I’m sure many of us have fond memories of holiday traditions from our childhoods. For me, it’s helping my mom wrap presents, celebrating Christmas Eve with a huge party at our Auntie A’s house and of course opening up presents Christmas morning! Now with a family of my own, I’ve been establishing our family’s new holiday traditions.
For the past four years I’ve been making calendars for everyone in my family using favorite photos taken throughout the past year. The first year I made them I didn’t think about making it a yearly tradition. At the time, it just seemed like a nice personalized gift that I could easily print more than one copy of and check off every family member on my list. As soon as I gifted them, my cousin immediately declared how much she loved it and asked if I could make one every year. Traditions aren’t always planned and lo and behold – this year will be year number five of my calendar series!
Here’s a retrospective of the covers of my last four calendars.
Given that most of our photos never see the light of day beyond our phones and Facebook, getting family photos actually printed and in hand, is a treat. For family members like my folks who don’t have smartphones, having a printed calendar of photos is the only way they would ever see most of these snapshots. Big bonus is that you get to enjoy it throughout the year!
I make photo books with a lot of different companies, but Mixbook is my favorite for calendars because of the flexibility in design and the ease of using the software.
As you can see above, you can put photos and embellishments anywhere on the page, even behind the main calendar space. Other companies usually limit photos to only the top part or have other restrictions on design.
The software resides online, so you just upload your photos and then you can work on it anywhere you have a computer and an Internet connection. My photos are stored on my desktop but once I load them into Mixbook’s online software, I can sit anywhere in the house with my laptop and design my calendar. With two kiddos, I usually only get bits and pieces of time to work on it. What’s nice about a calendar is that it’s basically 12 pages and a front and back cover (or 24 pages depending on how you look at it), so it can be quicker to make calendars than to make photo books. Below here are some ideas for calendar layouts.
Pick your topic. One year I collected my favorite landscape and nature photos and made that into a calendar, but thereafter, I’ve preferred to go with a focus on family, and do a year in review using the past year’s photos. First I go through all the prior year’s photos and pick out the very best family shots. You can flag them if you use iPhoto or tag them in Adobe Lightroom and then download them to a separate file so it’s easy to find and upload into the design software. If you don’t use any photo organizing software I would suggest copying the photo and placing the copy in a separate folder on your desktop for easy upload. If you don’t want all those duplicates taking up space, you can delete the duplicate folder after you’ve printed your calendar;
Pick your theme. (Mixbook has almost 50 to choose from) or pick a blank calendar for 100% customization. I usually go with a theme I like and then tweak it from there. I like to have some of the formatting done for me that I can customize later. Mixbook has tons of nice backgrounds and clip art from which to choose so you can switch out anything you want, or move it anywhere you want;
Enter your dates. Anniversaries, birthdays, annual events etc. (What’s nice is that if you go with the same company to print your calendars next year, you don’t have to re-enter those dates. They’re automatically saved for you!)
Drag and drop. Don’t forget to use any space you can! I love the blank areas at the bottom or top of the calendar grid. I fill them in with lots of family photos;
Different versions. I make two versions of my calendar every year – one for my side of the family and one for my husband’s. What’s nice is that I can make a single main version, duplicate it and then just change out some of the photos. It’s a huge timesaver!
Below are some of my favorite designs from this year’s 2016 calendars. I’m leaning towards the first design. The last one would make a great gift for the grandparents! You can get most of these designs in either square or landscape format.
The calendars are printed on heavy cardstock and are coil ring bound. They come in three sizes: 12 x 12″ square calendars are $29.99; landscape calendars come in two sizes: 11 x 8.5″ and 14 x 11″ and are $24.99 and $34.99 respectively. But those prices are before taking into account a special discount for Photobookgirl.com readers! It’s an awesome BOGO (buy one get one) deal.
EXCLUSIVE PROMO for Photo Book Girl Readers
When you buy one calendar item, you’ll get the second calendar item of equal or lesser value for FREE! Just add at least two calendars to your cart. They can be two different calendars, different sizes too!
Coupon Code: PBGBOGO15
Deal Expires: 12/31/2015 (11:59pm PST)
If you’d like to read more of my tips on calendars, check out this post, updated for 2015 – 2016! I’m off to keep up my tradition!
I am an affiliate of Mixbook and the company provided me with complimentary calendars for purposes of review. The links on these pages go to the company’s site. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a referral fee from the company. Regardless of affiliation my opinions are always my own and I always give my honest opinion.