Image from our 2017 family photo calendar.

Your 2018 Photo Calendar: The Gift That Keeps on Giving (to others and you)!

Newsflash: There are less than 360 days left until Christmas 2018. Everyone needs to start working on their 2018 photo calendar now. Why? Because it’s an ideal gift. For more reasons than you think.

One for the grandparents.

As I mentioned in this blog post, photo calendars are the perfect present for grandparents. I can’t name a single grandma who can resist pictures of her grandkids.

One for you, too.

Of course you need a photo calendar. To remember what a fantastic year last year was. Or if it was a difficult one, to remind you of how very brave you were.

Maybe you need more than one. One for home, one for Mom’s office, one for Dad’s.

Grown-and-on-their-own kids might want a photo calendar as well.

The Christmas after our FirstBorn got married, she requested a calendar for her and her new husband to hang in their house. Now that they live more than four hours from us, she wanted to be able to “see” us on a daily basis.

We also made one for Sandwich Child to display in her college apartment. This fall when Junior-Man heads off to college, he’ll want one too. Maybe. Hopefully.

Who else needs a photo calendar?

Since he’s crazy about his nieces and nephews, my one brother—single, no kids—has always loved receiving our photo calendar for Christmas. Perhaps you have a similar sibling.

Maybe you have friends who’d like a photo calendar from your family.  Hey, it’s better than a calendar from the bank, right?

Photo calendars are the new photo album.

At least they are in our family. Any more, I rarely print out pictures. They just sit in my cell phone, until I transfer them to our computer. Maybe. Hopefully.

Since I rarely print out pictures, I almost never put photos in albums. Do I scrapbook, you ask? Snort!

Since I am a photo-failure, we have 100s, probably 1000s, of pictures from the early days of our marriage and family. When FirstBorn still lived at home, I sometimes paid her $10/hour to put pictures in albums.  Alas, she only got through our 2003 photos.

That’s why I love photo calendars. They provide an accurate record of a year in the life of our family. I’ve kept every photo calendar we ever created. More than once, I’ve gotten them out to double-check a date.

Photo calendars can serve as temporary baby books.

Early on in the life of our FirstBorn child, I came to grips with the fact that I didn’t possess the “baby book gene.” However, it didn’t take long for me to figure out I could pencil all her milestones—when she rolled over, took her first step, said her first word, etc.—on our family photo calendar. Later on I could transfer the information to her baby book. Maybe. Hopefully.

A photo calendar also makes a fantastic (low-tech) day-planner.

Photo Calendar June page image showing how a family calendar can function as a low-tech day-planner.

Use your photo calendar to record all things important: birthdays, anniversaries, performances, births, deaths, graduations, etc..

Even if everyone in the family uses their cell phone calendar, a “fully-loaded” photo calendar serves as a master calendar for everyone in the house.

Photo calendars serve as family “Bibles.”

I record all things important on our photo calendar. Things like:

  • Births
  • Deaths
  • Weddings
  • Graduations
  • First/last day of school
  • First/last day of a job
  • Broken body parts
  • Surgeries
  • Hospitalizations
  • Dates for vacation
  • Dates for the state track meet
  • Dates for Young Life camp

Recording these vital statistics on your photo calendar makes it an invaluable family resource.

I recently sat down with our 2017 calendar and reviewed it month by month. I took notes as I went along and in doing so, I identified 26 “main events” during our family’s 2017. All that we experienced—as individuals, couples, and a family—both difficult and wonderful, was there in writing and pictures.

There were so many events I’d already forgotten! I was very grateful for the reminder.

It was such a profound experience, I plan to sit my guys down (It’s just the three of us right now. Sigh…) and go through the weeks and months with them. Remembering, marveling. Laughing. Tearing up.

Photo calendar creation

In the beginning, I was in charge of the photo calendar. Way back then, I would create the calendar by selecting four photos for each month and taking them to a local print shop.

In time, in a much-appreciated act of kindness and initiative, our FirstBorn took over the gathering of the photos and the design of each month’s calendar collage. And she’s done it ever since. Even this year, though she’s currently living halfway around the world.

Throughout the year, she sends us reminder texts and emails to forward our favorite photos to her. She even lets us know what kind of photos would make for a well-rounded end-result. “Do you have a picture of each of the pets?” And, “Make sure you take pictures at the Christmas-tree farm!”

Note: If the calendar is going to be given to family and friends, attempt to also include a few pictures of those folks during the year.

Photo Calendar Printing Options

For years, WalMart printed our photo calendars. At $10 each, it was a fantastic deal, even when I purchased six. This year though, we noticed the calendars are smaller and the cardstock, flimsier.

Since our family calendars have basically turned out to be family heirlooms, when we go to put ours together at the end of this year, we plan to use a different vendor, even if it means spending a little more money. Maybe we’ll try Snapfish. Or Shutterfly.

So, who’s with me on the 2018 photo-calendar project?

 

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