfect arrangement, and voila—I was ready to place my order. Buying a birthday present, especially for one of my closest friends, has never been faster.

Because I packed the book full of the silliest friendship photos I could find, my friend laughed as soon as she opened it up. I knew this little time capsule of the past few years was much more memorable than another tin of tea to add to her collection.

You can choose a 6-by-6 inch softcover book for $15 or upgrade to the hardcover version for $25, with both options offering free shipping. Even better, from now through October 31, 2018, Real Simple readers can take $5 off their order by applying the code REAL at checkout. Go ahead and send one to your sister, your aunt, and your long-lost friend who lives across the country. It's guaranteed to make them smile.