Last-Minute (Really!) Holiday Gift Idea – Same-Day Photo Books (with 33% discount!)

last minute gifts

Every year we celebrate Christmas with my husband’s family the weekend before the kids get out of school for the holiday. Some years that date seems to come more quickly than I’d prepared for, which was definitely the case this year! Our gathering was last Saturday, and on Thursday, I realized that we were short a gift for my mother-in-law, Shirley.

No problem. In the past I’ve made Shirley photo books for Christmas, and she always loves them. We went to Disney World in November, so a book commemorating our trip seemed like the ideal gift.

Best yet? has a less-than-24-hour-turnaround on customized photo albums, and there is currently a 33% discount on same-day pickup photo books!

I’ve relied on their super-speedy service several times in the past when I’ve needed last-minute gifts. If you don’t have a Walgreen’s in your immediate area, you can have the photo book shipped (overnight or two-day shipping are both available), or you can make your book available for pick-up at any other location — which is handy if you’re traveling.

Walgreen’s photo book system is fairly straightforward, but if you’re like me and feeling fairly frazzled by holiday goings-on, it might help to have a step-by-step tutorial so you can get this done in a jiffy…and go back to baking, wrapping, or staring at twinkly lights.

Ready? Here’s how to create your own photo book at

Note: High-res photos work best. If you have lower-res photos (the system will warn you) you can try featuring 3 or 4 on a page to make each photo smaller. If you use a lower-res photo, it may end up a bit fuzzy.

  • Click The Photo Tab 1 of 15
    Click The Photo Tab
    Click the orange "photo" tab in the navigation bar.
  • Click The Upload Tab 2 of 15
    Click The Upload Tab
    Now click the "upload" tab in the navigation bar.
  • Name your album 3 of 15
    Name your album
    I recommend giving your album a name like "autumn 2012" to prevent confusion later.
  • Choose the right album 4 of 15
    Choose the right album
    If you're in a rush, make sure to choose the "same day" option.
  • Check your location 5 of 15
    Check your location
    Not all locations offer same-day printing, so check yours to be sure before you start.
  • Add your photos 6 of 15
    Add your photos
    Click the album you want to pull from at left, then select the photos you want to use. You can pull photos from more than one album per photo book. I usually just click "select all" and choose later. Click "next" to continue.
  • Double-check your book selection 7 of 15
    Double-check your book selection
    Make sure you've picked the right book. Currently only the 8.5 X 11 linen cover, in black, with the photo window in front, is available for same-day printing.
  • Pick background 8 of 15
    Pick background
    On the next page, you'll be able to choose your book's theme and colors. You can change up the paper on individual pages later.
  • Autofill or do-it-yourself? 9 of 15
    Autofill or do-it-yourself?
    If you're in a huge hurry and the order of your photos isn't important, you can choose to autofill the pictures. I prefer to start with a blank slate and put them in myself.
  • Create your book! 10 of 15
    Create your book!
    Just drag and drop photos from the left sidebar to the album on the right. In the upper left, you'll see menus that will allow you to change each page's layout, colors and more. You can also add text. If you leave the text boxes alone, they will disappear later.
  • Preview your book. 11 of 15
    Preview your book.
    When you're done tweaking your book, click "next" to preview it. Here are screen shots of what my book looked like!
  • Place your order 12 of 15
    Place your order
    On the next page, you'll be able to choose to order a set of prints from your book. I like to do this because it kills two birds with one stone.
  • Enter your coupon code 13 of 15
    Enter your coupon code
    Today through Saturday, December 22, you can get 33% off of same-day photo book purchases. Be sure to enter the code GETSAMEDAY and click "apply".
  • Select your pick-up options 14 of 15
    Select your pick-up options
    On the next screen you'll be able to select when you would like to pick up your order. You also have the option of having the photo book shipped - a good choice if you're buying it for an out-of-town relative.
  • Submit your order! 15 of 15
    Submit your order!
    This is one of those processes where there are a ton of screens to get through, so be sure you click this final "submit" page and get a confirmation!

Once you’ve made your book, just show up at Walgreen’s and pick it up in the photo department!

last minute gift

This seriously couldn’t be a less painless process. It took me less than half an hour to put together Shirley’s book, and at the last minute, I decided to make a second one for my sister-in-law Beth (pictured above with Clara and Sleeping Beauty!)

Everyone loves a nice-looking photo book and with the current discount, it’s a cost-effective, personal gift that will last for years to come.

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