By Peter Dorfman
ACCORDING TO THE calendar, 2014 draws
to an official end at midnight, December 31.
But our family closes the book on each year by
For the past five years, we have launched
the holiday season by publishing a family
yearbook—a hardcover photo album, created
online. It encapsulates all of the events, transitions, travels and triumphs of the previous 12
months. It serves as a family history, and as a
highly personal gift for relatives who can’t
share these experiences in person.
Producing a hardcover book has been a
photo-finishing option on the Web for a
decade. We’d seen stunning wedding albums
produced this way. As a family we often share
pictures through social media, but nothing has
the permanent, tangible feel of a printed book.
The inspiration to document our year
came as our family was turning a corner. Our
youngest kids were graduating from college
and starting life on their own. Every year, it
was becoming harder to gather the family
together for the holidays, and harder still to
keep distant relatives involved in our increas-
ingly busy and independent lives.
We were looking for ways to stay con-
nected, and for ways to make the annual holi-
day gift exchange less stressful and more
meaningful. We’d enjoyed people’s annual
Christmas letters and photo greeting cards.
And gifts incorporating pictures of the family
had been big successes, particularly with the
grandparents and with aunts and uncles who
lived across the country.;
“2009: A Family Album” was our first
yearbook. As a gift, it was exactly the hit we’d
hoped it would be. Recently, friends have
admired our annual album and talked about
adopting this tradition for their families.
Having put together five of them now, I’ve
found that there is a knack to making a satisfying family yearbook. Here are eight practical
tips for creating an annual photobook that will
be successful as a family history, and as a lasting and meaningful gift.
The Costco Connection
To make your own photo book, go to
Costco.com and click on “Photo.” Books
start at $19.99 and offer many options. For
more on Costco’s Photo Centers, see the
June 2014 “Buying Smart” article on Costco.
com (under “The Costco Connection”).
Annual end-of-the-year photo books
capture precious family highlights
PHO TOS: PE TER DORFMAN