It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about what to get the family for Christmas. I’ve found that one no-fail gift that every grandparent loves is pictures of the grandkids. Not content to simply fill their homes with framed photographs of beaming grandkids taken throughout the year, we’ve traversed the photo-gift spectrum in recent years — from mugs to mouse pads to jigsaw puzzles and back!

One annual must-give is the family calendar. I’ve been doing one for the last five or six years. This used to be a labourious and often frustrating experience as I tried to reconcile Photoshop’s idea of what my pages should look like with my own ideas. Last year, I discovered‘s gorgeous calendar templates and haven’t looked back since.

This year, I wanted to expand my repertoire a bit, and I made my first glossy-paged, hardcover photo books. They look terrific and I can’t wait to give them as gifts.

Again, I went with, for three reasons.

First, I was extremely satisfied with Shutterfly’s service last year when I made calendars. One of my calendars went astray in the mail and they shipped a new one the very day I e-mailed to inquire about it. (The lost calendar showed up the first week of February with no indication as to where it had been hiding for eight weeks!)

Second, as I said, they have gorgeous, easy-to-use templates with pretty backgrounds and dozens of ways to lay out your photos on the page.

Third, the Shutterfly upload tool is extremely efficient and easy to use for large batches of pictures. By contrast, I was extremely aggravated recently with, the online site for Loblaw’s photo processing service. You can only upload twelve photos per session. It took me twice as long to upload 30 pictures to as it took to upload 115 photos to Shutterfly.

Photobooks are a hot new item and there are tonnes of places offering them. Just google ‘make photobooks’ to find one you like!

But, after trying services offered by Chapters/Indigo, Snapfish and Photolab, I’ll be sticking with Shutterfly for my photobooks.

(And, no, FWIW this post has not been sponsored or endorsed by any company! Just one opinionated amateur photographer and avid blogger!)

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