December Daily 2011 | 25 Ideas And Story Inspirations

The other day as I was browsing Pinterest and seeing some of my past year's December Daily pages popping up I started thinking about which ones were my favorites (either the concept or the execution of the idea). I went back through all my past albums and came up with 25 of my favorite ideas/concepts/things to keep in mind to share with you today. My hope is that this will inspire you as you begin to document your own December in 2011.

For me this is a one-story-per-day project.

I'm not trying to document everything we do during December and it's not all holiday-related. Just one little (or big) piece of the day gets recorded. You can bet that there's always going to be a page about visiting Santa and a letter to Santa and something about getting the tree and a day where I include photos from around the house. Intermixed between all those traditions are simple stories, photos, and bits of life during December.

If you'd like more information on this project please check out my December Daily project page.

Here's 25 ideas and inspirations for your December Daily album:

BIG NOTE | Click on any of the images to go to the original post for more information including how-to's and lots more details.


Yes, I mean YOU.

Most years I've taken a photo of Simon (and then Anna last year) writing his letter for Santa. But even if you're an adult without kids you can still write your own letter to Santa. I did it last year and it was fun. What do you want for Christmas?


Simplify this process for yourself. Don't get caught up in what you see "everyone" else doing - make it do-able and workable for you and your own personal situation.

Take a bit of time to think about what you really want this album to be and how much time you want to take during December. Do you want it to be crafty? Do you want it to be only-holiday stuff? Do you feel like you want to have a photo everyday or are just some words okay? Being realistic with yourself about the amount of time and energy you want to dedicate to this project will lead to a greater chance at completion, less stress, and more overall enjoyment.

My albums always end up being a combination based on how I'm feeling on a particular day. When I want things to be super simple just including a single photo works great. Almost all my albums include one day with a single image of a flower or plants.

When thinking about what to add on a particular day remember that it can be something as simple as a photo of an area of your home that you love.


Not everyday in December has something happening related to Christmas for us. Some days are just regular wake up/school/work days.

My December Daily albums have always been a mix of everyday life sort of stories and holiday merriment. Don't stress if you don't have something holiay-ish to document. Pick a story you care about on each day and tell it.

I've included stories about indoor soccer, going to the dentist, learning to share, etc. The everyday stuff is just as worthy as the big events.


December Daily is a great opportunity to include a photo of yourself. Figure out that self-timer, ask one of your kids to snap a shot, take some of yourself in the mirror, etc. You, as the storyteller, should get in on these stories too.


There's something about a group of photos all together that's just really lovely.

Most years I include some sort of collage of photos. Usually these collages are created in Photoshop using a layered template and sometimes they are created from 4x6 photos using a square punch.

I've got digital layered templates available at Designer Digitals to make creating a photo collage easy for you in sizes 6 x 8.5, 6 x 8, and 12 x 12. These photo collages can either be printed to use as a page or you could cut them up and add them to a page if you want more dimension. If you need help working with photo collages/layered templates (either digitally or for use on a hybrid page) I've got a video tutorial that I put together last year available here.

Don't be afraid to do this more than once in your album.


Use images from catalogs or grocery bags instead of pattern paper. Keep your eyes open as you go about your days in December. There's always cool marketing material that can added to your album.


One of my favorite traditions in my December Daily album is to write a letter to my kids. I started with Simon and then when Anna came along I wrote one to her too.

If you don't have kids consider writing a letter to yourself (or your spouse or some other special person in your life). Tuck it in an envelope or simply add it right onto the page. It's a great opportunity to reflect a bit back on the year you've just experienced. Consider including the things you're thankful for about the person or things you're most proud of about yourself over the last 12 months. Make it affirming, kind, and meaningful.


Normal life is still happening in December (this one is really pretty similar to No.3). What do your routines look like in December? Are they different than other times of the year? How do you mark this season? Are there daily things you do during December that become routine that maybe you don't do other times of the year (Advent calendars come to mind).


Some of my favorite pages from these albums are from days where I told longer, more complete stories. Give a closer glimpse into the things that are happening in your lives right now whether or not they are holiday-related. When you sit down at the end of the day to tell your story, which one feels most meaningful? Which one do you want to remember?


Sometimes it's really easy to stick with routine and tradition (and I love both routine and tradition).

And sometimes, especially around this time of year, there are really cool opportunities to make new traditions.

Make a plan NOW to do something different this holiday season. Add a new "something" - maybe it will be a one-time thing or maybe it will become a new beloved tradition. Make some magic happen for someone you love or for yourself.


This definitely goes along in the category of not making things more complicated. Save that grocery list and add it to your album.

Simple, quick, easy and it tells a great story about your life right now.


Take photos of your holiday collections and bring them together for the story of the day. I do this at least once, and sometimes twice, a year for this album. Sometimes I'll look around at my decorations and photograph a bunch of "like" things - like the wreaths I've hung. Other times it's a simple random collection of photos showing areas of house right now.

This theme often works great as a photo collage or on a day when you have divided page protectors already set in your album.


I do all my printing for December Daily at home. For the last few years I used a HP Photosmart B8550 - which was a great printer. This year I'm using an Epson Stylus Photo R2000 which I also really, really like. I'm currently printing on Epson Premium Photo Paper (Glossy) and have been happy with the prints. I'll be printing onto 8.5 x 11 and cutting my pages down to 6.5 x 8 to fit into the album I'm using this year.

PROFESSIONAL PRINTING OPTION | Persnickety Prints is offering printing for the 6 x 8.5 inch size as an option this holiday season. When selecting your printing size choose "Ali Edwards December Daily" from the list of choices.


Take your camera, use your phone, take a screen shot something you purchase online, etc. There are lots of story ideas related to shopping this time of year. It's also a great opportunity to write about what you might not be buying or how you're changing things up by scaling back, making gifts, etc. I think including stories about your outlook on the holidays is a great way to tell more about yourself and give context to the holiday hustle-and-bustle.


Cut out the weather from the newspaper, print from online, or take a photo from your camera.


Print an image from the internet showcasing what you or someone in your family are hoping for under the tree.

This page took me all of 10 minutes to locate, print, write a bit and then add to my album. On the days when you don't feel like taking a lot of time with this album it's so nice to have a couple ideas that are quick and easy (and are cool in the context of all 25 days).


I know many of you use Pinterest to collect visual inspiration for the holidays. Gather up some of those images or just print a screenshot and add that to your album.


I like to pick one kind of wrapping paper to use each year on all the gifts. Add it in just like you would pattern paper.


The image on the top is one of my favorites from all the albums. It opens up and folds out to include a bunch of images and a bunch of journaling from tree decorating. I liked that I didn't need to add more pages and was able to keep it within the 2-page spread for the day. Book-binding or gaffer tape comes in really handy for this technique (add it right along the seam under the photos to keep the pages together). Click on the photos to read more details.

No. 20 | JOY IS

Use "Joy is" as a prompt for your journaling for a day. There doesn't always have to be a specific story.

This is a great journaling technique to capture your feelings and favorite facts from this time of year.


Use that T (text) tool in Photoshop to add your story right onto your photo before printing. When taking photos or cropping your photos intentionally think about where you could add some text right onto the photo.


No complaining. Just write.

It's also fun to look for opportunities to include things your kids write or maybe a handwritten letter you receive from someone you love (or that was funny, etc). Remember that you can always cut things up to make them fit.


Similar to the "Joy Is" prompt, it's a great way to get you focused on what's happening for you and your family this holiday season. What are each of you loving? Simple things, big things, etc. Really use this as an opportunity to honor and celebrate all the things that are good (even in the middle of challenges, transitions, frustration, family drama, etc).


I've used my iphone, my big camera, photobooths and my Instax Mini in these albums. I really love having the combination of big full page photos mixed in with these smaller shots from the instant camera. I'll likely include some Instagram images this year too.


Last year was the first year in quite awhile that I sent out cards. If this is a tradition for you, definitely considering setting one aside to use as a day in your album.

MERRY! MERRY! I hope this is a helpful jumpstart as you being thinking about things you might want to include in your album. While I was putting together this list I also saw another list over at Two Peas that includes lots of great documenting ideas for December.

To be honest I don't do a lot of advance thinking about wanting to make sure I capture this or that. I really like to just let it evolve and go by what I'm most inspired to document on a particular day. On the days when I 'm not feeling particularly inspired it's definitely nice to have some ideas to fall back on - especially the one's that are simple, quick and easy.

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139 thoughts

  1. Queen Mary says…

    Ali, these are lovely. Thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Steph says…

    Ali - this was such an inspiring post to see for today! And, with last year being my first DD, it was neat to see pages of yours from years gone by.

    I am proud to say that last year's album is completed (albeit a bit later than December 31st!).

    I was much more organized this year...purchased all of my overlays and goodies as soon as they were available and ordered my DD kit from Studio Calico (love it by the way!).

    I have all my pages printed and just need to finish decorating my album. I plan on Modge-podging onto it, a bunch of B&W pics of the kids I printed onto thin artsy paper...that will be this weekend and I am ready!

    Thanks also for the printing info...

    It was what I needed to hear today...that gentle reminder to just let the stories unfold. The first post you did a while back about 2011 DD prep...I admit I was already thinking a bit too much and trying to think of what I may have "missed" in last year's album. But really, what did I miss?! Not a thing. With 4 young children, traditional scrapbooking is something I don't have as much time for as I would like. DD was the first memory I preserved about my twins who had been born a whopping 10 months earlier...that I am not proud of. But, I look at that a bit differently now.

    I have 31 stories told that wouldn't have been had it not been for taking the plunge and doing my first DD. Thank you so much for that. You are such an inspiration to just get the story told...

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  3. SusanT says…

    Hi Ali, Thanks for a great post! This is my first time doing DD and I have almost put my foundation pages together but I seem to have a problem that my album seems already TOO full and I'm having trouble closing it! Any suggestions about keeping the album not too bulking? I'm hesitant to redo all my numbered transparency pages again (because I just dont have time) but I want to be able to add in other bits and pieces but I just dont see how any more will fit in the the album that came in the kit. Any suggestions? Thanks Susan

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Sharon Dryjanski says…

    Hi Ali

    Love the overlays where did you get them I checked 2 P's
    the date transparency is awesome...thanks for sharing
    have blessed and happy Thanksgiving! If you cant get to wrap the 25 books put it in a gift bag $1.00 store have 5 bags for $1dollar...

    sharon Phoenix AZ

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Jane says…

    This is such a great post! It seems like every year I come up with an excuse for not doing December Daily. This year I'll be traveling to London for 12 days in December so it'll be hard to print photos every day, but I will have my computer so maybe I'll do it all digitally! It'll be cool to compare English and American holiday traditions!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Sarah K says…

    I was a tad (well maybe more than a tad) disappointed when this years album was only available through the "kit"...and yeah I was a little pissy about it too. Then a friend said "hey, there is more than one way to skin a cat" and we got brain storming. Well, to make a long story short her amazing husband helped us cut down a regular 3-ring binder and we purchased the 6X12 page protectors (to be cut down as well) so the rings would match up. And now alls right in the world. We are good to go. Not sure you would be interested but I could send you pics as to how we did it.
    Thanks for all your inspiration Ali....may you be blessed this Christmas.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…

      I think that's great Sarah - it's never been about the's always, always been about the stories and taking the time to document the season. I'd love to see it.

  7. Steph S says…

    Awesome post Ali! Jamie and I worked on December Daily books all weekend! Loads of fun. Now to get the ambition to put something in them:) Nice ideas!! PS: I met you in Italy.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Marsaille says…

    Love this post! Loved to see all the picures too. Couldn't help but notice the Fantastic Mr Fox stub- and remembered other posts that referenced the movie. Like a pic of you, your husband, and Simon acting out a scene... neat to know that little outing documented during the holidays rippled. That you didn't know when you fastened that little stub on there, how many ripples it would have. He started reading the books that went with movies not long after that too? Or am I mixing something up? All these little leaps remembered by something that usually gets dropped on the floor or washed in a pocket. Thank you for reminding me why I document.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Sarah K says…

    Will both & be offering the special DD printing...or only

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…

      Persnickety is the only one so far - they set it up on their own.

  10. Laura F says…

    Ali, This post (and so many others) inspire me not just for a DD but for so many of my other projects!! YOU and your willingness to share make me so happy!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Tonya says…

    Thanks for the great ideas! I've been mulling the idea for a few weeks now and finally decided to make my project seasonal, which means I've got to get started. In our family, the season starts with a frantic Thanksgiving weekend.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Carrie says…

    SO inspiring! I especially love your photos! Beautiful captures of everyday moments.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Marie-Pierre says…

    Thanks Ali for the renewed inspiration. I just I seem to move every year around Halloween/Christmas time (!!) and the december daily always seems to be a bit overwhelming for me because of the awkward situation I'm in. So I'm always torn between I want to do it and I shouldn't embark on such a big project. The only december daily experience I have is that my album is very interesting and nice at the beginning, but it seems to lack some content toward the end, so I'm not quite sure if I like it. So well, I was trying to figure out if I'd give it another try this year.... and NOW!! Now, I'm totally pumped up!! I'll do it. Thanks again! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Debra says…

    What a wonderful post. This is my fourth year doing DD - I'm excited. I'm like you, I go with the flow and just document what I want each day. Sometimes that's the fun bit, not pre-planning! Enjoy your Christmas season and again, a wonderful post. Full of ideas. Full of inspiration. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Brooke says…

    Love this post Ali. It's taken me 3 visits to your blog to read it (I'll blame the kids). As I read through you reminded me of some of my favourite pages from my albums too. Will surely have to do a self portrait as I did that last year and haven't done many at all this year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Molly says…

    great direction! I'm looking at my book from last year (which i never posted) and previous years, and set up a work station just for this project. Totally inspired!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Mel says…

    Wonderful and detailed post thanks so much. It's great to have some kind of focus even if it doesn't quite go according to plan when December comes!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. katemeri says…

    Wow Ali! This is awesome! Just yesterday I decided to do my first ever December Daily. I've thought about it in years past and decided not to do it because it didn't seem right (I don't have kids, we live in a tropical climate and Christmas isn't as apparent at the beach, yada yada yada). This year is not going to be my ideal December either because I'll be away from my hubby for Christmas but I will be with family. It will very likely be my Mom's last Christmas so I decided to do the album. I started pinning things I saw that I liked, ideas, inspiration, a lot from your previous blogs. I even sent my sister a picture of your pregnant belly in front of the Christmas tree and told her I wanted to get that shot of her this year. Thank you so much for all the inspiration! I hope you have a beautiful holiday season. <3 <3 <3

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Maria says…

    Thank you for this.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Shelly says…

    I wasn't sure if I was going to do a Dec. Daily this year, as I usually begin and fizzle out part way through the month. Your pages make me more excited about the Christmas season and make me want to try it again. Thank you for the inpsiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Susan Luna says…

    I've been collecting stuff in my scraproom to get myself ready to create my December Daily Album. I can't wait. You are always so full of inspiration. Thank you!>

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Kat says…

    I really love this post. For my husband and I, it's just us... it has made things harder to document because it's the same ol same ol. This is a great way for me to explore documenting different things in our life and inspiring us to do something different. Get out there and experience life. You don't have to have kids to enjoy the holidays.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. lisa cox says…

    Great ideas, thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. karine says…

    thank you so much for sharing all these good ideas!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Felecia says…

    Ali, thank you for your continued inspiration.

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