let's be real here, babies make the best accessories. everybody loves them a good baby (or pretends to), especially when they're real new. i remember being so surprised how different my experience with the world at large was once i had a baby in my arms - everyone was just so dang nice and happy to see me coming.
in much the same way that babies pave the way for you socially, they can also make a totally great greeting card prop. i've been exploiting my kid for card purposes since before she could properly hold her head up. just scrawl out a sign with your intended message on it, have the kid hold it (or tie it on a string around their still-wobbly little neck, see below) and BAM! instant present.
if the recipient is of the grandparental varietal, such a card might even function as the entire present itself, such as the above "happy anniversary" shots we took of shoshi baby on our honeymoon, for my parents' anniversary. man...that dreamy week at a cabin on the manistee river feels very far away today.
we take birthday pictures every year for some people, such as (somewhat randomly) my cousin rob, above. since shosh is only two thus far, i only have two such pictures in my files at present, but wouldn't it be cool to have taken ten or fifteen years' worth of happy birthday pictures, then present a gift of all the pictures lined up in sequential order to the birthday boy? i would love that present, myself.
some years it's picture-perfect, and other years...it's more of an outtake kinda situation. when making a card (instead of just posting on facebook), i usually include one of the blooper shots on the back, such as the father's day card (photo itself now long gone) where sho -- who had been grinning charmingly on the front of the card -- turned into a raving lunatic by the back, screaming and clawing at the camera. ah yes, a true testament to the realities of (grand)fatherhood.
regarding facebook birthday greetings, sometimes it just seems a little too easy. how much love really goes into looking at the corner of the screen, seeing it's someone's birthday that day, and writing "happy birthday, dude!" on their wall? when i really want to say "happy birthday" and mean it, i take the extra fifteen minutes to set up a little photo shoot with the shoster. i mean, it's about time she pulled her weight around here, you know? i would totally recommend this exploitation of your own children for your greeting card purposes. enjoy!