Sunday, November 13, 2005

Making your Own Photo Calendars for Gifts

By Christina VanGinkel

Holiday gifts that focus on photographs are big hits with family. In part because of the renewed interest in photography with all the advancements made in both taking and printing of photos that are now so easy to do, even kids can do it. One that I enjoy creating each year is a calendar with a different photograph of a family member, group, or event for each of the twelve months, plus one for the cover. I also take the time to update my calendar of events each year, thus making sure that, as many annual events that I can track down the date on, are included. I then give these calendars to those family members that I know will appreciate the ease of tracking down when family birthdays, anniversaries, and annual reunions are.

If you would like to create a calendar for yourself or family members as gifts, be prepared for some hard decisions in picking out the pictures to use, and wonderment in how easy they are to print and assemble once you have all the information gathered and photographs chosen.

Browse the software on your computer for a program that offers an easy to use format for assembling your very own calendars. Many of them will even allow you to save information from year to year, such as birthdays and anniversaries that are always on the same date.

Microsoft Picture It! (I have version 9) has an easy to use format for several different layouts to choose from. You start by choosing a weekly, monthly, yearly, or twelve-month format. For the purpose of this gift, you would choose the twelve-month format. Choices also include creating each page with an individual picture or multiple pictures per month. This is a good choice if you are having trouble choosing only thirteen photos for your calendar. While different programs will offer different features, many will also offer to print each page with options such as places to make notes. This makes the calendar not only an eye-pleasing gift, but also a useful gift.

While I usually make all my calendars identical, keep in mind that they are so easy to create, it would not take little effort to personalize calendars to fit each recipient. These calendars are also a good family project, thus taking some of the pressure off you for making everything, and getting everyone involved in the gift giving. If photos need to be scanned in before using them, appoint the task to a child that is capable of doing this or a spouse. If you just cannot decide on the actual pictures to use for each month, pass out your favorites to other family members and ask them to choose, or to appoint each one to a given month. If you are planning on printing subtitles with pictures, have others to help with coming up with appropriate sayings. Most of all, remember why you chose to give these as gifts in the first place, and have some fun creating them, that way, they will be that much more fun to give.

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