The Dreaded Holiday Photo Calendar

Each year I have millions of gifts to buy for Christmas.  I obviously have to buy for my children, and my parents, and then of course the mailman and the teachers and so on.  Because we have very large families – we have several godchildren and godparents to buy for and cousins and aunts…and great-aunts.  It’s endless.

I always make a list of gift ideas and year after year I throw in as an afterthought ….


Once you have created a photo calendar for a loved one – you will quickly think to yourself – “I am never doing this again.” However, you can never simply go to Target and buy a generic “I love Kittens” calendar again for said loved one.  Once you have given it once – you have put yourself into the calendar vortex.  The end of the year inevitably comes and they demand a replacement.

“Last year I was too tired to make one for my mother and she was so mad – so I had to give her one that I made for my Grandmother and lie and pretend that I made it for her.” a friend confessed to me when I said I had to make a photo calendar for my father-in-law every Christmas.

I have purchased designer cologne and cashmere sweaters all with one click on the website – but that’s not good enough.

No easy one-click shopping is allowed.

You must spend an entire day or evening creating….

the photo calendar.

Shutterfly is offering a free calendar until tomorrow – so I decided that last night would be the night that I spent on this masterpiece.

You think it will be easy because Shutterfly makes you think it will be.


First thing you have to do is figure out how to get 100, 500 over 1000 pictures from your iPhone into your computer.

I plugged my phone into my laptop and started the download process.

That took hours.

My laptop groaned and made crazy noises.

Shutterfly kept sending messages that the downloads had stopped.

I received several error messages and warnings that my computer and phone would blow up.

I plugged along.

Finally all of the 800,000 pictures were downloaded.  Now all I had to do was go to Shutterfly and place pics into the calendar!


Shutterfly will pop up messages to make you think that things are easy breezy – like this:

OK – well I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about Shutterfly – but thanks anyways…

So then you go ahead and try to choose your calendar STYLE!!

calendar select

Have fun!! There’s only 500 million choices!! Pick one that makes sense people!!

So you pick one and then all you have to do is pop your pictures into the calendar template.

So now you have to strategically place very precious pictures from the past year into each month. Remember whose birthday is in each month!! Be sure not to put a 5×7 horizontal picture into a 4×6 portrait slot!!

Did I mention that now it’s midnight?

At this point when you are just about to place pictures into each month – you have already been working on this project for hours.

Mr. Gaga will usually stroll into the room at this point with a beer and say “What are you doing?” incredulously, since I have been hunched over the computer for hours crying and yelling.

“I’m making a fucking calendar for your fucking father you asshole!!” I scream.

Also – did I mention that each time you place the perfect picture into the template you will see various error messages that will put you into a cold sweat?

Without fail – every picture that you choose will be met with a huge hazard sign with an exclamation point inside of it – indicating that moving forward with said picture will result in disastrous results that could potentially destroy Jesus’ birthday.

too tired


Bleary-eyed and exhausted I will see repeated messages that the pictures I am choosing will be blurry and over-pixelated, and I will click out of the messages pretending that I didn’t see them.  All the while wishing I was dead and dreaming of my bed.

The calendar will arrive with overpixelated and blurry pictures – but I will quickly wrap that shit up and pretend that it was Shutterfly’s error.

When all of your overpixelated pictures are perfectly placed in each month – you will tell Shutterfly that your project is complete and you will ask to review your purchase.




Now it’s 2 AM – You are sweating and dehydrated.

You have learned the lesson the hard way.

Nothing is free.

Nothing is 40 percent off.

No free address labels are worth this torture.

Your back and neck are broken and stiff.

You only can think of your bed and your red bloodshot eyeballs and you want to murder the executives at Shutterfly.

i cant

Finally you will push yourself and you will finish this project.  Some months might end up having the same pictures as other months.  You might have an entire year of blurry photos.  None of it matters.

Just complete the fucking order and check it off of your to-do list.

And pray that the person pushing this calendar into his wall with a thumbtack knows that it is worth more than gold.  It’s worth more than a pashmina or a $80 Jo Malone candle.

That this “free” calendar wasn’t free.

It came at the cost of your blood, sweat and tears.  That you almost died making this precious daytimer.

Merry Merry….




6 thoughts on “The Dreaded Holiday Photo Calendar

  1. I hate shutter fly. I was on Ellen show and won a free load of shutter fly and it drove me so crazy to use the head honcho from shutterfly came and got my phone and made me a free book before I went ape shit crazy on them. They suck. They suck great big donkey dicks horrible website. Just take your cell phone and go to cost command say make me 10 coffee mugs from this one half ass ok photo

  2. Btw, the Bobina and I are Christmas card people…I know FREAKS

    If you and the googoogaga family would like one track me down on the media that are social message places and let me know.

  3. EVERY. DAMN. YEAR! And I swear I will start earlier each and every time. I used to be one of those crafty bitches, and make my own. Yes, cut, glue, embellish, glitter, crop… over and over and over… And then I found Shutterfly and thought, why the hell not. Well, after 4 years of doing this, I still hate it. But I hate the ridicule from my mother and my other family members even more. So, I click on. And cross my fingers that no one will notice that Baby Dash has her eyes closed and she is just a little blurry in the November turkey picture. Merry effing Christmas – damn you Shutterfly!

  4. I have made shutterfly books as gifts and spent entire days on each book. But we get a damned wall calendar from my stepdaughter and I could care LESS. I’d rather have a book than something I am obligated to stick on the fridge or wall of my home. I don’t like the cluttered fridge. And this is ALL we get from the one daughter. Talk about a cheap ass. They can drive an expensive sports car and live in a big house and are members of the country club and we get the free or 1/2 off calendar or NOTHING on Father’s Day for her dad. If they can afford their lifestyle. you think they could afford a decent gift.

    1. Well just know that it is labor intensive! and I give the calendar as an extra gift with other real gifts too – so don’t put me in the stepdaughter category!!!!

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