December Daily Thoughts & Plans
This will be my eleventh year making a December Daily album (thanks to Ali Edwards) and it's still one of my favourite projects. I am very much a Christmas person and December also marks the start of Summer here in Australia so my album documents the festive period as well as the change of rhythm as school finishes for the year and I take time off from work. What's not to love? Even though it's a hectic time of year, I will always make time for this project.
I've made various versions - homemade minibooks, divided page protectors, a 6x6 album and a tiny 4x4 album, but over the last few years I have stuck with a digital 6x8 album using page protectors and that's the way I plan to go this year.
GETTING IT DONE
Here are some of the things that help me keep it simple and allow me to keep up:
1. Make my pages digitally (in Photoshop Elements) and print at home as I go (in an album with page protectors)
2. Stick to a few digital template sets and kits. I used to buy ALL THE THINGS and get so overwhelmed with too many choices then end up not using a quarter of my stash.
I love Ali Edwards's daily overlays and have used them for as long as she has been selling them, then I usually get a few more things from Ali and Liz Tamanaha at Paislee Press (mini kits, template sets) and call it good. Last year I only bought my digital supplies as I started working on my first day's pages so I didn't go overboard and stuck to things I knew I would use (digital December Daily shopping frenzy is a thing too!).
3. Repeat my design each day which is usually a full photo with the daily overlay on the left, then a story with more photos on the right (using one of the templates). Knowing I need a full photo every day helps me find new and interesting things in my day.
This is my 2013 album and the first time I used the 'formula' of full page photo with Ali Edwards' date overlay and a collage/template/journaling on the other (in this case I used Cathy Zielske's 30 Days of Thankful 6x8 album template). It was so easy to keep up.
4. Make and print my double layout each day if possible. I am a very quick scrappper and decision maker so I don't agonise over which photo and story to tell. The templates and design plan make it easy to put together and I can probably get the spread done, printed and put into my album within half an hour each day. I like to be done with all things Christmas by the time New Year's comes around and that includes working on my December Daily.
In terms of stories, I love that there are repeating stories every year so I know that many of my December Daily pages are already accounted for before I even start (not in any particular order):
Putting up the tree and decorations
Last day of school for the year
My office Christmas lunch
Christmas baking for school - we always make something special for the kids to take to school in the last week and it's usually something DD worthy, like reindeer cookies.
Evenings in the pool (Summer routine)
New Christmas music I might buy (John Legend this year)
Reading/buying Christmas cookbooks & magazines
Planning the menu for Christmas day
My to-do list
Christmas Eve dinner out
A list of movies to watch
A page each about Zara and Eli right now (that can go on a day when I don't have anything else)
That's half the album. I'm also happy to intersperse our regular non-Christmas days and activities in the album. Last year I had a page about swimming lessons, a hospital visit for my sister, yard work, my daughter's school camp, a quiet day in, seeing Star Wars and a new dress.
If you really are worried about not having enough stories for your project, you could always change the project from a daily story album to something more prompt or theme drive. Last year, Tiffany Lowder from the Scrap Gals started a Decembers to Remember album telling childhood Christmas stories - what a brilliant idea!
Or go super-simple. For 2014 I used a gold We Are Memory Keepers 4x4 album and used Paislee Press' This Day in December journal cards to note a few sentences about that day, paired with a photo. I think it was the easiest December Daily I've ever made. You could even print the cards ahead and just handwrite every day and add a photo.
One year, I joined Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class and cannot recommend it highly enough (once you sign up and pay for the class, you are part of the class every year going forward).
I really love the album I made that year - it is a much more considered approach rather than a look at our daily December life. Every day there is a Christmas-related prompt for you to answer in any way you like (I made a 6x8 mini book) and you can make a page for every prompt or pick and choose the ones the speak to you. Here is a look at some of my pages when I took the class in 2011.
I really love going back and looking through these books - such a great snapshot of our lives at various stages.
This is my very first December Daily from 2008 - a homemade 6x6 mini book with binder rings.
And my second album in 2009:
It is a lot of work, particularly during a very busy and stressful time for most people, but if you keep things simple and aim for 'done' over 'perfect' it really is an amazing project. Even if you can only manage to take a few photos and jot down a story each day to work on after the December rush, I'd encourage it.