Ask Laskas: “Is it wrong to not hang up photos from family and friends?”

When loved ones send me photos in the mail, am I obligated to put the photos in frames and display them? I don’t want to hurt the feelings of my family and friends by not hanging up each photo they shared with me. What should I do?
—Too Many Photos


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51 thoughts on “Ask Laskas: “Is it wrong to not hang up photos from family and friends?”

  1. Get a really nice photo album to keep in a common room. That way it is easily viewed but not on your wall.

  2. you are not obligated to hang the pictures but instead you can start a photo album and share it with them when they come over.

  3. You are certainly not obligated to frame and hang all of them, and I doubt your loved ones expect that of you. Small photos can be placed in an album or in a card-catalog type box, and left sitting out somewhere in your home, which is a thoughtful way to show that you care without spending the money and time on framing. If friends and family care enough about seeing your pictures to leaf through an album you have sitting out, they will see pictures they have sent you in it and know you appreciated them.

  4. You are never obligated to do ANYTHING you haven’t agreed to do. If you’re worried about hurting people’s feelings, buy some cheap giant photo albums and just put them in there. Keep them handy for when the relatives come and visit. At least you’ve spent the time putting them in a display.

  5. Regarding ‘TOO MANY PHOTOS’….After end tables and fridge were full of pictures, my dad bought a really pretty photo album and every time he received a picture of grandkids or other family members, he wrote on the back of each one…, date, place, and age (if he knew it). The album was always on the living room table, for anyone to check out…I have started to do that too, and it’s actually fun!

  6. Buy a nice photo album and put the photos in it and display it on your coffee table. With 16 grandchildren and 3 great, I couldn’t possibly display all photos received.

  7. Buy (or request) a digital picture frame. Get one with lots of memory and request that your loved ones send their pictures digitally from now on so that you don’t have to decide which ones to display. If you’re not computer savy, I’ll bet you know someone who is. They’ll be able to help you scan your previous pictures into the frame so that you can watch all your loved ones (or just a few) as the frame brings up your favorite ones.

    The pictures could become important later. After my Granny passed on, my aunt went through all of Granny’s pics, scanned them, and made up electronic “albums” for all of the decendents. She put the pics on a CD and handed them out to the proper children to do with what they wished. Granny’s pictures of her parents, siblings, etc, she put on all the albums, making certain that each pic was titled and dated (Fiona, Elvira’s sister, at the county fair, 1932). How did my aunt know who everyone was? She took the time before Granny died to go over all the pictures and write on the back what each one was. It took awhile, but it made for several visits with her mother that they both enjoyed. It left us all with some precious memories, and gave us a nice video to show on a screen at Granny’s memorial.

  8. I have been putting pix I receive at Christmas into an album for the past 30 years. It’s nice to look back each year when I put the new photos away. As for unsolicited photos that i receive, I often display them on my bulletin board near my desk and after a while I decide if I wish to keep them I put them in an album or else discard. One could also scan them to your computer and create a file for just that purpose.

  9. I would suggest buying a nice album for these photos. Then, when your friends or loved ones visit, be sure to prominently display the album on the coffee table or other location where it is sure to be seen. Problem solved!

  10. Lots of stores offer convenient and creative ways to hang up photos in your house, like a decorative cork board or slot holder. The front door and fireplace mantle are often popular places for things like this. To be fair, you can rotate photos from loved ones and friends much easier than hassling with individual frames.

  11. I myself collect photos and my family sends me their own too. But I dont frame any of them unless the picture has everybody or it is a really nice one. But what I do for the ones that I do not frame, I place them in a nice box. When they come over, we take out the box and look at them, that way they see that I have the photos and they know I appreciate them

  12. It would be a wonderful idea to make a scrapbook for each person whose photos you receive. You can keep all the photos, letters and cards that they send you and in years to come, you can share the scrapbook with them. This let’s them know they were each cared for – whether there was room on your wall to put a picture or not. It also helps serve a memory jogger for them as they grow.

  13. In this day of technology, you might upload the photos into a digital picture frame. If you can, ask your family/friends to send them digitally through e-mail If you receive hard copies, scan them into your computer and upload them that way.

  14. We have 11 grandchildren and love pictures, but no space for them all. We solved this by buying a digital “picture frame” which displays photos randomly. They come in a variety of sizes and prices. A computer with scanning capability is all that is additionally required.

  15. I have 2 suggestions…Either get a “cork board” and place pictures on it with thumbtacks, and as you get new pictures, replace that person’s picture with the updated one you just received. Or If you want to use pictures frames, replace the picture in the frame with the new one…if you want to keep the old ones, go ahead, but if not, toss them. You’ll enjoy seeing up to date pictures of your loved ones:) I personally have a multi-opening picture frame for my nieces and nephews. I have 1 newborn picture, 1 recent picture, and 1 recent family picture in it. I replace the recent pictures whenever I get a new one for them:)..Just let your family know what size pictures you prefer:)

    1. That is what I have done for years. Cork board in the office. Although I’ve had people in my office and they’ve commented how nice it was to see their pictures displayed, not once have I had someone notice that I wasn’t displaying their photos. Once it gets crowded, I toss and then there is room for the new ones.

  16. I send photos out in Christmas cards every year. I do not expect people to display them unless they want to. If I give a photo to friends or family that is special, then I put it in frame. These photos are small, 4 X 6, and can be easily displayed anywhere.

  17. Regarding the question about photos: It’s your house, decorate as you wish. Do you have a computer? I scanned my photos and have them come up on my computer screen saver. I enjoy viewing the pictures more than having them on the wall.

  18. If the photos are professional “portraits”, such as yearly class pics, Sr. pics, church directory, etc, then Yes, it would be nice to frame and display them. If not, then I would put them up on the fridge till you tire of them or get new ones. Granted, if family doesn’t visit you often, then they will never know what you do with them.

  19. Scan them into your computer. Place them in a folder named “Desktop Pix”. When one of the givers is to visit open the folder and right click the appropriate photo and click “set as desktop background”. Right click anywhere on the desktop background, select “view” and unclick “Show desktop icons”. Show the visitor your “favorite” photo on an uncluttered screen.

  20. Thanks to digital photo albums you can scan the photos and download to your device. Each of those photos can then be seen again and again as they take their turn in the digital rotation. There are not enough walls for family and friends pictures! It’s time to enter the age of technology.

  21. I would suggest creating a digital album- you’d need a scanner and a digital frame, but this solves our “too many photo” problem. You can scan the photos as they arrive and put them on the drive to a digital frame. When guests come to visit, you can play the slideshow of all the photos you’ve received. And you can request digital photos in the future to save scanning time. If this technology isn’t available to you, a photo album is perfectly fine!

  22. I think the best thing to do with the pictures that your family and friends is to start an photo album for each. When those become full get more. You should then leave them in a prominent location where they will be easily seen when you friends and family come by for a visit.
    A photo frame should then be used for your favorites and placed wherever you like, maybe even in your bedroom, which should be off limits unless you invite them in.

  23. It’s as simple as buying a couple cute photo albums for the coffee table, or even shelving them until the family comes over, then displaying them. The important key is to at least care enough to organize them and show your enthusiasm when they see the work you’ve put into preserving the photos!

  24. It sounds as if your loved ones live close and must unexpectedly drop by. My suggestion would be to send a photo of yourself to everyone that sends you a photo, then a few days later drop by their house, check for your photo, if not there, worries over.

  25. You are in no way obligated to display each and every photo you recieve. If you were, my walls wood be papered! I have two very large albums (one labeled special family pics, the other-special friends pics) and try to be very scrupulous about putting new pics in the albums right away. If anyone asks about the photos they sent I can immediately flip open the right album and show how important their photos are to me.

  26. i agree. put them in an album or scan them into your computer and make an online album or an album dvd that you can watch when they come over

  27. For those pictures of relatives and friends, put them in a photo album and display the album (on a coffee table or on a bookshelf).

  28. How many family members and good friends can you have? Pick a favorite photo of each, and frame and display that one only. All others go into albums, without exception – consolidate as possible (“Dear Friends”, “Nieces”, etc.). When you receive a better photo of a loved one in the mail, replace the one on display (and the old one is instantly album-bound). If anybody should ever inquire why their likeness isn’t wallpapered all over your home, simply reply, “The photo of you framed over there is the one that instantly warms my heart when I see it – and while every photo of you is priceless, I won’t have my all-time favorite competing for the spotlight.” Who could argue with that?

  29. Get a pretty basket and as each photo arrives, put a date and name on the back (if there already isn’t one) and add to the basket. Anyone who visits may look at them, and people will see you appreciate them. When the basket gets too full, pick out the oldest and dispose of as you choose, save, discard, etc.

  30. I have a wall downstairs in the basement/family room in which to put up family photos.
    I also have a few on the wall going down stairs.

  31. I think it depends on the occasion. Wedding announcement photo: Yes, or you’re a terrible person. Christmas card: Yes, until at least Jan. 1st (your fridge has room!). Vanity shot of them posing seductively with their 3 dogs for no apparent reason: Must post on Facebook immediately so others can make fun of them.

  32. Display the photos or not, it’s your home and your choice. I had the same problem eons ago; put them in albums and displayed the albums when the family members who sent photos visited. Everyone was happy including me and my daughters whose pictures were displayed; after all it was their home.

  33. I loved what my mother did with pictures of her many grandchildren. She nicely explained that, much as she would like display all the pictures, she had only a small amount of room to use for photos. Instead, she attached small 3″x5″ picture frames to a bell pull on the wall. As she received pictures of all of her grandchildren, she would replace the old with the new.

  34. I agree with anyone who feels they don’t have to display all of the pictures. I treat pictures the same way I do gifts i.e. once they are given you have no control over them.

  35. I, myself, send and give photos to friends and family members on a regular basis. I expect them to do whatever they want with the photos, and have no expectation to see them framed in their houses. They can look at them once and toss them, put them on a fridge, give them to their kids, stick them in a drawer, whatever. I just share so they know they are important to me.

  36. I got a family photo album imprinted with “Family” , put the photos in there and leave it on the coffee table. Also for the friends and family pictures I download from the computer.

  37. In addition to on the fridge, on a corkboard or even in inexpensive frames – try putting them in a nice photo album with “Friends & Family” written on the front. This can be put on a coffee table – or even a handy bookshelf. Or a nice basket on a shelf can hold years & years worth of photos. But to answer the question of whether or not to display them in the first place – the answer is yes IF there’s a chance they will ever see them, and NO if it’s someone who will likely never be in your house. And if you get updated photos from the same person, then just put the latest one in front of the others – most frames can hold several. Stil feeling like you should display them all? Get a collage frame – maybe one for each subgroup (one for your brother-in-law’s family, one for each set of grandparents, one for friends, etc….) and hang them in the stairwell, the hallway, or even the guestroom. Once they are somehow organized, whether displayed or not, you will begin to enjoy them instead of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number!!!

  38. The photos are yours as a gift, do what you want with them. It is your house or apartment, and anyone who expects you to automatically frame and hang whatever they send to you is a control freak.

  39. Machman57

    I like to put as many photos in the frame that will fit one behind another then you can change the positions of the photos every once in a while.

  40. I love getting photos from friends and family that you rarely get to see in person. I used to put the pics up on my frig with magnets, but soon ran out of room on the frig. I finally decided to put a small cork board up in my kitchen and cover it with all the postcards, Christmas cards and other photos that we get throughout the year. Each January I replace the pics from the year before with any new ones that we got at Christmas and continue to add to the board throughout the year. It’s fun to display the pics where family and visitors can enjoy looking at them, and not as formal and long term as putting them in frames.

    1. Wow you and I think alike! I put the pictures I get throughout the year and at Christmas on the door of my hall closet. Then in December as the new ones start to arrive I take the old ones down, rubberband and mark them with what year they were from and eventually put them in an album. Friends and family are amazed that I have a chronicalogical history of their family through the years.

  41. We came up with a great solution to a similar problem, albeit it will cost you a little bit of money, it will pay off in time. I recommend you purchase a digital photo frame, you can get various sizes, and then scan the photo’s your friends/family send and download them onto the frame. It’s not as hard as it sounds, honest. Then, you can either sit it or hang and it and when they come to visit, all the pictures will be cycling through on a loop for your pleasure and theirs. Not only do you save space, and money on frames, but you can make everyone happy by showing them you do care about their pictures and you get to see them every day. I suggest the brand, Veiwsonic, they are top notch. Depending on the size you want, you can get them for as little as $50 and under. That’s the cost of at least 5 frames!

  42. I love it when I get pictures of loved ones’ and friends’ children. After I leave them out for a period of time, I tuck them into a cookbook (I have many). Every time I use that book, the pictures pop out and I enjoy seeing them again and again.

  43. Sending pictures to friends and relatives is a nice gesture, but it is often over done by some who feel the need to share everything. If you want a house filled with pictures of every stage in the life of a relative’s child, then go ahead and display them. If not, simply do not do it because there is no obligation whatsoever to do so. In fact it is presumptuous and inconsiderate for anyone to expect that they become part of the decor. I simply look at them, keep them in a drawer for a period of time and then toss them out without a touch of guilt. In fact,I do the same for pictures, even if they are framed before they are sent, unless of course it is a special picture that I want to display. Even then, I would not necessarily consider them to be on permanent display.

    1. My sister sends me so many photos that I’ve just started keeping a box. It’s all I can do.

  44. No, you are not obligated to hang up the pictures, but maybe you could compromise and post them on the fridge for a week or two before putting them away in a photo box or something? If you really just don’t want the pictures then why not tell them? The cost of pictures adds up, so maybe they would appreciate your honesty? Maybe you could request digital copies instead of hard copies?

  45. This is actually for “Distressed Daughter-in -law” in the February “Ask Laskas”
    I had a Mother-in-law who did this all the time and it really hurt me. The best advice I ever got was from my Grandmother, who said “Every time she says something unkind or critical, smile and compliment her on something.” Don’t respond in kind, it will only drive a wedge between you and your husband, which is exactly what she wants. Ignoring her takes all the wind out of ther sails.
    For “too many photos”, thank them for the photos and tell them you are placing them in a special album which you will always treasure. Then do just that and when they visit, voila!

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