The holidays are approaching faster than you think, and unless you want to get stuck giving yet ANOTHER necktie, consider creating a custom photo calendar. Sure, puppy calendars are cute, but they lack that personal touch that can make a gift truly memorable. Imagine dressing up the calendar with your favorite family photos, or even adding images of each family member to mark their birthdays, anniversaries, and more! We’ll show you several options to get you started.
Before you set out to make your calendar, you will need to collect all of the important dates you wish to include. Call your sister or your mother and get everyone’s birthday, anniversary, and any other important occasion and organize them in one place. Find some great photos of the family and organize them into a folder. Avoid using outdated photos by grabbing images from Facebook, or use photos from a recent family gathering. Some of the online services below can even integrate with Facebook to upload images with only a few clicks.
Once you are organized, decide whether you want to try to print the calendars yourself or order them online. For a short run, printing yourself can save money, but if you plan to order enough for several family members, you can burn through those inkjet cartridges in no time. Remember, printing photos can use a lot of ink! Ordering from an online service will tend to give you a much better product that will make a more appealing gift. Here are a few of our favorite custom calendar options:
Calendarlabs.com provides one of the quickest and simplest solutions for creating a custom photo calendar, and you can print the result yourself, right at home. Visit their site and choose the month and year you wish to create, and you can even choose to include holidays. Then, upload your own photo or paste in a URL from an online photo. Click the Create Photo Calendar button and you are ready to print your creation! The downside is that Calendar Labs provides little control over design elements, and you can’t add custom photos for specific days like some other services in our roundup. For a quick and simple print-at-home calendar, however, it’s not a bad solution.
Vistaprint offers a lot more control over the layout of your custom calendars, and even has several themes to frame your photos. Choose a beach theme for summer months, for example, or a snowy frame for December and January. You can also choose between a desk calendar, a wall calendar, and more. Once you order, the calendar will be professionally printed and bound, creating a much more finished look than you are likely to achieve at home, and their prices are very reasonable. You still don’t get the ability to add photos to mark certain dates, such as birthdays, but for a low-priced solution, it’s hard to complain too much.
Shutterfly offers the most features in our roundup, but you pay a little more for them. Those who are looking for a lot more customization may find it to be the best solution, and the interface is very easy to use, making it our top choice in the lineup. You have the option of adding any of your own custom text entries for important dates, and you can also add a photo to a specific date. Imagine adding a photo of your daughter to her birthday, for example, or a favorite wedding photo to highlight your anniversary! Shutterfly also offers the choice of a wall calendar, desk calendar, or a poster calendar, so your options are wide open.
Zazzle creates a wide range of customized products such as greeting cards, t-shirts, and even iPhone cases! Unfortunately, their selection of custom calendar options leaves a lot to be desired. You can choose a large image for each month, but you can’t add images to specific dates. The interface for creating the calendars is not as easy to use as other sites in our roundup, and you only have the choice of creating a wall calendar. Given its limited options and the fact that Zazzle calendars are the most expensive of this roundup, we recommend you skip it, but return the next time you need a custom coffee mug or t-shirt!
While all of the sites in our roundup will help you create a custom calendar, what it really comes down to is price and the quality of the finished product. We found Shutterfly to provide the best balance of both, along with an easy interface and solid customization options, which is why it earned our Editor’s Choice. While it might be tempting to print your own calendar from home, the extra layout options and professional touch are more than worth the extra cost. So go get your photos and dates organized and create a custom calendar your family and friends will never forget!