December 3, 2015

December Daily - What Works For Me

It's that December Daily time of year again! December Daily was developed by Ali Edwards  as a way to document December, and I've been recording holiday memories in December Daily mini-albums since 2008. They are one of my favorite memory-keeping projects. I've refined my process over the years and thought I'd share what works for me.
My collection of December Daily mini-albums
Pre-made Album
I did no advance planning for my first several albums, other than selecting the type of album to use. And by the time I was a week or so into the process, I was stressed at having to flip through my collection of papers and embellishments every day in order to complete my page. A couple of years ago I began to pull a small selection of items to cut down on the searching time. Last year, I actually made the whole album in advance and that made a huge difference for me.
My 2012 December Daily

No Numbers
Along with the pre-made album last year, I discovered another way to make this project more enjoyable for me: I don't number the pages. When I look back at my earlier albums, I realized that I really didn't care what happened on a particular day - I was just interested in the memory itself. I add dates to pages but I don't number them from 1-25.

December Daily 2014
Eliminating the numbers also helped me with another issue. Our lives have changed in the eight years I've been making these albums. When I started, I was a stay-at-home mom with two teenage daughters and there always seemed to be plenty of December activities to record. I now work part-time, one daughter has graduated from college and the other is a college senior. Our lives aren't filled with as many holiday activities as before and so sometimes I don't really have a "ready-made" story to tell each day. I've opened up my story-telling to include not just Christmas present but Christmas past as well.

December Daily 2014
No Pressure
Another change to my process that has really helped has been to let go of the idea that I have to record something every single day. I know that many people use their December Daily to record a story of every day life in addition to holiday-related activities but I generally include just Christmas activities in mine. And it can be pretty difficult to come up with 25 separate Christmas stories in one month. So last year I decided to just make a page when ideas or activities presented themselves. I was a little concerned at first that my album would be pretty thin but it actually ended up being just as full as previous years. In fact, I was happier with the stories because they were ones that had meaning to me and were not just "filler" stories added so I could cross the page off my "to do" list for the day.
December Daily 2014
I took Ali'sStorytelling with December Daily Class this year  and one of the activities was to look back over past albums. When I did that, I was able to list a number of photos or topics that have appeared in several of my December Daily albums (our Christmas card, a floor-level photo of our tree at night, wishlists, shopping lists and receipts, etc.). So now if I'm looking for a story to tell, I can just check my list for an idea or two.
Limited Color Scheme
As a member of the design team for the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog, I selected a color scheme for my album this year as part of my December assignment. In the past, I hadn't given much (if any) thought to really coordinating the papers and embellishments in my December Daily - I just randomly picked items from my holiday supplies. I even put together a pinterest board this year to help me narrow down my color scheme. I talked about my process on the CKC blog here and here if you'd like to read more about the kit I assembled and the album I put together.
No Shopping
Gasp! With the exception of the stamp set I received for participating in Ali's class, I did not purchase anything new for my album this year. This might have been the hardest part of the whole process for me, especially considering all the gorgeous holiday items that have been released this year. I held on to my resolve though and chose to use my own (more than adequate) supplies while taking inspiration from the colors and types of embellishments I was seeing. It's easy to get distracted and overwhelmed with supplies; limiting my choices to what I already own helped me quickly assemble my album.

Printing at Home
I have a Canon Selphy printer and it is so helpful to be able to print my photos at home. Until I got the printer I would batch-print photos every few days using one-hour service from my local Walgreen's. I was frustrated at having to wait to have each page truly finished and let's face it, at this time of year I really didn't need one more stop on my errand list.
December Daily 2014
Self-Contained Supplies
This is a little tip I picked up from participating in Shimelle Laine's "Journal Your Christmas" class through the years: keep the December Daily album supplies on a tray or in a basket or other container so they're all in one spot. This is especially key for me because I don't have a dedicated scrap space. I use our dining room table to scrapbook but at this time of the year, I want to keep that room free for entertaining. I don't want my supplies scattered all around the room and I don't want to have to take lots of things out and put them away every time I make a page. I've got my album and pre-made pages, my list, a few photos, a pen and adhesive in a small box this year. It's nice and portable and since the album is already made, I won't need much room when I'm ready to work on it.
I'll be sharing pages from this year's album here every few days. I hope you'll stop by and take a look. Are you doing a December Daily or another holiday project this year?


  1. This may be the most useful, comprehensive DD post I've read! That first top-view photo of prior years' minis was so creative. Can't wait to see your pages this month.

    1. Thanks Leslie - you always leave such nice comments! Are you doing a December Daily this year?

  2. Thank you SO much for this post. I didn't even realize exactly what a Dec. Daily was supposed to be, and I am not married and don't have kids, so I always felt I wouldn't have enough to put in one. Your way of doing it takes that pressure away and makes it fun! Thank you SO much.

    1. Oh Maureen I'm glad you found it helpful! I guess it all comes down to doing whatever makes you happy, but it's hard to realize that when you see everyone doing something else. Thanks for stopping by - let me know if you make a DD this year.