Calendar Season

One afternoon in November of 2005, I was sitting at my desk at work wondering aloud what I would get my mother for Christmas. She was in an assisted living facility, and was notoriously difficult to shop for. A friend who sat across from my desk suggested I make her a calendar. She told me that I could go to Walgreens’ website and put together some pictures and they would produce a spiral bound, wall calendar.

That night I went on their site to check things out. If I could have everything in by Thanksgiving, they would produce the calendar in 2 weeks, and I would have it in plenty of time for Christmas. Why not? At the time I didn’t own a digital camera, so I set to work with my scanner and the snapshots I had available. I used some software I had available at the time – Print Shop by Broderbund – and pieced together some layouts. Basically each page on the calendar had one or two pictures and some clip art. It took some time, but I got it done and sent it in.

01-january

January 2006 from my mom’s calendar. My first published page.

Two weeks later, on about the 12th of December, it arrived in the mail. It looked great. My wife took a look at it and immediately asked if I could make one for her mother. It was too late to do it through Walgreens, so my initial answer was no. I looked around a bit and found Calendar Creator on sale at an Office Supply store on a clearance rack.

01-January 2006

January 2006 from my mother-in-law’s calendar.

Making no promises I picked it up and set to work making a calendar for my mother-in-law. This one I had to print at home, and take to Kinkos to be bound. After 10 days of working hard, I had it done. And so began my making of calendars.

That first year I made a grand total of 2 calendars. It has grown since, and for calendar year 2013 I made18 different calendars for 30 people. In total, over the past 8 years I have made 74 different calendars. Along the way I have also made stock calendars that have been given to people for their offices, kitchens or wherever else they may hang them.

My operation for making them has grown since that first year. I have upgraded my computer, printer and camera along the way. I have scanned photo collections from a number of family members, and have enhanced my collection of material through email, Facebook, and whatever other means necessary.

The making of the calendars has morphed into a full-year hobby for me. Having picked up the nickname “bobarazzi”, I am the person always snapping away at events with family and friends. The phrase “that is going on your calendar” has been exclaimed many times as I snap someone in a funny situation. In the fall, I become a hermit in my office at home, piecing together the top pages, or panels as I call them, for all of the calendars.

The more tech-savvy among my readers will say that wall calendars are passé. People no longer track their family’s activities on the kitchen calendar as they did in years past. You are right about that. But, I also know from experience that people still like having that visual reminder of the current month.

Over the course of the next few months I will be sprinkling in some ideas on how to make calendars. I will tell you some good places to go to have them produced, and show you some of the layouts I have used in the past that were winners. They really do make great gifts, and are quite affordable. In today’s age of ubiquitous digital cameras, the issue isn’t finding pictures to use, it is narrowing them down to the critical few to brighten someone’s  wall.

In a previous post on Reasons I Tolerate Autumn, I mentioned calendar making. The truth is that making calendars is an activity that goes far beyond toleration. It is a true passion, and something I enjoy in this season more than any other activity. This weekend I started up the process, and I am so excited!

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