5 Tips for *Actually* Finishing December Daily

As mentioned a few years ago on this blog, December Daily is a memory keeping strategy designed by Ali Edwards, to streamline scrapbooking over a busy holiday schedule. Even streamlined, it can still be a challenge finishing a December Daily album.

To streamline the process, every year she releases new products you can use to build your scrapbook/album. She also releases classes called “Products Plays” where she shows you some tips and tricks for how she uses the various products. It is so fun but it can seem like a huge rabbit hole of time and money but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Following, I will share some tips and tricks I use to keep on track and actually finish my December Daily albums in a timely and (sometimes), budget friendly manner.

1. Make it your own

What I love most about December Daily is that you can make it as simple or as intricate as you want. If you are doing it for the first time or have limited time, I would suggest keeping it as simple as possible using just a notebook and adding photos and journaling along the way. You don’t have to buy her kits (as they do have a tendency to sell out), but you could buy a stack of papers and cardstock from a craft store, or online, and make your own kit. This is what I did for my first album in 2017.

If you are a more seasoned scrapbooker/crafter, you can add as much detail as you like. I felt last year’s (2018) kit, although beautiful, was a bit too plain for me, so I added stamps, distress inks, borders, etc. I was able to adjust and add to my taste.

Finishing December Daily

This year I purchased the 2019 kit and can’t wait to start putting the album together.

2. Setup ahead of time

This has helped me more than anything else on this list. I start working on my album in November, just creating some foundation pages and putting together some ideas for how to use the products. I start going through the papers and journal cards, looking at the different pocket pages I have, and matching pieces together. As I sort through my supplies, I start generating ideas for how to incorporate different elements into the design of my layouts. Last year I had white chipboard numbers that I transformed with metallic gold stamp ink to match other elements I wanted to add.

It’s a process to sit down and go through everything but, by doing so ahead of time, you can actually compose thoughtful layouts and cater them more to your taste and needs. We will be travelling over Christmas this year so I have to get creative about how to document while travelling.

3. Create a daily schedule for ideas

The second most important tip on this list is to create a generic, penciled-in daily schedule to help with documenting ideas for the album. Not every day in December is necessarily noteworthy but documenting even the little things can help create warm memories of the time. Of course this schedule is subject to change at the drop of a hat so I don’t actually start recording anything in my album. I will just clip this “schedule” in the front of my album when searching for ideas.

Some of the more generic documenting I do includes, my kids’ favourite Christmas songs, any new recipes we tried, Christmas books they’re loving, etc. Last year I did a top 10 list of books my son was reading at the time. Another idea is to document where Elf on the Shelf was found that particular day. 

Finishing December Daily Ideas

Last year I had to be extremely flexible as my second born was due in December so it was most definitely up in the air, but I was never scrambling for ideas. Not everything you document has to be life-changing or ground-breaking therefore lifting a lot of the pressure of documenting your month. This also makes the list of possibilities is endless.

4. Limit the supplies you use

I cannot stress this enough. You don’t have to use EVERYTHING! If you purchase a kit, you don’t have to use everything in the kit. You don’t have to purchase the whole of Michaels to create an album either (although I won’t judge you if you do). The simpler your collection of supplies, the more cohesive your album will be with minimal effort.

As part of this tip, I also recommend keeping your December Daily supplies separate for the month and within sight-line as to stay on track of documenting. For me, this will include a couple of embellishments (last year was stars), a couple stamp sets I planned on using, a pen, and my photo printer. (For printing photos, I will do them in batches but I will journal every day so that I remember what I wanted to record.  Sometimes this journaling is on a sticky note depending on how much time I have to do it.)

5. Use free resources for ideas and inspiration

Although Ali Edwards is extremely talented and creative, and her classes are amazing, you don’t have to pay money to learn cool tips and tricks for creating your own embellishments or cool layouts. There is a wealth of knowledge and talent on YouTube and Pinterest. (Instagram is great too but you rarely see the process on how to create some of the magic that you see in people’s albums.)

For Pinterest in particular, you can look up kids Christmas crafts and make a lot of your own embellishments, adding an extra personal touch.  Last year my oldest son helped me make felt ornaments for our tree and I used a few to decorate our album. This year I bought shrink sheets from the dollar store to make additional embellishments.

I hope these tips help you in deciding to start your own December documenting. It’s such a special time of year for many people, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. And really, you could create your own album for a time that’s special to you using craft store paper and kits. What I love most about this concept is taking the time to document the exciting but also the mundane of everyday life and being able to look back and see exactly how much has changed.

This is one of my favourite projects I do and honestly, one of the only ones I’ve consistently finished which is huge achievement! Make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to the blog for more pictures and information on my December Daily project.

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