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 8x8 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.

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107 thoughts

  1. Colleen says…

    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! :)

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  2. rachel carlson says…

    just the push i needed...thanks ali!

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  3. Jill says…

    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!

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  4. Dawna says…

    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!

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  5. Erin says…

    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

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  6. Odetta Donners says…

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

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  7. Wendy Kwok says…

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

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  8. dr berry says…

    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.

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  9. Melissa says…

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

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  10. Annette says…

    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.

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  11. Karen says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Terri Porter says…

    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!

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  13. Holly A. Moss says…

    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!

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  14. corriebear says…

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

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  15. kristi says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. moline says…

    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!

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  17. Meka says…

    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!

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  18. Cath says…

    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

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  19. Scrappincheryl says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. KellyCali says…

    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

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  21. Heidi says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Rickey says…

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Christina says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. jessica says…

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

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  25. Diane says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies

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