Thirty-Six Merry Days: December Daily Christmas Mini-book

25 Merry Days 2009
Every year I go through the same dilemma.

First I tell myself I’m not participating with Ali’s popular December Daily project — not because I don’t think it isn’t awesome (it is), but for these other reasons:

  • Do I really want THAT many mini-books sitting around just for Christmas?
  • Do I really want to add to the chaos and busyness of this time of year?
  • Do I want ANOTHER unfinished Christmas mini (not one of my three are done).
  • And these last two are statements, not questions: I don’t like non-Christmas stuff in my Christmas mini-book. “Daily” inevitably means a non-Christmasy page here and there. It works for Ali, but I don’t like it in mine.
  • Also, I sometimes like my prepped pages better than my completed pages. That makes me slightly sad.

Every year since my first attempt I’ve decided to skip out. And then all those Christmas themed supplies start popping up, and people start sharing their prepped pages, and I start to feel the itch.

2009 Glitter Page 6232

I do LOVE my 2009 mini-book, which is the most complete, most interactive, and most glittery. LOVE IT! (except for those non-Christmas pages!).

Why Simplifying Didn’t Work
Last year I was adamant. I decided I wasn’t doing it.

Then Ali simplified her book for that year and released digital templates. So that seemed less stressful and I decided to go for it.

2009 Glitter Page 6233

But guess what? I don’t really love that book. It’s missing the things I love most about my first two albums — the surprising unusual pages types. And the glitter.

So this year I was adamant. I’m not going to participate this year.

And then…
I started going through my Christmas supplies for some layouts and I realized something. Christmas supplies and the idea of glitter make me happy. Like, really happy.

Great-looking numbers throughout a book make me happy too.

Who cares if I have too many mini-books. It’s just FUN!

So I re-evaluated why I do and don’t want to join the ranks and came up with a plan that feels right for me.

New Ornaments 6231

36 Merry Days

Yeah — I added eleven days to my book. Sounds crazy, right? But my book won’t necessarily be daily. Here’s what factored into my decision:

  • I just want to capture stuff that either is Christmasy, or LOOKS Christmasy in the photos.
  • I try to put our trees up the day after Thanksgiving, so it’s always bothered me that that day isn’t included within the December Daily album.
  • We have three birthdays around the Christmas season. Mine is Nov. 26, Blake’s is Dec. 7, and Trinity’s is Dec. 31. They all feel like a part of the season to me, so I want to include them.

I’m not focusing on December or daily. For me it’s going to be about the 36 merry days of Christmas time.

So that’s it. I’ll be capturing my Christmas along with so many of you! Here’s my plan:

  • I’ll be numbering the days on each page, just like Ali, but I expect to skip some numbers and days.
  • I’m preparing piles of numbers, embellishments, pages of various sizes, but I’ll pick and choose and assemble each page after I’ve got my photos, ephemera, and journaling in hand. I think I’ll like my finished designs better.
  • I’m excited to return to the mixed-up pages with lots of fun techniques that I loved so much before.

I’ll share some of those techniques in the first of next month’s video tutorials! If you want to get in on some fun interactive and dimensional ideas for mini-books, be sure you have your Paperclipping Membership!

So what about you? Are you doing a December Daily album this year? What will your approach be? Have you gone through a similar process of customizing Ali Edwards’s cool project to make it suit you?

  • tonysfrenchgirl

    I did December Daily for the first time last year. I challenged two scrap buddies to do it with me and got it finished in February during our monthly crop together. I wanted to do something a little different and after listening to Shimelle Laine on the podcast, I decided to try the Journal Your Christmas project. While she has a prompt for every day, there is no pressure to do a page every day. I’m thinking I will go with your idea of only scrapping the Christmasy stuff, but who knows, I just might get inspired by Shimelle’s prompts and do some non-Christmasy pages. I’m liking the freedom to go with what feels good/inspiring. :-)

  • A life coach?!! Now there’s a new idea!

    Thanks for sharing that tag project. It’s another one I’ve never heard of.

  • What a great post! This is my first year of doing a DD, having suffered last year from that same “itch”, Noell, and it only got worse this year! I prepped all my pages and really like them, but you made a great point… what happens if I mess it up by actually completing the project?? (Or should I just consider it “done” in its prepped phase? That might be sad too!) I keep on telling myself to keep it simple, but I know I have the tendency to complicate things for myself. We have quite a lot going on in December, which has to fit in with full-time work also. I really am hoping that I can stay on track (more or less) and by continuing to tell myself to keep it simple, it might actually get completed before next Christmas comes around. :)

  • Definitely didn’t mean to keep people from prepping their pages, but it’s something that has bothered me about some of my pages in my own books and I’d rather not go there! :)

  • I go through the same dilemma!  Thanks for writing down what I have been thinking in my head!  This year I was inspired to just go for it by the fact that it’s my daughter’s first Christmas (she’s 6 months old) and I would love to have that documented somehow.  I like the mix of the everyday with the Christmas, so that’s not a problem for me, but last year I didn’t love all of my foundation pages after they were filled in with pictures and journaling.  So, this year, I am using Ali’s templates, but filling in with paper and embellishments as the day unfolds rather than ahead of time.  I have also been collecting numbers all year, because last year I felt like I just didn’t have enough to choose from, so I need to have a reason to use them!!

  • I like that post! I went out and got the Ikea boxes you use and they are awesome! One has my Dec Daily stuff in it right now. Or some of my stuff, I should say! :)

  • Suzy

    Great idea Noell.  I put our tree up earlier and that felt missing from the book last year. 

  • Oh, I bet you are just going to ADORE your December Daily album, being your baby’s firsts! How sweet!

  • Yay! :)

  • I haven’t heard about this project before (I’m from Sweden) but now when I have read about it, it makes me wanna do a mini-book about the great days around Christmas! Thank’s!

  • You’re welcome! :) Definitely a fun project!

  • I love the fact that you’re doing a Christmas-only album.  I don’t like to jumble up my albums either.  I haven’t done a December Daily yet, but have wanted to.

  • Mandy

    This is my first year being a blogger and have come up with my own plan, almost similar to your’s! I’ve attached the link to the post I wrote last month.  Looking forward to documenting this holiday season!

  • How funny — you’re right, it really is the exact same approach!

  • Fancyscrapper

    That is a great idea!

  • Fancyscrapper

    It’s great to read about how you waffled back and forth on doing a project since I can relate so well to that. It’s fun to follow the mental process. Especially when you land on such a beautiful decision! I’ve done DD for 3 years now, and, like you, not one of them is finished. I always start before December 1 since we put our tree up as soon after Thanksgiving as possible. My favorite and most finished album of the season goes up to December 21, and it’s from a bright line of KI papers. I used transparencies, envelopes, one-of-a-kind pockets with pull out tags. . . . it’s just a really fun book for me to flip through.

    I’m going to let that be my inspiration for this year. I find that it works well for me to just jot notes down on each day so that I can collect them later into the book. I had pics printed from last year’s holidays, and I plan to finish out last year’s DD during this holiday. The thing that slows me down is the photo printing. I can’t print one picture a day. The ink cost is prohibitive. Plus I am not fond of the home-printed photos since they don’t seem as durable as professionally printed photos.

    Sooo, I look forward to your sharing here as your process goes along, and I just might challenge myself to post on my own blog regularly to keep momentum going. I still have not landed on exactly how I want to do this, but I’m ready to get something going today. My house has been really full of activity the last couple of weeks, and it’s been impossible to even get into my Happy Place (which is where extra stuff was dumped when we hosted a party yesterday! Yikes!). I now have about two days wherein I can focus on creativity. The good thing is that I’ve been able to document the happy, crazy, busy-ness with notes and photos, so I have lots of great material to work with.

    Here’s to a lovely holiday, and pressure-free documentation of it!

  • We have a similar process! I take notes on each day and then send my photos to a printer when I have time. I hope to send the first batch of photos today or tomorrow so I can start my first pages over the weekend. Hopefully I’ll have some things to share next week.

    I also have some new approaches to organizing, so I’ll share that some time too!

  • Carmel Keane

    Yes Noell you will be suprised what can be used and in some countries it is easy to find Christmas decos all year round (we got our New York decoration inJuly) If it is not ruly Christmassy then I go for something that represents the country eg. little porcelain clogs from Holland; a gorgeous piece of Belgian lace worked into a candle decoration etc. Once you begin to look you will see them and they are usually very managable “souvenirs”.

  • Carmel Keane

    I like the sound of Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas project too. I really like the idea of an ongoing mini which can be added to each season – far less pressure. Just use the prompts that resonate with you at that time.

  • I tried December Daily for the first time last year. I liked the idea and I kept up and even finished but it’s fat, bulky and I don’t like the binding I used. I really like the digital pages and thought that I’d go all digital this year. The pages are simpler and you can do hybrid with them. But then I saw an idea I liked on myCraftchannel with Shelby Dredge. She has a tutorial on her blog using Simple Stories 25 Days of Christmas and the Fancy Pants BragBook. I didn’t buy the tutorial but I bought the supplies and LOVE IT. But it’s a premade book, which is what I liked,  so if I get the urge for digital i’d have to insert it into one of the envelope pages that are in the book verses making it a page.  The book has envelope pages AND 4×6 photo pages as dividers. 

    Then I checked out Shimelle Laine’s Journal Your Christmas and I really liked the idea of documenting the entire season because Hispanic culture also celebrates 3 Kings Day (the Epiphany) on January 6.  So I joined the class.

    So somewhat like Noell, my version of Ali’s December Daily will be really a Christmas Season Daily. So I am going to combine the December Daily concept with the prompts and approach of Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas. Fingers crossed. I attached a photo of my prepared December Daily.

  • Debalee21

    I haven’t done one yet as this is the first time I’ve seen, very impressive.  I have just put my homemade Christmas Pudding on to boil but I never think about taking photos of making it, i still have 2 more to make so I will take photos this time. Thanks for the inspiration, may be I will give it a go next year.