Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

October 27, 2008

Creating A December Daily Album: Part One


[ Album: D Reeves Mini White Style File; Patterned Paper: Making Memories Skinny Stripe Fa La La; Santa Sticker: Art Warehouse Noel Sticker Sheet; Black Metal Number Brads: Around the Block Lucky Number Big Metal Brads; Hanging Charm & Word Sticker: Making Memories St. Nicholas Collection 2007 ]

Hello December Daily 2008.

December Daily is an album that documents the month of December leading up to Christmas day (and sometimes beyond – that’s completely up to you). It is a chance to reflect, to share, to celebrate the season in a manageable, in-the-moment way. The entire key to this album is to put it together BEFORE December. This is the first of a few posts on the process of putting together this album. In December I will share my finished pages each day.

The Basics: gather up a bunch of holiday supplies, create an album with 25 pages (one for each day), and then when December rolls around you will have a foundation upon which to document you and your family’s story. The idea is to take the time now to set it all up so that on December 1 you are ready to experience + to capture the memories for the day and add them into your album as you go.

Some of the topics that appeared in my album last year included visiting Santa:


going sledding:


and decorations:



You can see last year’s entire completed December Daily album here.

One of the main reasons I love this project is that it allows me to both document + enjoy the season. I like to be in the moment most days of the year, but especially during December when there just seems to be a bit more magic in the universe. Taking photos of our house and our activities only added to my joy last year.

I love to have activities planned out over the course of the month; not obligations, but carefully chosen activities that our family is interested in doing. Some of the things I am looking forward to this year include a Polar Express train ride in mid-December (thanks for reminding me to sign up Jen), watching traditional holiday movies, driving around to look at lights, picking a couple kid’s names from a giving tree and having Simon select gifts for those kids, visiting Santa, lots of hot cocoa, lots of white twinkle lights, reading some favorite holiday books, etc. These are the stories I want to include in this album.

I hope you will consider joining me and create your own December Daily album for 2008.


Here’s how I began my process this year:

1. Turn on some holiday tunes. I did this and it seriously put me in the mood. And yes, it is a bit early when Halloween has not even happened yet (4-5 days before is not too bad). I am actually one of those people that really likes to savor the season and starting off with some of my favorite holiday music is a fairly decent idea. Decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving.

2. Read this story.


3. Choose an album size. Last year I went with an 8×8 acrylic cover from D. Reeves Design. This is actually one of the hardest parts of the process. At first I thought I wanted to do something along the lines of Janet’s project using an old book as the foundation. Then as I was looking through last year’s December Daily one of the things I remembered is that I ended up needing really big binder rings by the end of the month. I ended up going with the white D Reeves Mini Style File that measures 6.75 inches x 9 inches (this is just a front + back cover).

***Just an update: I received an email from Diane at D Reeves and she is making some changes in her life to focus on family and is stopping production of the albums. I completely understand and respect this decision and wish you all the best Diane.

Keep in mind that your album will get bigger over the course of 25 days as you add photos and ephemera.

4. Dive into your stash + corral your goods. This is a great project in that you really may not have to buy too much (or anything) to have a super fun, very full December album. I have a project box that holds my holiday supplies and a basket with some new products that I have recently picked up.

Here’s a list of the things I like to work with when I begin this process:

  • patterned papers
  • chipboard pages (especially pieces from minibooks you may have left over)
  • envelopes
  • transparencies
  • numbers for each day of December (I did 1 through 25 last year…some people go farther)
  • random pieces of stuff you have on hand that you have been wondering what in the heck you would ever do with them

Your first task is to decide on a cover/album and gather up your supplies. Tomorrow I will show my interior pages and talk a bit more about how it’s organized and embellished.


This is part of a series of posts on creating a December Daily Album. All posts can be found here.


  • 1.
    gina said…

    I was thinking about this over the weekend — a weekend during which I got “caught up” on a lot of projects and pondered what’s on my plate for the next two months (including finishing up those Halloween costumes, making a quilt for my Dad who’s entering a memory care unit, and making our Thanksgiving cards — phew!). I’ve had this project in the back of my mind, though, and am so excited to read your post more thoroughly and get myself in the groove. First step today is to clean up my scrap area, always motivating. I am going to make my album Thanksgiving through New Year’s as we have so much that goes on at the end of November. (December Daily Plus? Holiday Daily? Hmmm….) Looking forward to the process, Ali!

  • 2.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Thanks Ali – was waiting anxiously for this and am pretty excited about getting this one completed this year.
    Will get started!!
    Have a great monday.
    Nicky from Canada

  • 3.
    Chris said…

    Thanks for the inspiration. I think I may do this as a Holiday Season Daily. We start our traveling and family memories at thanksgiving and go right through New Years. Additionally, I think I’ll just get my CM Storybook set up and drag n drop those photos and scans of memory items right into it…easy!

  • 4.
    charmaine said…

    Thanks Ali,
    I’m excited about this project this year. I did one last year, and loved it, but did seem to spend far too much time on it as I created the pages each day. Your plan makes far more sense! One question I have though is, how much time did you spend on it each day?

  • 5.
    Jen said…

    I’m curious if anyone who doesn’t have kids does something like this?
    I love the idea, but Texas doesn’t lend itself to neat snow scenes too often. LOL!

  • 6.
    Melissa D said…

    Hard to believe that it’s time to begin this album again already. The year seems to be flying by. Loved compiling this one last year. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  • 7.
    Sara said…

    What a great way to start off the season. My little bugs are at an age where the holiday’s are much more exciting! I loved the story about the white envelope on the tree. I want to start incorporating that type of thing in our family … helping those less fortunate. Thank you Ali for the inspiration!

  • 8.
    irene said…

    Hi Ali, love the book you are planning to create. And I will definitly play along. As did I with your “week in a life” (still have to get the photo’s printed and put together in an album) Love your ideas and I am overwelmed by how organized you are. Wish I was a bit more like that ;)
    I was really touched by the story of the enveloppe in the Christmas tree. It reminded me, not only to be there for others, but also that live is short and you have to make most of it.
    Thanks for sharing
    Irene from the Netherlands

  • 9.
    Marie said…

    Oh my. That story made me cry! Which is not good, because I’m in the office! Good thing none of my co-workers are around today, they’d think I’d gone a bit loopy crying at my PC! I still can’t believe that Christmas is almost upon us. This year has just flown by so fast.

  • 10.
    Jen said…

    I, too, love the magic of Christmas and this project seems perfect. I’ve already been sneaking in Christmas music so it seems fitting to sneak in some Christmas crafting, too. You are such inspiration. Thank you!

  • 11.
    anne_l said…

    Thank you Ali for sharing a holiday inspiration. It is very much appreciated. Now I need to gather my Christmas stuff to prepare for my album. Thanks a lot!

  • 12.
    Jessica Stoops said…

    I so needed this push so I can have the book together early and will be more likely to finish it.
    Last year, I lost steam and must admit, I had all the pictures but did not finish the book. I also did not have easy way to print out the pics.
    This year, I will make sure to finish up the one for last year. Then get ready for this years. I hope to stay on top of it. I now have photosmart printer, a Christmas present from my wonderful husband last year, which should help.
    I loved the story about the special presents for the less fortunate. Our church has a giving tree and we try to pick a child about our son’s age and let him pick out the presents.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    I look forward to reading your blog everyday:) Jess

  • 13.
    Franziska said…

    hello Ali, your book really looks good. Not too much stuff, but christmas colours even so. I’m curious about watching your inner pages!

  • 14.
    Anne Alley said…

    The album looks very cool so far, D.Reeves does really great albums, and I love how you did the title. I can’t wait to see what more you will do with inside pages.

  • 15.
    Amy said…

    I can’t wait to get started on this! I already picked up an American Crafts 8×8 corduroy album for this project. :)
    I also want to thank you for all your awesome inspiration on the Week in the Life project, and all the great goodies you made available at Designer Digitals because I loved using them in my album! The style of them blend so nicely together and really make the album seamless from front to back!! I may have to buy some Christmas things from there, for this next album! I hope you have some more up your sleeve as well!

  • 16.
    Linn said…

    Thanks Ali, I was inspired by this last year and it also resulted in me taking fewer pictures than I usually would have, which made it easier to enjoy the memories as they happened. I used a spare scrapping kit and have already made this year’s December daily!

  • 17.
    vdalton said…

    Can’t wait to see this project unfold–I really enjoyed your album last year. I have always done a “CHristmas album”–it’s a 12×12 and I can usually get 3 years into one album.

  • 18.
    Malea said…

    Thanks so much for the inspiration to do this album! I made it to the store this weekend and picked out some new Christmas papers to use and I’ve ordered a cute 6×6 acrylic album (it has shaded dots on the cover that kinda look like snowballs!) so once the album comes in then hopefully I can start planning out my pages a bit better.
    I plan to do the entire month of December… it will be a great way to document our last Christmas as a family of just 2 (well depending on if this little one decides to come early or not). :)

  • 19.
    Tracey said…

    Such a great idea – i really hope to do this this year, even though I’m expecting our first baby next week! Thank you for sharing the story of Mike and the envelopes – i feel a little silly but have to admit it made me cry, so touching and something we should all rememeber.

  • 20.
    Margarita said…

    Ali, what kind of paper do you use for the pages? – Thank you!

  • 21.
    Stephanie S., Woodbridge, VA said…

    I’m so excited – I am totally doing this project this year! It will be my first. I am also going to creat a book for the week of Thanksgiving – sort of “a week in the life” idea but specifically for the week of Thanksgiving and like the December album – I’m going to make it ahead of time. I love Thanksgiving so much so I really want to document it.

  • 22.
    Ann-Marie said…

    Oooh your project and ideas about savoring the holiday season are so beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing as always! :)

  • 23.
    alexandra said…

    Love it when you do this, Ali!
    I still have to finish my album from last year!! I am hoping to do it again this year though – perhaps I’ll be better organized this time around.
    Sometimes when I look at your projects I think about how proud Chris must be of how you document your lives – so beautifully, so lovingly. Love the way you cherish it all and turn it into art!!
    Thanks for always inspiring!

  • 24.

    This is going to be so much fun–thank you for sharing.

  • 25.
    lisa said…

    Thanks for the continuing inspiration Ali. It’s exactly what I needed today. Funny you mentioned holiday tunes. I actually added some new holiday songs to my ipod last week and found myself already singing along. Can’t wait for the rest of the week to see your December album!

  • 26.
    Teresa Victor said…

    Wow- well, that story of the white envelope certainly touched my heart this morning! I loved your December project last year but didn’t have/didn’t make the time for it. This year will be my husband’s and my last year as a two-some for Christmas and I know I’ll want to document these special days waiting for our little one. Off to find an album and some Christmas supplies! :)

  • 27.
    sue Treiber said…

    maybe this is just what I need to jump start me back into scrapping!

  • 28.
    Angela W said…

    I am going to try to do this with you! This will really be my first mini album to do on my own, so we’ll see how it turns out. I can’t wait to see the next blog so I can have an idea on the interior pages!

  • 29.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    PS – just got a chance to read the story and nothing like a good cry at work!!
    God Bless

  • 30.
    Sarah said…

    This is so great! I can’t wait to get started! Thanks Ali!

  • 31.
    Mary Jo said…

    I am definitely doing this for 2008! I already have a Christmas album started that I was going to use in 2007, but just wasn’t able to work on it. I am using all KI Memories Christmas papers and a spiral bound chipboard album, so it will be easy to assemble :0)
    This should give me the push to actually work on it :0)

  • 32.
    Therese Bradley said…

    I have a question. Where do you get the super big binder rings? I have Staples local to me and they only have the regular size – a bit bigger than a quarter.
    I loved the idea of a Thanksgiving Daily one reader posted.

  • 33.
    Emily said…

    I started making nov and dec mini books two years ago. I’m not always the best at keeping up with them but it’s great to be able to look back at the months as sort of a journal.

  • 34.
    sarah said…

    I just love the front of your album this year. Definately helps me get in the mood. I think I am going to follow along again this year – just need to make the time to get prepared. Thanks for the inspiration. And I turned on Josh Grobans Christmas CD over the weekend. just couldnt help myself :)

  • 35.
    Kristine Sherman said…

    Thank you for the Xmas story–amazing and touching.

  • 36.
    Carol Stoler said…

    Hi Ali,
    I love this idea. Being jewish I don’t do the Christmas thing and could do it for Chanukah but for me that is a minor holiday and the kids are grown. I am going to do this for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday and full of family tradition in which we always are together for. I love the idea of a Grateful album. Any suggestions for this?

  • 37.
    Teresa said…

    This looks so amazing already!!! I picked out some papers and embelishments and tags already around August. I made some Christmas cards and tags. I started listening to Christmas songs as well…people think we are nuts! No, we just loooooooove Christmas!

  • 38.
    Sarah said…

    Great inspiration! I can’t wait to start on mine.

  • 39.
    Lindsay said…

    Thank you for sharing the envelope story. It definetely puts the season into perspective. I am still finishing up my week in the life album but look forward to starting the Christmas project.

  • 40.
    PhotohappyCdn - Kelly said…

    I’m curious if anyone who doesn’t have kids does something like this?
    I love the idea, but Texas doesn’t lend itself to neat snow scenes too often. LOL!
    Posted by: Jen | Monday, 27 October 2008 at 05:43 AM
    I did this last year and although I do have kids, they are now adults and are tired of having their picture taken! My December album wasn’t based on the holidays – more so the month of December (1 – 31). It worked for me and we had a couple of snow storms thrown in for good measure!
    Some days the page was just dedicated to a friend/relatives birthday (patterned paper, the date, picture if I had one and their name) as I wasn’t always able to get a picture a day. Do what works for you!
    Having said that, my album is not done yet. :( (I lost my mojo early this year but thankfully found it again in October (thanks Ali) just in time for the week in the life project!) I have 10 pages left in to finish from the 2007 album and hope to have it done soon. I won’t be participating with the daily album this year but I will be following along on your blog anyway! I really enjoyed doing it last year – even though it was a month with so much to do and so little time!

  • 41.
    noell said…

    I loved watching you go through this process last year and this year I want to do it too. I probably won’t start quite yet, but I’m glad I’ll be able to go back to these blog posts when I’m ready.
    Thanks for sharing the story about the envelope. I started doing something similar for my dad on some of his birthdays or for Christmas. I love how it became a holiday tradition for the family in the story, and it was extra special to read how the children responded when their father died.

  • 42.
    Dana K said…

    Oh Ali, what a great idea. I’m a Christmas nut so this project is so up my alley. We’re also going on a Polar Express ride and we love to do various holiday activities during the month. Oh, and my decorations start going up the day after Thanksgiving as well.

  • 43.
    Evelyn said…

    Hi Ali!
    I’m super excited! I did this last year with you. I accomplished so much in that one month. And that was the first time I got to use an acrylic album! It was so awesome and I’m glad to do this again. I will definitely follow your lead just like last year. Thank you for bringing this back.

  • 44.
    Jodi said…

    I love your blog and all the great ideas. Have you ever thought of teaching an online class?

  • 45.
    Audrey said…

    You’ve totally inspired me (yet again)! I can hardly wait to do a 25 days of December album. Thank you, Ali.

  • 46.
    LeAnne said…

    What a beautiful story to share with us! As excited as I am in creating this album for my family, I can’t wait to share this story with them and watch them open our very own giving envelope on Christmas morn’. Thank you so much again for sharing and inspiring us!

  • 47.
    Stacy said…

    I love December so much, too, so this is such a great project! I’m looking forward to your posts on this since I want to get my book done early, too. I think I’m going to start it the day before Thanksgiving (when the tree goes up!) so it will be more of a Holiday album. I think I’m going to embellish a 3 ring binder for it – covering the outside with fabric. I can’t wait to start on it!

  • 48.
    Lisa said…

    The Christmas story was beautiful! What a tradition to pass down to your family. We pick names off a tree for other kids and fill the shoe boxes to send to Africa, but what that family did is amazing and inspiring!
    I tried to do the Dec journal a few years ago, but didn’t get very far. You are so right about getting your journal ready before Dec. arrives; I didn’t do that last time and then did not have time to put it together as I went so I didn’t finish it. I will start working on it soon.

  • 49.
    Lisa said…

    Jen from Texas…this will be my first Christmas living in Hawaii and my first without snow. I am thinking of documenting how it differs from living in WA; local events/customs, favorite recipes I like to make for the holidays, maybe a highlight/gratitude of the day, shopping encounters, baking for the neighbors, etc. Just a few ideas to get things rolling. I’m hoping you ladies share more ideas as we get closer :)

  • 50.
    Casey said…

    Wow, I was just thinking about this last night, when I was looking at some of your designer digitals stuff. Last year I went with a very vintage look, but we have a white tree this year, and lots of bright modern stuff, so I was thinking of a clean white album this year and blam! YOU have it on your blog! I LOVED this project last year, and I’m just finishing up my week in the life album, so the timing is just right! That’s why I like you best! ;)

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