Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Genealogy Christmas Gifts

Many of us look for methods to share our genealogy findings with the rest of the family. One method I have found is making & giving Family Calendars. Each year the family gets very excited to unwrap the calendar and turn the pages.

When I began making the calendars I wanted two things.

1.     I wanted to be able to add lots of photos on the ‘top’ page of the calendar. I also wanted the ability to add text and seasonal graphics.
2.    On the ‘bottom’ page of the calendar I wanted to add family birthdays, anniversaries, upcoming weddings & graduations, etc. I wanted to put photos in the boxes with the birthday and anniversary messages.

The first calendar I made was in 2005 for the 2006 calendar year. I used Kodak Easy Share Gallery to create it. There were few layout options & I could only put four photos on a page. There were no options to write about birthdays in the date boxes on the calendar.

Next I used digi-Labs.net & the calendar looked nice but I wanted more options.  I looked online at many websites before deciding to use My Publisher. I used them for several years until they changed the size of the calendar. I wasn’t happy with the smaller size. I do still use them for making books & am very pleased with them.

Now I use Mixbook. It is very versatile. Some of their styles include: Seasonal, Whimsical, Classic, Vintage, Modern & Instagram. You can make a square or a landscape calendar. I make the 12” x 12” square calendar [which is 12” x 24” when it hangs ope]n. I begin with a blank calendar & do my own layouts & themes.

CALENDAR COVER [above]. Here are examples of covers I made. In 2014 I used photographs of my brothers & I over the years, stickers & text with a quote. This year I am using a single group photo on the cover of the calendar for our children. 

TOP PAGES [above]. I use a combination of photos from the preceding year, vintage family photos & seasonal photos to decorate the top section of each calendar month. Mixbook lets you use one photo, none or as many photos as you like. The background can be textured, a solid color, or a graphic. I use something simple because I want the photos to be the star of the page. There are hundreds of stickers, or graphics, at your fingertips. I find that too many graphics take space away from my photos so I use them sparingly. The examples above show my aunt's 80th birthday party, a family tree & our son's wedding.

BOTTOM PAGES [above]. The bottom of each month has the calendar. You can “Manage Events”. In the drop down box you can select holidays you want to include. Then you can add as many birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, vacations, graduations, etc. as you want. The focus of my calendars is my brothers & I so I include any special days that relate to the four of us, our children, grandchildren, our cousins, aunts & uncles, our parents, grandparents, etc. We can all keep track of upcoming birthdays and remember those who went before us. It is possible to add photos in the boxes that have no numbers as well.

My family looking at their new calendars.

I work on these calendars all year long, adding new photos as each month passes. My brothers send me photos and, of course, I carry my camera everywhere. Not only do these calendars share important family events and photos, they are also a record of the family’s previous year’s events.

My niece & grandniece looking at the calendar.

Do you make any genealogy gifts for your family?

1 comment:

  1. Colleen, This is a great way to get relatives excited about family photos! Your calendars are particularly creative. I use Shutterfly and their standard layouts for my family photo calendars every year, to save time. As you've found, unwrapping the new calendar has become an eagerly-anticipated annual event. Glad you're sharing this tip with the world!


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