It may not please the geeks, but the best solution I’ve found for all this is the humble book. Making a collection of photos into a book (even if it’s just a year book of miscellaneous shots) solves several problems.
Making a photo book through iPhoto has become one of our favorite things to do as well, and I highly recommend it. It’s super easy and affordable.
For the last two years now, after Thanksgiving weekend, I place all of my favorite photos from the past 12 months into a new iPhoto library. The software will auto-generate the layout of the book (it puts them in chronological order), and then I just tweak it and send to print. The quality is fantastic and it’s one of the best ways to have your favorite photos all in one place.