December Daily™ 2013 | Day Four


Welcome to December Daily™ 2013 | Day Four.

Over on the December Daily™ 2013 Message Board at Studio Calico yesterday there was an interesting post about the pressure for perfection related to this project. The question was asked by Julie Campbell: "Do any of you feel pressured to just document the most perfect/beautiful moments of the season?"

My response was this:

I vote for real.

Whatever that is for you right now because it could be totally different today, tomorrow, next week, next year.

Real is a mix of everything - stuff so insanely beautiful you feel like you will burst and stuff so heartbreaking that you feel like you can't go on. And it's the mess when you get all the Christmas stuff out while you are decorating and it's the magical tree afterwards.

I want the mix of it all. Today for Day Four I'm going to journal about where I find beauty and it will include beauty in the broken places/pieces.

Here's a look at my Day Four:


I like the idea of posing questions to ourselves as we journey through projects like this to get us thinking about what's really important. The question that came to me the other night was, "what is beautiful?"


Aaron joined us on Tuesday night when we were decorating the tree. As I watched him interacting with the kids and stringing lights and setting up Christmas tunes and responding to the many questions and "Hey Aaron, look at this" from the kids I was thinking about the beauty of the reality of our (the collective "our") lives right now.

Beauty isn't about the perfect tree, the perfect family photo, the perfect December Daily album or keeping up with your neighbor online or in your hometown.


Right now for me what is beautiful is remembering again and again that people make it through things. They our lives are fluid. That what is here right now, as it is, is beautiful even if it doesn't fit some preconceived notion in our heads of what it's supposed to be.

Silly dancing in the mess of the Christmas ornament boxes and other decorations is beautiful.

Dragging the kids out to get more lights because I forgot that our tree isn't pre-lit isn't really beautiful, but the resulting twinkle on the tree was pretty darn awesome. It was another reminder to myself to slow down and remember what's most important.

The process of capturing stories throughout the month exists to enhance my joy.


A couple things of note for Day Four (all products were from the Studio Calico kit with the exception of my 3x4 journal card):

  1. I added the super thin gold strip washi around the two photos as a border.

  2. Letter stickers on a pattern transparent overlay spell out my title.

  3. I printed these two, 3x4 photos on one 4x6 piece of photo paper. Here's a tutorial for that process if you are interested in learning more.

  4. If you purchased the December Daily™ kit from Studio Calico it included printables (one of the labels I used here was a printable and the other was from the label sticker sheet). Log on to your account and click under your name to access your Digital Files.

Here's to embracing a little more beauty this holiday season.

NOTE: I work on one story each day. That story might have happened yesterday vs. today. It doesn't matter. It's all part of the bigger December story I'm experiencing right now. Sometimes stories don't really evolve until a few days later.


Click on the images to link to the products.



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45 thoughts

  1. Lida

    2013-12-05 09:31:07 -0500

    Thanks for putting things in perspective. Yes, I got caught up in the idea of "perfect". I need to enjoy this process. So enjoying your December daily and inspirations.

  2. michelle

    2013-12-05 09:56:39 -0500

    I love what you wrote. Keeping it real in my album is very important. One of my favorite family photos is perfection from 4 and then the little one shoeless, throwing a fit, in his jammies. It's so perfect for the time of our lives right now. ;)

  3. TracyJ

    2013-12-05 10:04:09 -0500

    Ali, WOW! I just love your thought provoking views. They make me see things in a different way. I often try to have just the "right" picture or story and when I don't I get stuck. I like the stories you see and want to improve in that are as well. So to you I say "Thank You!"
    Merry Christmas~

  4. Debbie

    2013-12-05 10:11:26 -0500

    Thank you for the insightful read this morning. I was reluctant to go to bed last night because of the Christmas decorations strung from here to there last night. My husband said, "let's go to bed". He went on upstairs. I was tiddying up. My cell phone began to ring and it was my hubs from upstairs, "really, please come to bed" So I did. He reminded me that the mess will still be there tomorrow. Guess the decoration will be finished tonight. Love that he reminds me to not stress on the perfect of completeing the project when everyone else is in bed. Our daughter will be trilled too. The decorating continues tonight!

  5. Mary Sara P.

    2013-12-05 10:19:36 -0500

    Ali, thank you for reminding us to look into the beauty of every day and our own lives. Just because things aren't "perfect" doesn't mean that they aren't "perfect" for right now. Great inspiration today and some thought provoking. Have a beatuify day.

  6. cindy b.

    2013-12-05 10:32:47 -0500

    I ALWAYS vote for real life.. no matter how ugly it might be. Perfect is over rated. My sister passed away on Christmas Day 15 years ago and as you might imagine, feeling joy during this time is beyond difficult. I have learned that it is extremely important for my well being during this season that I ABSOLUTELY must slow down and just ride the roller coaster of emotions.. all the waves of grief and tiny waves of happiness. I am not worrying ONE teeny tiny bit about what goes in my album because whatever it is... it's real and it's my life captured....

  7. CindyP

    2013-12-05 11:27:18 -0500


    I love this post. Best post I've read in 7 years of reading your blog. Just beautiful.Amazing. and real.

  8. Leanne in CA

    2013-12-05 11:31:04 -0500

    Love your ideas for using products in the kit. As always, thanks so much for sharing!! We are behind on our decorating and I'm not stressing, it will get done. Thanks for reminding us of what is important.

  9. stacyk

    2013-12-05 11:34:41 -0500

    Thank you for this beautiful, honest and reflective post.

  10. Patti L

    2013-12-05 11:37:58 -0500

    Beautiful words. As always.

  11. Carla

    2013-12-05 12:41:22 -0500

    Oh Ali, thanks for this post! Love it! It brought tears! I needed to be reminded of what's important, and that the "everyday" is good to document too. My fave paragraph is the one with what beauty isn't... It isn't the perfect tree, it isn't the perfect family photo, and it isn't a perfect December Daily album.

    Sometimes I try too hard to make something happen to document that day, or annoy my family trying to take "just one more" photo till I get that perfect one.

    My kids are 15, 12 and 4 and I want them to see and remember how much fun December can be, not that I'm always stressing over my DD album! Here's to calming down and just LIVING DECEMBER!

  12. Cynthia H

    2013-12-05 13:16:52 -0500

    oh Ali, thank you so so much. In previous years, I have watched my December Daily album morph over the course of the month from one story per day to must.document.everything.that.happened today. This year, I have been trying to be more mindful of that pattern and just put in the stories that stand out - whether they're from yesterday or today or a carryover from the day before. But I've been feeling like it's already day 5 and I don't have anything "holiday" yet! What do I do about that??? But I love your idea to look for the beauty in this time of year, even in the tasks that aren't Christmas-y. That does embrace the season, even if it's not covered in tinsel or red and green. So thank you.

  13. Kathryn Benfiet

    2013-12-05 13:28:12 -0500

    This post and your journaling brought me to tears. I have long been an advocate for truth and documenting the real. I was reading a daily devotional and one of the phrases was "embrace the magnificance of everyday" and that touched my heart. Seeing the picture of your kids and Aaron "silly dancing" made me smile...any man who will silly dance is a keeper in my book. Life is too short and should be full of as many silly moments as possible. Thanks for keeping it real.

  14. Erinaaaa

    2013-12-05 13:42:20 -0500

    What you said was truly beautiful!

  15. Tracy

    2013-12-05 14:00:37 -0500

    So it!

  16. Pamela B.

    2013-12-05 14:30:27 -0500

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  17. Tricia

    2013-12-05 14:44:07 -0500

    I don't usually comment on your blog Ali, but I do follow regularly. I love your memory keeping style and most importantly on this post I love your outlook on life. I have always tried to remain true to myself and my family and not become consumed with keeping up with the Jones'. It saddens me when I see others more concerned with what the neighbors think and general appearance of their family, especially when inside the house the family is broken. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of just being us and living life, no matter its appearance to others.

  18. Aby

    2013-12-05 15:06:16 -0500

    Love this, Ali. Thanks for the important reminder.

  19. susan garner

    2013-12-05 17:06:29 -0500

    I feel so silly but I didn't know I had digital files with the December kit from Studio calico. I just found them. Thank you so much for telling me.

  20. Colleen

    2013-12-05 21:41:35 -0500

    Beautifully written, Ali, and just what I needed to hear. Felt like I was almost cheating with my DD because I'm going for super simple this year, but I'm focusing more on the stories than I ever have in years past.

  21. Stacy

    2013-12-06 01:32:50 -0500


  22. Nicole

    2013-12-06 01:37:45 -0500

    Thank you for the great reminder. I've focused more on the words and stories than I ever have before. Really enjoying the shift.

  23. Jo-Anne from ZA

    2013-12-06 04:14:57 -0500

    Wow Ali you are just such a SPECIAL, REAL AND DOWN TO EARTH LADY!!

    You truly know how to INSPIRE and bring out the best in people.


  24. cinback

    2013-12-06 10:29:38 -0500

    Love your statement...

    The process of capturing stories throughout the month exists to enhance my joy.

    Made me think.

  25. Geralyn

    2013-12-06 21:12:33 -0500

    I love this Ali. Such a great reminder to keep things in perspective. Have you heard of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi? Your post reminded me of it, in finding beauty in the moment.

    (If you're interested, there was an article in Kinfolk about it:

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