One of my favorite debt-free gifts, because it lets you use your creativity and because you can give it every year, is the personalized calendar. This is also great because your budget is pretty much up to you- and you can choose whether to do this analog style or to go digital and use your computer.
- There are tons of websites that let you create a monthly wall calendar from a template (Shutterfly, Snapfish, VistaPrint, Staples, etc). Scan some of your child’s artwork to add to the pages, or just use snapshots.
- You can create a perpetual calendar. There are a ton of ways to do this with found objects, and don’t forget you can use photos as a backdrop to your numbers. You don’t even need to be particularly crafty for this one- buy adhesive letters and numbers at the craft or hardware store, and everything else is just cutting squares and applying glue.
- You can design your own calendar, then secure the pages together with Padding Compound to make a tear off calendar. If you make the decorative part 8×8, the pages can be trimmed and added to an 8×8 pocket scrapbook afterwards. Just snag a calendar template and get started. If you need outside printing- for instance, if you’re going all analog on this project, or you want to make your calendar bigger than your printer can handle (or if you want it spiral bound) almost any print shop will be happy to make copies of your paper originals or print from your digital files, for a fee. Shop around and remember, if you’re going this route, that black and white is almost always cheaper than color. (If you don’t own software that you can use for this project, there is a free version of the digital scrapbooking software I use available here.)
- Create a pop-up desk calendar from a CD case. (You can use an actual CD case or you can order a CD-sized case meant just for holding a calendar.) Include a DVD of family photos or video clips, if your computer has a DVD-r.
- Purchase pocket-size calendars that come in a clear sleeve and design an insert that fits between the sleeve and the calendar. (This is the type, but I strongly suggest you source it locally.)