Does your Family have a Christmas Project?

My parents started a wonderful holiday tradition well over 15 years ago.  They print a family photo calendar for the New Year filled with pictures and memories of the past year, or even from many years ago.  I have blogged about this project in the past, but it becoming such a time-honored tradition it’s a story that bears repeating.  When this annual project started,  in 1997 my Mom was the editor, and set up girl.  She would collect pictures that had been taken by family members for the prior years happenings, and use those to put the pages together for the New Years calendar.  The calendar also includes all of the family member birthdays and anniversaries.  So there’s no forgetting any important dates.

1997 Calendar 0011999 calendar page 001

Over the years the process of putting the collected the pictures, and scanning, and building the calendar pages has transformed into a completely digital process.  Now a days the pages are put together using Picasa’s collage feature.  Pictures for each month’s page still have to be collected, but the process of putting the pictures on the pages is a much easier process and allows for a greater number of pictures to be included.

This is a page from our 2013 calendar:

August Calendar page

Credit for this collage collection goes to Travel Man.

The printing process of the calendar is another piece of family history.  For many, many years my Mom would put the calendar together in “old-school” fashion.  Cutting and pasting each picture to the page and then scanning it in for the final copy.  My Dad was in charge  of printing all of the copies. They did all of this, including the printing, at home, and I’m sure they were printing 10 or more copies.  Quite a venture.  And with your parents being the “project managers” on this type of project, you knew you had to meet the picture deadline.

Of course pictures submissions have always been  strictly voluntary, but everyone likes to be included on this project.  And even more exciting for the 2013 calendar, a few of the pictures that Evan  took during the year made it on the calendar too.  That would mean that this year’s calendar was put together by four (yes that’s 4) generations of family members.  Wow!!  I just realized that fact.  Isn’t that amazing?

In the younger years of our family calendar, the kids would all count how many times they made an appearance in the calendar, and of course compare their counts.  (I think my Mom went a little nuts with this one.). And they were also quick to let their grandma know if a picture had been duplicated.

For quite a few years we only included pictures from the previous year. Then in 2004,  my mom surprised us all and threw in old pictures of some of us, and it was a great blast from the past.  From that year on we have had pictures from the here and now,  and a few from the past mixed in as well.

We have now been doing the calendar for so long that someone will take a really great picture or a really funny one, and we’ll say, “That’s a calendar shot!”.

A few years ago my Mom commandeered help from everyone who wanted to help put  together the pictures for the calendar. So, around Thanksgiving time my mom will post a message on Facebook for what month people would like to be responsible for. Once the months are all assigned then the picture collecting frenzy begins.  I always tell myself I’m going to collect the great calendar shots as we go through the year, and then life sets in and I forget,and the first week of December I’m scrambling to find pictures.  Oh and there is also someone assigned for the picture on the cover of the calendar. This is a coveted position each year.

The updated printing process has now been assigned to Staples. Once the editing is complete the calendar goes on a flash drive and a few days later, voila the calendar is finished.  I think my parents print around 20 copies of the calendar each year now, and they’re always ready for our family’s Christmas day get together.

The calendar has created a wonderful  pictorial of the family history. Watching the kids grow up, and ourselves getting older.  I have all the picture portions of my calendars in binders, so we can page through the years, and enjoy all of the pictures quite easily.  The binders become a great conversation piece at family parties.  Travel Man will carry a calendar with him this year, as he loves to share pics of his family, and we’re hoping he’ll feel like he has a little piece of home with him.

Our 2013 Family Calendar is a sight to behold, and welcomes the newest member of the family, Miss Madison.  Hats off to my parents for keeping this tradition going.  It is a memory that I’m certain will be treasured for years and years to come.

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social linky

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4 Responses to Does your Family have a Christmas Project?

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this for the GRAND Social, Renee. What a wonderful tradition. I’ve made the annual calendars as gifts a time or two, and I cannot even imagine the work that went into such a gift when your mom was doing them the old-school way. I save my calendars from year to year, as sort of a scrapbook, but the photo ones that are your family tradition take it leaps and bounds beyond mine. What a treasure!

  2. Grandma Kc says:

    Just stopping by from the GRAND Social Linky Party. LOVE your post as it is a project close to my own heart. We have a wonderful 8+ year old granddaughter and I make a calendar of her each year for all the family members — especially those far away. I only use pics from the year before but from the same month — January 2013 has pics from January 2012, etc. Your right about the picture end — even though I only pick from the year before it is that part that takes HOURS — but I enjoy them as they mean lots of reminiscing. Digital technology is wonderful!!

    • I love hearing about family traditions. This sounds like a wonderful way to have a pictorial history of your granddaughter. Plus being able to share with long distance relatives is the best. Our calendar gets sent to the long distance relatives all over the country. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

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