My family has always been a tight-knit clan. For as long as I can remember, my mother has kept a calendar that marks every person's birthday, anniversary, and the days we have lost our beloved elders.  That part might sound a little morbid, but it isn't meant to be. It is just supposed to be a little light post to remember them on that day. Anyway, my mother's side of the family gathers often, and as a result, we have a lot of years of shared experiences and interests.  Enjoying sports, hunting, fishing, showing livestock, camping, raising kids . . . celebrating, grieving, and just everyday living. Y'know. The stuff that cements people together.

This year, I decided to take Mom's calendar notes, combine them with a whole slew of family photos, and make a calendar/photo album for our family Christmas gift exchange game.  I stuck two of them in the game and then shared the Shutterfly link with everyone so that anybody who wants one can have one.

There were several challenges:

1. Choose a custom calendar platform that allows me to put multiple events on the same date, pictures into the calendar blocks, and a nice big photo page for each month. Shutterfly ended up being the best one for my needs, but there are many choices out there.

2. Gather great pictures from different parts of the family.

3. Make sure that every single family member is represented two to three times. There are about 50 people so that is no small task.

4. Combine physical photographs with digital and make them all look nice.

5. Organize photos so that they make some kind of sense. I chose to tell the story like this:

Cover: Foundation of the family -- Grandparents, the four siblings, their spouses

Jan-Feb: Oldest sibling, spouse, children, grandchildren

March: Second sibling -- this was a tough one as they live far away and we don't see them a lot. Got some good photos from Facebook and from my mom:-)

April-May: Third sibling, spouse, children, grandchildrenJune: Fourth sibling, spouse, children, grandchildren  

July: Fourth of July camping photos/events from the past 20 years or so

August: Fourth sibling's second page

September: Athletics

October: Fishing and duck hunting

November: Deer hunting

December: Christmas tree and kid photos

This project turned out to be one of my favorite Christmas gifts to give this year.  Definitely a labor of love and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Contact Jane at if you would like some help organizing and making a photo album calendar for the people you love most.  I have the tools and the know-how to make it happen!   Shutterfly's price for a 12x12 calendar is $45, but they frequently have deals that I would pass on to you for pricing. Right now, they are $30 plus about $8 shipping.  Those sales come and go frequently.

Labor cost for me would be a dollar a picture to edit and place.  Note that the sample pages I am showing you have multiple photos, but you could do anywhere from one to nine per page.  We can also place photos in the calendar blocks if you wish to do so. $12 to personalize the dates with the events you would like entered.  

That's the scoop!  Happy New Year, everybody!!!!


Let's plan something awesome together!!!