For the last two years I've created personalized calendars for close family members as a way of savoring some special moments we shared through the year.
This is one of my favorite Christmas gifts to give, and it's really rewarding to see the person I gave the calendar to enjoying it throughout the year.
The first year I did this I took photos from a beach trip and made them into a calendar, using Shutterfly's calendar creation tool.
This year I made my sister's new baby the centerpoint of the calendar, since everyone in our family can't get enough of baby Henry.
The calendars are cool, not only because of the big picture from your real life that goes along with each month, but also because each person's birthday is indicated by a photo of the person's face. That way, you can see at a glance who has a birthday in a particular month.
At Shutterfly, there are various design templates you can choose from. I went very minimalist using the them called "Photo Gallery", but there are lots of others that are very colorful and theme oriented.
You can even choose how many photos to have on one page and there are different layouts depending on how many photos you have on a particular page. You also have the option of including captions.
The best part about this is that making the calendar requires no creative or technical ability--it is all set up so that you just need to plug in your own photos.
It took me some time to create mine, but that's because I have a lot of birthdays to put in, and I had a gazillion baby photos to go through to pick which ones to use in the calendar.
I decided to order 3 of them--one for my mother, one for my sister who had the baby, and then another for another sister. So, with the work I did on the calendar, I was able to "kill 3 birds with one stone" gift-wise, so to speak.
That's not a bad deal--3 customized gifts that I know the recipients will enjoy, with one burst of work. You might want to consider that too, as buying multiples of the same calendar gets a discount.
Here's the link to Shutterfly's calendar creation page. You can choose from desk calendars, wall calendars, and calendar posters (one big image on a page with all the months). It's nice to think that whatever work you put into it will pay off throughout the year.