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We continue to love the feedback we get from AwesomeBox users and have just put the finishing touches on 3 highly requested features: Instagram photos, multi-photo uploading, & purchasing another copy of an AwesomeBox.

Instagram is the newest place you can go to find the perfect picture for an AwesomeBox card. The Instagram button appears right next to the the other photo options you’re use to. Just select the IG option, authorize, and all your square-cropped, filter-y goodness will be at your fingertips.

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Many of you who created solo boxes asked how to add more than one photo at a time. Sheepishly, we had to tell you “you can’t yet.” But that’s all changed with the addition of multi-photo upload. Now you can simultaneously create multiple cards by dragging and dropping photos right onto the AwesomeBox page.

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And finally…an answer for everyone who has wanted get an additional copy of an AwesomeBox. You may already know that the digital version of each AwesomeBox remains available online. When you visit next, you’ll see a new link that allows you to purchase another copy. That’s it. Just click it, check out, and we’ll send you another copy.

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More features are on the way in the coming weeks. Stay tuned! In the meantime, don’t let us stop you from celebrating that big birthday, summer vacation, or baby’s first year with an AwesomeBox.

Dana

Baby book

Brynn Sch.’s Graduation AwesomeBox

A yearbook is a treasured artifact. Even if your experience in junior high and high school wasn’t the best (hello, braces!), you may still find yourself flipping through your old yearbooks from time to time, remember the classes you took, the inside jokes you shared—and old friends’ faces that you may have forgotten.

What’s so magical about yearbooks is that they capture a very specific period of your life with photographs from that time. Whether it’s that terrible photo of you as the class secretary or your favorite picture of your best friend singing her big solo in “Oklahoma!”, cracking open a yearbook feels a bit like opening a time capsule.

Unfortunately, most of us only have a handful of yearbooks from high school and maybe before—but wouldn’t it be great if you had a kind of yearbook for every single year of your life?

When Kodak brownies and Polaroids dominated the photography market, many parents created baby books for the first year of their child’s life. We think it’s time to bring that back.

Bye Bye Baby Book?

Back in the days of film (and even before!), baby books were extremely popular ways to save, organize, and present photos, stories, and moments of a baby’s first year. As early as the late 1800s, parents (mostly mothers) were taking notes about their babies from day one—some of them are even stored in a university archive at UCLA, where it’s clear that the love between a mother and child really is timeless.

Once a child was older, their parents would share this book with them, allowing them to not only take part in the memories of their earliest days, but also ensuring that those photos weren’t lost in boxes or filing cabinets, never to be seen again.

Now that most of our treasured photos are on Facebook and Instagram though and we do much of our note-taking in the form of baby blogs, baby books have become less and less prominent—which is a shame, because, as any parent can attest, childhood passes in a blur, and often, there are few tangible objects to remember it by.

Baby book

Lyle L.’s 50th birthday AwesomeBox

Baby’s First Yearbook, Kind Of 

In the spirit of your grandmother’s old-school baby book, AwesomeBox offers a kind of yearbook for little ones, complete with memories, jokes, stories, and of course, photos—all of which you can easily pull from your social networks, your hard drive, or even your blog.

Work collaboratively with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family friends to create a box of beautiful memories of your baby’s first year, or their first five years, or their first year of preschool, or whatever else you’d like to remember forever—and you’d like them to know about,

The box comes brimming with artfully-crafted cards, each of which share a memory or a photo of your choosing to illustrate your child’s early days. Keep the box sealed tightly until they’re old enough to open it themselves, or open it as soon as it arrives to share it with the family members who helped create it.

Kids Want To Feel Special, Too

Though we mostly talk to parents, we’ve heard from that kids who have seen their mom or dad get an AwesomeBox that they’d like one, too! And who could blame them? Not only is seeing portraits of themselves and their families good for a child’s self-esteem and sense of place in the world, the look of gratitude and joy on the face of an AwesomeBox recipient is something that everyone can understand.

Baby book

Lauren Al.’s Birthday AwesomeBox

One of the true joys of parenthood is watching your child grow up—and it’s especially great when you can share those moments (you know, the ones they were too little to remember) with them through photos and stories.

Sure, having an Instagram feed full of cute baby pictures may be fun for your little ones when they’re old enough to swipe through an app, but you know from flipping the pages on your old yearbooks that something tangible—something filled with memories and moments—is a true keepsake.

Long before your baby dons a cap and gown, why not create a kind of yearbook for her to look back on for years to come?

Fathers Day Gift

Image: Tessa S.’ Graduation AwesomeBox

Father’s Day may have been created in response to the success of the first Mother’s Day, but the holiday celebrating dads, paternal bonds, and father-figures is no less special than its May counterpart. More than 100 years after the first Father’s Day was proclaimed—and just a few decades after it was officially commemorated—generations of kids and parents still gather to appreciate the dads in their life.

And for more than a century, it’s also been an extremely vexing gift-giving holiday. Because really, what do you get for the man who gave you so much?

Hint: Not another pocket square.

Father’s Day Gifts: A Long and Dull Tradition

It’s easy to rattle off the traditional go-to gifts, in part because, despite the wide range of Dads in the world, Father’s Day gifts have typically been rather uninspired. Writing for the Washington Times last year, Thomas DiBacco referred to the tradition of giving neckties as “torturous.”

What’s behind our collective unwillingness to get creative when finding the perfect something for the man in your life? It’s easy enough to locate in the history of the holiday, according to the History Channel:

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. However, many men continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”

Yes, Father’s Day was initially shunned—in large part because the idea of getting a gift for the sole breadwinner of the house seemed laughable.

Years later, as impact of the Depression lingered on, Father’s Day became more an outpost for commercialism than sentimentality, as stores and merchants saw an opportunity to boost sales. Again, from the History Channel:

Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

And while times have changed (the majority of American households have numerous incomes, but more importantly, we’ve begun to reject the idea that masculinity and sensitivity are mutually exclusive), our Father’s Day gift-giving practices have not kept up. Despite changes in the social behaviors and patterns of families, golf clubs and socks still dominate the market when it comes to presents for Dad. But they don’t need to.

Start a New Father’s Day Tradition

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Image: Fred G.’s 70th Birthday AwesomeBox

We know from our customers that even the most straight-laced of dads want something different for Father’s Day—they want to spend time with their family, they want to relax, and they want to feel appreciated. As one dad said during his tearful unboxing of an AwesomeBox on his first Father’s Day, “I’m at a loss for words at moments like this. Thank you for making me feel so special.”

How do you do it? By working together with friends and family to create a customized, collaborative gift that he’ll treasure forever.

With AwesomeBox, you can work with the special people in your life—no matter where they are—through our innovative online platform. Pulling photos straight from your hard drive or from Facebook or other social networking sites and pairing them with song lyrics, memories, jokes, or anything else you’d like to write or share, you can team up to make sure that the father (or father-figure) in your life knows you’ve been thinking about what he means to you.

It’s not too late to return the socks, the golf tees, and that hideous necktie and get Dad something he’ll truly treasure.

Wedding Gifts

Image: Rod Ch.’s 80th Birthday AwesomeBox

Weddings have always been a time of celebration, but they’ve changed significantly since the earliest recordings of two people entering into a lifelong contract of love and partnership. Styles (hello, puffy sleeves and ruffled tuxes!), venues, vows, and even laws have all kept pace with our modern tastes—so it’s no surprise that wedding gifts have, too.

Instead of sticking with age-old wedding practices, today’s family and friends are choosing equally-modern ideas—many of which emphasize memories, inside jokes, and lasting relationships.

Changing Wedding Traditions

For previous generations, wedding gifts often meant a way to furnish a new home. Appliances, linens, flatware, and other necessary—though impersonal—items were typically what guests would find on a registry.

However, those times seem to be changing. More and more, brides and grooms are eschewing traditional registries, and instead opting to request more sentimental gifts. According to Sara Margulis, co-founder of Honeyfund (a crowd-funding site that allows wedding guests to register adventures), hotel stays, and other honeymoon itinerary items, more than 20% of couples are now asking guests to help them pay for a memorable adventure.

Wedding gifts

Image: Don W.’s Birthday AwesomeBox

Similarly, Thumbtack, an online service that connects customers with professionals, found that a hot 2016 wedding trend was one which truly emphasized a desire to capture moments, rather than purchase objects; according to their research, “videographers are seeing an 8% uptick in requests for highlight videos, which incorporate personalized messages from guests and are created for social sharing.”

What’s behind this shift away from candlesticks and ceramics and toward cherished memories?

“For this generation, it’s all about simplicity,” says Margulis. Simplicity—and sentimentality. Which means regular wedding gifts simply won’t do any longer. Instead, it’s all about gifts that are deeply personal, exquisitely crafted, and completely unique.

A Unique Wedding Gift For Brides, Grooms, and Everyone Else

In addition to a push for more sentimental, personal gifts, the tradition of who gets a wedding gift is also expanding. Of course, guests are expected to bring a gift for the couple—but they’re certainly not the only recipients of the day. Gifts for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honor, best man, parents of the couple, wedding planner, day-of coordinator, and just about anyone else involved have made it difficult to find exactly the right thing.

But we know what it is.

A great, unique gift that friends and family can work together to create, an AwesomeBox makes a perfect for the newlyweds, or from the happy couple to the maid of honor or best man to thank them for all the hard work they’ve put in to such a special day. Parents, grandparents, old friends, roommates, cousins, coworkers, and close family confidants come together with AwesomeBox’s easy-to- use web platform to drop in images and messages which ultimately become a beautiful keepsake.

Collect the photos, memories, and moment that led everyone together on the wedding day, tell the story of how the couple’s relationship flourished, or commemorate the big engagement that the groom enlisted his buddies to help execute. Whatever the tales you’ll tell about the wedding—or the couple, or their engagement, or all of the friends and family who made it happen—turn them into a unique wedding gift that they’ll treasure.

Weddings—for all the planning, all the lead-up, and all the anticipation—seem to happen in the blink of an eye. Almost as soon as the event begins, the twinkling lights are coming down, the couple is off to Hawaii, and the next stage of their life begins. Before it’s all over, invite your friends and family to join you to create a keepsake that’s unlike anything else.

 

Graduation

Image from: Angela L.’s Mother’s Day AwesomeBox

Graduation season is a big deal for students and families alike. This spring, close to two million students will walk across the stage to receive a Bachelor’s degree—and many, many more will don a cap and gown to celebrate achievements ranging from kindergarten certificates to high school diplomas and beyond.

That means millions of parents, grandparents, siblings, family friends, teachers, tutors, and mentors, all crowded into gymnasiums or huddled under tents, fanning themselves in the heat (or possibly trying to avoid the rain)—and all of them are expected to bring a gift.

It’s a centuries-old tradition—the first university graduation was over 800 years ago, but humans have been marking accomplishments with ceremonies since civilization began—and yet, it’s still one we struggle with.

How can we celebrate such a significant moment with something so simple as a gift?

Celebrate Graduation, Not Just Graduation Day

Many of the gifts given on graduation day are meant to mark the moment of graduation—the exact day a person achieved something great. However, that’s not all that graduation is meant to celebrate. It’s a special day to be sure—but above all else, graduation is a time to celebrate an achievement and all of the effort that went into making it happen.

We come together on graduation day not simply to note that a marker has been met, but rather, to reflect on all of the hard work and sweat and determination that brought our graduate to his place. What better way to celebrate the milestones than by compiling them in own beautiful keepsake full of inside jokes, fond memories, and heartfelt sentiments from friends and family?

Awesome Box: The Perfect Graduation Gift

Gift for graduation

Shay H-P.’s To Show Her That We Love Her AwesomeBox

With AwesomeBox, you and your loved ones can collaborate to create a graduation gift that your grad will treasure—and that will serve as a reminder of exactly how much they worked to get where they are, and all of the little moments that happened along the way. Invite as many people as you like to collaborate by adding pictures, messages, stories, and memories. Whether it’s photos from her college roommate of an all-night cramming session fueled by pizza or that moment he finally mastered long division under Grandpa’s tutelage, your graduate’s AwesomeBox will capture the steps that lead them from the first day of school to that moment the Dean called their name.

We were told that there’s nothing more special than the moment that an AwesomeBox recipient opens their box to see the love and care that went into creating something that’s uniquely theirs—and never is that more true than on a day that’s meant to celebrate a long road. Even those aunties, sisters, and childhood friends who couldn’t be physically there for the graduation day ceremony can contribute to the box, ensuring that your graduate feels the love and pride from everyone who was there for the journey.

No matter the age of the graduate in your life—whether they’re about to enter the real world, or just matriculate on to the first grade—after they shake hands with an administrator (who hopefully pronounces their name correctly!) and move their tassel, you want to be ready with a gift that will show how truly proud you are. Mark the many milestones that got your graduate where they are with a gift they’ll treasure long after their big day.