December Daily 2010 | Finding Time, Making Time, Trading Time

AE December Daily 2009

QUESTION FROM DEBORAH | I have been following along each day with your preparations for this year's December Daily. I am so excited to begin even though I haven't had a spare moment to throw my album together yet. And that, is what concerns me. I know that you are super busy, that all your fellow December Daily doers are super busy. But, this project is important, and it really isn't a matter of finding time -- because that extra 25th hour just doesn't exist. I think it really is about trading time -- doing December Daily pages instead of doing...? And so, I was wondering if you'd consider asking your readers what they find themselves giving up/letting go of/setting aside in order to have the time to take part in this project. It would be so helpful to get some perspective about how other maxed-out moms reorganize their priorities during this time of year. I've already cut down on the workouts, set up the Tivo, closed-off all non-essential bathrooms, dug out the slow cooker…I am in need of some ideas to gain some scrapping time.

AE | I'm looking forward to reading the suggestions and thoughts in the comments today. In the past I've done a variety of different things - worked on my pages in the evening, in the morning and in the afternoon - whenever I could find/make/trade time. Sometimes I put my page together as soon as I come across the story I want to tell - such as something that happens at breakfast. I snap a couple photos, upload, print, add journaling, and get it in my book as soon as I have a chance. Some years I've been more artsy so it's taken longer. This year, I'm really going for simple. In all the years I've done this project I almost always focus on telling just one story per day - I don't attempt to document everything minute by minute for this project. I pick one, tell it with words + photo(s) and stick it down. Then I go about life until I choose a story on the following day.

I'd love to read your thoughts on this today. What do you find yourself giving up/letting go of/setting aside in order to take part in this project?

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155 thoughts

  1. pidge says…

    I did a "Novemeber Daily" album this year (two more days to go!) And I made sure that all the pages had similar concepts -- they are large tags (so they were all the same size & pre-hole-punched) and I used a journal block stamp set. This hleped tremendously. Although some days I wanted more room -- so I had to be very specific. I also made sure that if the page was taking too long, I just put SOMETHING on the page. Now that I'm looking back, I don't even remember which days I "fudged" on! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Sarah says…

    This is my third year of DD. Every year is different and my process is simpler this year than last. We are using Ali's digital downloads and paperclipping them onto an Advent tree. We'll take one off every day, write a brief xmas activity and I'll take a pic. I open up a word doc on my computer and leave it open- saving often of course. I tell the stories that go along with our activities there. Then as I have time, I print the pic, print the journaling and attach the DD card. The important part isn't that you get the album itself done immediately, the important part is documenting what is happening in some way.

    When my husband and I looked at my DD from last year, we both laughed, cried, and couldn't believe we didn't remember all those little things. For goodness sakes! I scrapped it and I didn't remember! :)

    I also made DD's last year for my BF, Mom and godmother. Each one is truly a priceless snapshot of our lives. It is my favorite holiday of the year, so whatever I have to do to document, I will.

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  3. Charity says…

    This is my first time doing December Daily. I'm sure it work like many of my other projects, everything is done during nap time or after the kids go to bed. My husband is currently on a midnight shift so when they go to bed it is my time to unwind. I usually lose some sleep because of it, but it's worth it.

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  4. Nicky from Canada says…

    I Love this project and I find the best time for me is early morning before anyone else is up - up at 5:30 - workout, shower, coffee - then work on this until getting the boy up at 6:50 to get ready for the bus. If I don't get it all finished in the morning work on it when I am home at night - after supper is done.
    If I am waiting for pictures (this year I have a photo printer which will help - I would prepare my journalling and order my pictures in the am) - work around your schedule and make it work - doesn't have to take a lot of time!!
    I also found on the weekends I would review what I have done and add any other items that I may think would work.
    Love this project and very excited to do it again!!

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  5. Allie says…

    Wow, this is such a good question.

    This will be my fourth year with December Daily and every year I say that I am not going to do it again. That only lasts until I pull out the completed albums and see how many awesome stories I have captured that would have been lost otherwise. Then I'm hooked all over again.
    In the past, I've always made my album in advance and tried to keep up with the layouts day by day like Ali does. However, I work full-time outside of the home so I only have evenings/weekends to work on the album and so many of our evenings/weekends are accounted for during the month of December. Getting behind stressed me out a bit so I'd end up staying up till the wee hours just to get it done.
    So this time I'm going to try something new. I am going to commit to taking photos and journaling daily throughout the month (daily journaling is so important to capture the spirit). If I have the time, I will download my photos and edit them for printing in the evening. That is it. In the week between Christmas and New Years when the pace slows a little, I will compile the rest of the album. I have the foundation album ready and I've kept it super simple.

    I tried this approach last spring while on a family trip and it worked wonderfully. The key was the daily journaling. All else will fall into place if the story is captured.

    I'll let you know how I make out with this approach. Good luck everyone!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Ali says…

      Make it work for you - so cool Allie. I can't wait to read how the different process works for you this year!

    2. Liberty says…

      Pleasing you should think of somtheing like that

  6. Tina says…

    In 2008 I put the whole beautiful book together, printed images daily and did nothing with it. Last fall I bought all of the papers and planned it all and did nothing with it. This year I have found my 2008 book, with my images and plan to put it all together in the next couple of days (as I prepare to decorate my house) and then put the 2010 together based on how I used my 2008 book.
    For me it isn't a matter of giving up anything, it's a choice to create a keepsake that my boys (14, 11, 9, 5) will be able to look at year after year, They don't care if I use last year's materials or if a photo is on the wrong page or whether or not I have done something everyday. They care that they can look back and smile at what our holidays and the chaos and joy surrounding them are. I plan to jot a few key words here and there and fill in the blanks as time permits, Sunday afternoons, the first few minutes all of them are at school, waiting for band pick up...that kind of thing.

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  7. SusanB says…

    This will be my third December Daily album and I've approached it the same way every year: I just put the cover together and select/trim papers for the inside. I don't number the pages; I like the flexibility of selecting whatever paper suits my mood or the topic each day. I set aside a small box with embellishments and then add the numbers and other elements as I do each page. I also don't stress if I can't get it all done before the 25th. I just jot down a few details for each day and, as someone else mentioned, I print my photos out in batches. Last year I finished the album in early January after my children went back to school. It was a nice way to wrap up the holiday season and I don't think any less of my album (or myself!) for not finishing it "on time" ~ I'm just happy that I finished it. At this time of the year, I definitely just go with the flow!

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  8. Camila borssoi says…

    I decide to do my december daily with my scrapper friends, so its the time that we stay together and we can do scrapbook in the middle of christmas rush. We meet once a week during 3hours and scrap all the week in our mini album. Its our time to keep our memories.

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  9. Rosann Santos-Elliott says…

    I give up chores. I have no desire to clean up or organize the toys over doing my scrapping. Some people just can't start the day without making the bed to doing the dishes or finishing some other taxing chore. You're just gonna mess up the bed later anyway and you can always order pizza.

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  10. sherry says…

    I rarely get my Christmas album completely done. so when I considered doing a DD this year I decided to do it in a full
    12 x 12 album. I also decided I was not purchasing any new papers since I have plenty left from the last few years.I made 33 pages because im sure Christmas eve and Christmas day will have lots of photos.I intially numbered the first 2 pages and then decided Id better not number anymore, this way a page is not committed to a certain day or event and I can move them around in the album. Im a person of habit and traditions around the holidays so I know some of the topics that will definitely be covered. So I made a list of those things, such as

    Breakfast with Santa
    Photo cards
    Our decorations
    Christmas Lists
    trimming the tree
    our advent calendar
    Favorite christmas movies watched at home
    Favorite Christmas music
    New movies released in the theatres
    Aday spent at Disney
    My sons Birthday
    My Nephews Birthday
    Christmas eve at one set of grandparents
    Christmas Day at the other Grandparents
    Favorite Milkshakes from Chick fil a and Steak and Shake only served during Christmas
    Searching for snow (we live in Orlando)
    Lunch with friends
    School events such as Winter concerts
    This year we need a new tree ( real or fake, we are still discussing it :) )
    Homemade Hot chocolate and Homemade Marshmellows
    Hoping for a chilly day, frost on our windshield
    Favorite scents
    and some others that are more personal

    but in any case my list has more than 30 items listed on it, some we do every year, some that are plans that are new, some topics wont be used and somethings will be spontaeous, But most of the pages are versatile and will work with most topics.
    Having already completed the base work of the pages and having a list of topics already lined up, I feel like Im reaady and will be successful. I am keeping a notebook in my purse to jot down some journaling since my memory is not the best and I will likely print my photos on a weekly basis. On those days where I have to use several photos I will print them in 3 x 4.
    I hope everyone one is successful with their DD and have a wonderful holiday

    Sherry C

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  11. Cherie says…

    I think the key is getting the foundation done prior to December if you are doing a traditional scrapbook. Last year I didn't get mine done before December started and ended up going digital. ( I put my collages together and uploaded to make a book. I love the way it turned out. I am currently working on getting all my foundation pages done to do an actual minibook this time.

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  12. Maritza says…

    i think it you want to, you make the time. keep it simple. one page per day, one picture, journaling. stick an envelope for the extras. some days i am very motivated and some days not so much. I have found myself going back and adding stuff but it's ok if i don't. good luck and have fun.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Alla says…

    What a great question, and one I've struggled to answer for myself over the years in trying to achieve a balance to my life.

    I have always admired the December Daily project - Ali's inspiring creations, but also others views on the project, and I think it's a fabulous way to document the season. I too (as other viewers have mentioned) been overwhelmed by the seemingly high standards and perfect compilation of all you out there with free hours to be able to spend each day on your albums (that's how it goes, right?).

    But this year my daughter will be 14 months old in December, and in thinking about what traditions I want to start with our 'new' little family, and how traditions will change and evolve as we have more kids and as the kids get older, I decided that the DD will definitely be an important part of our season. I especially love that while others may be included in our DD, it is something for our immediate family, the three of us, while so much of our Christmas Day is spent with both sides of our wider family.

    I have kept my design simple, and am planning on writing daily journaling so I can collaborate during the week if I don't get to document in my album that day. I am also trying to let go and be open to all sorts of documentation - even printing out an email that I send or receive if the sentiment is right.

    Being a stay at home mum of a young child I still have the benefits of naps (she sleeps for about a 3 hour block late in the morning), however these often get taken up with chores and other mundane 'to-dos'. Every week I set aside Mondays. During her nap on Monday is Mummy-time. I allow myself to do whatever I want during her naps - read, research things online, scrapbook, hang out in the yard etc. and not feel guilty about what I *should* be doing instead. So most of my DD prep has been done then, but like others I have also sacrificed the TV watching in the evenings.

    Over the last month we have started eating dinner together at the same time (a HUGE change in our schedule). Hubby tries very hard to be home slightly early and I have stretched my daughter's dinner time to 6:00. It's lovely to spend time together at the table as a family, and I LOVE that by 7:00 the baby's in bed and the kitchen is done, rather than starting to cook dinner at 7.

    Ali - thank you for inspiring us to start our own December Daily. Not only do I benefit from being in the moment, stopping and reflecting on the now, and celebrating life's greatest gifts, but I hope my daughter will appreciate and learn this as part of her own personal Christmas traditions, and look back with fond memories on our family traditions.

    Wishing everyone a happy Christmas - and I can't wait to see some finished December Dailys in the new year :o)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Alla says…

      I also like what someone above said about getting your family involved - including the kids'/hubby's perspective. After-all, it's their memories too. I got hubby to write some stuff at the end of each trimester for my pregnancy journal, and it really rounds out the journal. After-all, he didn't grow the baby, but he was an important part, and involved in the journey ;o)

  14. Brittany says…

    I can always count on the day or two after Christmas as my "me" days - when I want to sift through my photographs and catch up on my album. I learned last year that this is when I get a bulk of my album done, and I'm okay with that.

    I've just learned to blog my most important pictures and thoughts on a daily basis, that way pulling content and selecting photos is brainless. :)

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  15. Cindy Coven says…

    Reading all of these I realize that it's more about replacing than giving up. My biggest hint is get over trying to block an hour or even 30 minutes. I steal 15 minutes while I'm cooking lunch or doing laundry. i also discovered that getting up a little early, again 15 minutes or 20 minutes, I can get alot done. i preplan my pages by looking at one photo or group of photos and writing down ideas. Hope it helps. It is a busy and wonderful time. It's not about perfection, it's about memories.

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  16. Amy Brock says…

    I am the mother of four, including a one year old, my husband is a Major in the Army and is deployed to Sharana, Afghanistan, and I have a very active role in our command group here at Ft. Campbell. I've found that finding time to do ANYTHING recently is difficult! I've committed to completing this DD project and have found that keeping my materials out on a card table where I can actively get my hands on it has helped to KEEP the ball rolling.

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  17. Mary says…

    I've so loved all the comments today. This isn't going to just be my first December Daily, it's going to be my first scrapbook! I'll be 28 next month and just felt so inspired by Ali to try something new for my birthday month and the holiday. And while I don't have children yet, I do have a very demanding job and more often than not I get home late (8 PM tonight for instance).
    I often feel guilt about not being able to fit more in because I don't have kids, and these posts have been such a great reminder that no one can do everything and we all have to "make it work." Recently I've been trying to apply the "eat when you are hungry" philosophy to my time. That is, if I feel like card making (my gateway to this hobby), I'll do it. And if I don't, I won't that night. Also, I'm a notorious perfectionist, but I'm already feeling with my dec daily foundation that I'm following Ali's lead (and that of others who commented) and just letting some things--like perfectly straight and lined up letter stickers--GO. Thanks everyone, I'm really happy to have discovered this project.

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  18. Daniele says…

    I don't think this should be a question of what are we giving up, as much as it is a desire to create a treasure of memories for years to come. Sorry to sound dramatic but my mother passed a few years back and one of the most profound things she said during her final days was how she finds peace in replaying the many wonderful memories in her mind. On a lighter note, one of my kids favorite things to do is to look back on old photo albums and videos of themselves and us parents. It always puts a smile on our faces. So...not giving up, I'm making treasure books. Thanks for the DD concept Ali, I love it so much I've made one for next year already!

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  19. Chrissy says…

    I might be making this harder on myself because I'm kind of merging the feel of "week in the life" and "december daily". I've got a really good base going and my hubby is helping me out when it comes to finding the time to work on this project. This is my first year and I'm really excited about attempting the project. I really wanted to make sure I did it this year because I'm 8 months pregnant and I have a two year old, so my life is gonna change a lot and soon ~ so I wanted to document our lives before the new baby boy arrives!

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  20. jackie says…

    i have found that having supplies ready really helps. get your christmas papers and stickers ready. organization helps too. i have four daughters at home and we are constantly busy, but, december daily really helps put the holidays in perspective. it really is the little things that count. taking a picture at any moment in the day of whatever you like. ali does not pressure us about december daily...she inspires us to savor every day in december, and for that i am truly grateful.

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  21. Debbie says…

    That is exactly what I have to do..."trade time"! Usually it is sleep time. I choose to either sleep in on Saturday or get up early and create. This is very hard for me because this is my only morning to even think about sleeping in a little. I try to go to bed a little early on Friday night which helps some, but some Saturday's the pillows win. My usual scrappin' time is on Monday nights after kitchen is cleaned and closed - while my husband watches wrestling (yuk!) If I'm lucky I will get to spend another 2-5 hours in my scrap room on the evening my husband works late (retail GM). Mind you, some of this time is organizing my work table from the project worked on previously or my most recent shopping trip. This schedule works well for me. I am more productive when I work alone, altho I really like to attend crops, I visit and talk too much to get much done. To the lady that posted about scrapping to timer...more power to you...I would be a basket case if I tried that! Thanks for all your inspiration Ali!

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  22. Crystal says…

    Going into my studio for an hour every evening(or as close as possible!) is one of the things I most enjoy about December! This is my third year doing the album and it's absolutely amazing how many things about the past 2 years I would have forgotten if I didn't have the album to look through. With the foundation ready, it really is a lovely do-able project that helps me to savour the season. And I am so, so thrilled that my grandchildren will have these bits of me someday. I would be thrilled if I had albums from my grandmothers! I give up computer time, do easy meals, and work better / faster on the have-to-do stuff when my reward is time creating. Please, please, please treat yourself to the gift of an album this month. You will be SO happy that you did it!

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  23. Brooke says…

    I've never had much success in this area but hubby's condition this year for my buying the paper's for this album was that "you will get it done".

    I've created a Publisher document to print out. Basically this will be my worksheet for my album as I don't print at home. I'll journal on this each day and draw out my layout. I intend on getting as much done each night as I can but I love having this extra space to journal my thoughts.

    I too will be making a bunch of simple dinners, blogging less and ditching my favourite tv shows. I'll also set my son up with some colouring in while I work and maybe even see if my parent's can babysit one day so I can stay on top of things.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Alida says…

    I simplify more each year. I love a traditionally scrapped album, but going digital last year saved me a lot of time and clutter (I'm not very organised). This year I'm going to try and use more (of Ali's) templates for my layouts, making it even quicker. I also love the simplicity of Molly Irwin and Katrina Kennedy's albums. It futher worked quite well for me to not get more than a day or so behind with layouts, so as to not feel overwhelmed. We also try and keep the season rather simple and plan outings beforehand, to avoid overscheduling.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Beke says…

      This is my first year doing a DD, and I am a single mum of a (almost) 2 years old. (b'day dec 12) :)

      I have been thinking about how I can plan the time to do my DD. I haven't got a printer (getting one for christmas, hopefully 'santa', aka mum and dad, will do that sooner) so in the meantime, i will most likely get my photo's printed every 3 days till I get my printer.

      Spending some time on my DD when my son has gone to bed, instead of blog hoping and facebooking will be a regular for me, and there is also the mid day nap that I can spent a little bit of time journaling etc.

      I think (like alot of you have said) following the simple (yet stylish) printout templates that Ali has created will help us keep on track a little with knowing what we have to work with and where we might want to put our photos and journaling on our pages.

      As a new fan of Ali ( the last month or so) have have come to realised that less is more. That you CAN create really lovely and impressive layouts and albums and not feeling overwhelmed with going overboard with all those great products that are available. That was one of the reasons why I was put off with scrapbooking over the years, cause I always felt that the only way pages could look great was doing what everyone else was doing and using heaps of product. Don't get me wrong I think they are really nice, but I just can't seem to manage it, and I am more of a photos and words kind of scrapper too.

      So thinking about what you would like to do on your DD page while doing everyday things like washing and house work etc could save some time when it comes to actually doing some at night.

      I think magazine and book reading will make way for my album too. I also like the idea of taking a small note pad around with you while you are out. Tomorrow (dec 1st) we go to playgroup (camera in hand) and writing down a few things will be great.

      once again, thank you Ali for such great everyday inspiration :)
      Happy holidays x

  25. Beke says…

    oops i didn't mean to post that as a reply to Alida's post. :P sorry xx

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