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.


  • 51.
    Elise said…

    Ali, I followed along with the December daily last year, but am thinking of joining you this year as we prepare to welcome our third child before the Christmas holiday… so as I’m overwhelmed, I appreciate your early start!
    That said, how do you jump from Halloween to Christmas. Surely there are some super special moments to document about the Thanksgiving holiday. Do you have a specific project that happens each year, or do you document those thankful feelings as you feel up to it?
    Also, (and sorry I’m full of questions) many of the local stores around here don’t have Christmas items displayed yet. I know you advocate using basic supplies with a few add-ins, but do you use last-year’s Christmas lines or do you leave space for the “specific” embellishment to come later?
    Thanks for your time,

  • 52.

    Oh I LOVE Christmas!!! I remember last year on your blog you posted a list of ‘possible’ fun activities… I saved it and think it is such a GREAT idea!
    I really really love this place.. your blog… I just love how you remind all of us to celebrate everyday life, and find things special in what we already do, right here, in our own magical little worlds.. a stop and smell the roses type of thing… for me.. Thank you!

  • 53.
    Molly said…

    lovely cover. I was listening to christmas music yesterday too. just feeling it with bread baking in the oven. I might just have to do some thing like this for 08.

  • 54.
    sara said…

    I’m trying so hard to stay ahead of all the crafting this year; I also help a lot of friends with their cards/photos so there’s always a rush to get to them around the 1st of December. This is a great idea to get some of my own stuff out of the way now… hard to believe it’s almost November; scary that I already feel behind!!!

  • 55.
    Jennifer Walker said…

    When I first read about doing a Christmas album, I loved the idea. But then I thought – “well, I don’t have a family – so why bother?” I’m sad to say this is frequently what I think….
    But then I decided to do it anyway! I don’t have a family, but I do have ideas and thoughts and things I love – and hate – about the holidays. I do have traditions I’d like to share with the family I hope to have someday. I do have my favorite decorations and my favorite way of wrapping presents. These things are part of me and deserve to be documented and noted – just because.
    I love this time when there seems to be more magic in the universe and want to savor it – even though I don’t have children. I want to make the season which seems to fly by in a frenzy of shopping, buying, counting – last longer. I want to be in the moment this season and I think doing this little project just might help it happen.

  • 56.
    Julia said…

    Okay, I’m going to get busy right away.

  • 57.
    Amy Cline said…

    Right on Jennifer :) .

  • 58.
    Lindsay said…

    I’m so pumped about this! I wanted to do it last year along with you, but didn’t. This morning I gathered up all my winter/Christmasy stuff & I can’t believe all the supplies I already have that I can work with! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 59.
    Tara said…

    Thanks for the inspiration, Ali! I am already looking forward to this year’s December Daily album :)
    To Jen from Texas and Jennifer W…I don’t have any children, but I always particpate in the projects/challenges that Ali shares on her blog (including last year’s December Daily album…fun, fun, fun!!!)…sometimes it means that I have to think creatively to come up with my own spin on certain topics/ideas, but (to me) that’s what creativity and art is all about :) My advice is to “go for it” and make the project your own…I’m sure you’ll have fun with it!!

  • 60.

    I wasn’t going to do this, but I think that I will! I have so much Christmas stuff to use! it’s just trying to find the right album to use and actually getting the photos printed later!
    LOVE IT!

  • 61.
    Amy said…

    I agree Jennifer Walker!! I used to think the same thing, that somehow I wasn’t worthy of scrapbook pages because I’m not married and don’t have kids, but I include my friends, people who visit, my neices and nephew, my dog!, my extended family, etc. And they all cherish the results! There’s something about documenting your life that makes it seem more valuable, or maybe just forces you to see how valuable it really is, regardless of whom you share it with! :)

  • 62.
    Ramie said…

    I love this idea, and want to do one of these…..but my hubby is deployed until late January, so we are moving Christmas til after he comes home. I think I might aim for 25 days til Daddy comes home…..or maybe the 1st 25days after he gets home…..maybe half and half!?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 63.
    Colleen said…

    Ali, I am so excited to do this project with you. I couldn’t participate in the week in the life, but I am all gung ho about this one! Mine will be longer than 25 days, as our Christmas extends to the new year when we visit the side of the family we couldn’t be with on the 25th. I think I might even treat myself to a D Reeves album (I’ve been drooling over them for months, since you posted your travel album)!
    You inspire me in oh so many ways Ali, I get excited each day I check my blog reader, to see what wonderful inspiration you’ll post for me to enjoy. :)
    Have a wonderful day and week!

  • 64.
    Cherie said…

    Thanks….I’m excited to get mine together!

  • 65.
    Jen said…

    Hi Ali!
    I loved this idea so much from last year, i’ve actually already started my December Daily album on the weekend. =) I’ve got the basic album completed, just have to add the little details!
    Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  • 66.
    wendee said…

    Thank you Ali for this wonderful idea. It has been a year of changes for our family & this will be a great way to record new traditions & focus on the joy of each day. I can’t wait to get started :)

  • 67.
    Emily said…

    I can’t wait to work thru this project with you as well. Thanks for always being so inspiring. Take care, EM

  • 68.
    Gayle said…

    Hey Ali ~ thanks for the inspiration! I’m going to be doing an album using one of the new KI 2-up albums and your 25 days of december overlays that I already purchased at DD (album coming any day now!). I’ll print your “days” out ahead of time and journal as the month goes. VERY excited!
    BTW – my Gratitudes journal came out GREAT! Keep up the great products at DD!

  • 69.
    Elizabeth said…

    Thanks again Ali. I just finished my “week in a life”, album. so very happy with it. Now my mind is already spinning with ideas for your 25 Days till Christmas. Love this idea…I’m going to get right on it with gathering all my supplies and creating. Thank you again.

  • 70.
    Jen Demmon said…

    Ali – thanks for getting me excited for this project again. I did this (sort of) last year. I didn’t exactly get everyday documented but the eventful days of December were recorded. What I also do right after Christmas is create simple pages using all the photo christmas cards we received. I used the 8&8 format so most cards fit on the page. I just hate throwing away the picture cards at the end of the season. I’ve done this for the last two years and I enjoy going back and looking at the photo cards we received. I just put the photo card down and add a couple embelishments that “go with” the card. Super easy!
    Thank you again for all the inspiration! In the Life in Week class (took in CKU Anaheim) I loved that the “collage” pages and now do that with all my vacation books or sets of pages. I think it is great to keep all the extra stuff. It is fun to look at later – my husband has even gotten in on the act and when the boys did a trip he came home with “stuff” – gotta love it.
    thanks again for everything,

  • 71.
    Natalie said…

    Hi Ali:
    I really enjoy reading your blog! One simple question…
    Could you please put a link or let all of us know where you get all your transparency papers from? I adore your books because of them and I would really like to add them to my own albums. I love the clear look with design added. You are amazing! Thanks!

  • 72.
    Gina said…

    I waiting for the pull-time-for-projects-out-from-behind-your-ears-project. Until then I’ll just *swoon*. Lovely as always.

  • 73.
    Gina said…

    I waiting for the pull-time-for-projects-out-from-behind-your-ears-project. Until then I’ll just *swoon*. Lovely as always.

  • 74.
    Monique said…

    I never, okay almost NEVER make mini albums.. I just never know what to do with them.. well, you have completely inspired me.. I am going to make on this year.. I will pre-make it so all I have to do is add photos.. should be an interesting & very challenging project..
    wish me luck..
    thanks for the inspiration.. :) Monique

  • 75.
    Myra B said…

    Okay, I’m going to attempt this album with you. I missed a week in the life because I had already started a snapshot of me (becky’a album), which I am almost done with. This will be fun because this will be my son’s first Xmas and my daughter’s 2nd.

  • 76.
    Colleen said…

    Me again :)
    I shared this with my digi-girlfriends over at Sweet Shoppe Designs:
    Any chance you might make up some templates for those “all digi” ladies out there? I’m super excited that I’ve spread the inspiration around and I can’t wait to get started with everyone! :)

  • 77.
    rachel carlson said…

    just the push i needed…thanks ali!

  • 78.
    Jill said…

    Ali – many thanks for including the link to Janet’s blog. It was just what a needed to read to learn how to turn an old book into a binder album – she even had a link for purchasing the binder mechanism! You helped me end my “how-to” search and get on the path to creating! Love that – thanks!

  • 79.
    Dawna said…

    This is a very neat idea. It seems very do-able. I like the you broke it all down step-by -step.
    Thank you for such great ideas!

  • 80.
    Erin said…

    Thanks Ali… not only for the inspiration, but especially for that story you had the link for. The last paragraph caught me totally off-guard and I burst into tears. What a treat it is to get that emotion out of myself at a moments notice :) It was a feel-good moment indeed. I’m looking forward to seeing you this weekend at Come Play Eugene. Take care, Erin

  • 81.
    Odetta Donners said…

    Love your albums again & again! I have got all your books, because they are very inspiring.

  • 82.
    Wendy Kwok said…

    I love this idea… maybe this year.. I will do it!

  • 83.
    dr berry said…

    FIRED UP!!!!! LOVE the story- must share it with others. I believe this may be one of my new Christmas traditions.
    Also fired up because your new book has been shipped to me. YEAH ME**
    Thanks for sharing.

  • 84.
    Melissa said…

    Ali, I stumbled across that music paper and it looks like Making Memories.
    Thanks – as always! :-)

  • 85.
    Annette said…

    You’ve done it again!!!!!!!! Beautiful as always. Your style just inspires me everytime thanks for sharing. I’m getting to work on mine this weekend.

  • 86.
    Karen said…

    Oh, I love the inspiration! I guess this means I’m going to have to go back to the store and buy that X-mas album I talked myself out of since now I have a reason to buy it. Of course, I must finish my Week in the Life album first. Almost done!

  • 87.
    Terri Porter said…

    Ali, how did you cut the Clear Scraps Deco Acrylic page? Thanks so much for sharing this project. Can’t wait to get started on it!

  • 88.
    Holly A. Moss said…

    What a fabulous project! You are so creative – thank you so much for sharing this amazing album and also the links to he tools & supplies you used.
    I may have to start one of these albums myself and make it a yearly holiday tradition.
    Thanks again!

  • 89.
    corriebear said…

    Ali, I noticed the style file is no longer available, but there are acrylic mini albums here that can also be customized:

  • 90.
    kristi said…

    thanks for the inspiration..this is exactly what i need to do!! :)

  • 91.
    moline said…

    Oh Ali you are the best! This is so inspiring. I was also reading the story and tears were running down my cheeks.
    We experienced a mutual understanding last year in december, my husband and me. he called me from the office to tell me he just donated a nice sum to an institution who help needy families during their last days whith their chld. it is a house where they can go and spend the last days when their children are dying. At the same time I was donating money to an instutution that cared for the poor elderly in our town. That was the best Christmas gift we could give each other!
    I also love the idea with the envelope and I will spread that story so people might follow!
    And this year I will make such a wonderful Christmas album. you are a huge inspiration and I love your style. it was you and cathy Zielske who evoked my love for scrapbooking. keep up the good work and all the best for your loved ones and loved ones to be!

  • 92.
    Meka said…

    I just went back and read this whole post. I originally thought December Daily was a tad bit over zealous. Now I understand that the idea is to get the foundation done before December so that when the time comes around, all you have to do is write and snap. I’m working on a November album right now called “Thankful 30.” But if I get done in time, I’ll definitely do a December Daily. Thanks for so much information and inspiration!

  • 93.
    Cath said…

    Just wanted to say that, aside from all your great scrapbooking stuff, you often make me stop & look at my life & try to be a better parent & person. The story of the envelope on the Christmas tree was really touching. Thanks :) xx

  • 94.
    Scrappincheryl said…

    Ali – thanks so much for sharing this project – I can’t wait to get mine started! I loved the story of the white envelope and posted it on my site as well. Now THAT is the true spirit of Christmas!
    I am adding Christmas music to the iPod this week – I can’t get enough of it! It just makes me HAPPY!

  • 95.
    KellyCali said…

    Dear Ali E,
    I am very interested to learn & hear more about your holiday frames that you have displayed throughout your home…Do you replace the pictures, keeping the same frame? Or do you literally switch out the frames entirely each holiday? Lastly, if I might inquire, how did you adhere your 25 Days of Christmas Countdown Boxes to the wall?
    Thanks & Much Admiration!
    ~Kelly in CA

  • 96.
    Heidi said…

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks for such a wonderful idea.. I am going to get started today on my 25 days album!..
    I have never really recorded what I get up too over Christmas and I am finding it difficult to remember each year now?…
    Sometimes I just get so busy and forget to breath and enjoy.

  • 97.
    Rickey said…

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures!!

  • 98.
    Christina said…

    I have never done a ‘mini-book’ before but I really want to do this one. With my daughter being 2 this Christmas, I think it will be fun to document EVERYTHING!

  • 99.
    jessica said…

    I just finished my December daily album and I love it (of course, I ended up making it as a gift…so now I need to make one for myself!)

  • 100.
    Diane said…

    My daughter is expecting a child at the end of December. I think this would be an excellant way for her to document the last month before baby!

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