Three Reasons to make a 2021 Calendar from your family’s best photos

Every year Shutterfly gifts me with a free calendar. I hold my breath waiting for the online coupon to arrive in the mail.

When my kids were little, I was a faithful scrapbooker. In fact, I’d go on weekend retreats with other moms to scrapbook. We’d spend copious amounts of time cutting, decorating and creating spectacular photo layouts chronicling the year’s events. Looking back at those books, I see creativity and space to remember and document.

Basic page documenting the beginning of the Colorado Monbergs

As life moves on, the scrapbooks were replaced with yearly Shutterfly calendars. The first year I felt like I was cheating on my scrapbook community. In about 3 hours, I would create a memory pictorial calendar and call it DONE!

Just a few of the dozens of scrapbooks completed in those early years.

In the midst of our basement refinish project this fall, I unearthed all the calendars I’ve done over these past several years. I took some time and glanced through them. Date boxes filled to the brim with the mundane; dentist appointments, several years filled with braces for three family members (me included – best decision ever was getting braces at 40). Play dates, soccer games, basketball tournaments, travel and dinners with friends and family.

Instead of seeing a cop out to memory making, I saw treasures in those month by month pages. Inside 12 pages of pictures and day to day calendar blocks is a detailed recording of how life has moved for our family.

It dawned on me what a treasure these simple little calendars have become.

Many of us started the quarantine gung ho on completing projects.

Do you have project fatigue with a hundred started but unfinished projects lying around?

Reason one for making a 2021 calendar?

Feel good about starting and finishing one project. In a time when you feel overwhelmed with the “to do” list and the thousand photos sitting on your computer waiting for something to be done, take three hours and complete something. Admiral McRaven shared that if if you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed. I say, if you wanna feel accomplished by one thing, download a few pictures, upload them to the Shutterfly calendar template and say “complete.”

Reason two?

Daily Run with Mask

You might think your year was about toilet paper, quarantining, social distancing and masks. What I realized, as I looked through my pictures, was my year included a whole lot more. I believe you will too! My eldest daughter learned to bake bread. We camped with friends. Outdoor nights around the fire with friends were plentiful. Dog walking amped up. Hikes happened and many books were read, expanding my world. Sweet memories popped up as I began to go month by month through my Google pictures. Let yourself be surprised by all the good things that 2020 has brought you.

Ouray Campsite in Amphitheater Campground
Dog walking with my Brittany, Annie

Reason three? You are a primary resource for the pandemic. The last major pandemic, the Spanish Flu, happened 100 years ago. Lest you think they all followed diligently with government mask mandates, you’d be wrong. Google the term “Mask slackers” and “Deadly Spit”. Your pictures could one day end up in a history book. If your pictures are all hanging out on your computer, they will linger long into digital history without any ability to share with the world because who can remember their password right?.

I’d encourage you to consider starting with a simple project. Go to Shutterfly, click on the calendar project and download a few of those photos. Laugh over the photos you pick, cry a little when you see how fast time has moved, remember the mundane snowstorms and cookie baking alongside the big trips and big moments.

First family outing once quarantine ended.

If you feel stuck, pick out three or four photos per month. Download them to your computer. Once you’ve decided on your calendar template (I’m using this one for 2020), upload the pictures and quickly add them to the boxes. Shutterfly has simple tutorials if you get stuck. However, I have found it to be intuitive for all ages.

When the calendar arrives, hang it up and use it. Mark the moments of the week.

Trust me, while a simple thing, you just mind find a treasure in them as well.

The ordinary is ultimately what moves us most deeply. It’s what touches us, and it’s what we most recognize, in great moments of art.

Lorraine Toussaint

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