December Daily Takeaways

Beating the December Daily Hype

For someone new to modern scrapbooking, clicking on the #decemberdaily hashtag on Instagram is super intimidating. I remember first checking it out in 2016 and thinking “Wow, look at all these beautiful albums, I could never make something like that. I’m childless and single–what kind of stuff would I even document?” I let the hype intimidate me, instead of just focusing on what would work for my own December experience and remembering that my story matters.

In 2018 I decided to try December Daily for the first time, but I didn’t really have a game plan. I bought too much stuff, but I didn’t have it well organized. By the end of the month, I had lots of photos on my phone and a list of things that happened that month in a Google doc. I felt overwhelmed, and at that point, I gave up on trying to turn it into an album.

Then at Awesome Ladies Live in July 2019, I was riding to Horrocks with Amanda & Susan and talking about crafty projects. The idea of “December Daily Pages” came up–taking what was working for my daily pages in a 3×4 micro notes Happy Planner and applying that to December Daily. I decided to try it out with my December 2018 photos and stories. As I experimented with printing small photos and trying digital templates, I was able to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t.

I’m happy to say that in December 2019 I completed my first December Daily by the end of the month. I didn’t do any kind of foundation pages because I wanted to focus on the practice of creating each day. I know that not everyone sets a goal to finish in December, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could let go of perfectionism and just get it done.

Here’s what I learned during this process:

  1. Kristin’s Documenting December course was super helpful to get ready for this project. It has great questions and worksheets that helped me think through what would work for me. I was able to process the thoughts swirling in my head and actually make a plan.
  2. I figured out how to make this project work with my own December schedule. Through the Documenting December course, I realized that I wanted a process that was simple enough to work on every day–even when I was traveling. Although I get two weeks off at Christmas, I didn’t want to put my documenting off until then. I wanted my December Daily to be an everyday creative break for me during the busy holiday season. Using the small 3×4 notebook size made it super manageable.
  3. I learned when to push myself and when to take it easy. This is something that I have to remind myself to do with all my projects, but it’s hard as a recovering perfectionist. I had to acknowledge my energy level instead of worrying about what I “should” be doing. On days when I felt more creatively energized I pushed myself out of my crafty comfort zone with stamping and watercolor. On days when I just felt worn out, I gave myself the grace to keep it simple.
  4. Having a simple, easily accessible supply kit helped so much. I don’t have a dedicated craft space, but by using an 8×8 IRIS case to keep everything in one place, it was easy to craft in different parts of my house. Most days I stuck to those supplies, but I did have a bigger 12×12 box with all of my Christmas supplies for when I felt more adventurous and had more time.
  5. I reminded myself that my project didn’t need to look like anyone else’s. Comparisonitis is REAL. Since I don’t do photo printing at home, I decided not to use any photos in my December Daily album. It just made my process easier, and I knew I could capture my memories in other ways. Looking at Instagram, I felt like I was making a mistake and that I wasn’t making an Instagram-worthy project. I had to regularly remind myself that I loved what I was doing each day and that it was the perfect method for me in this season of my life. 

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As I’m starting to build up my scrapbooking stash, I’m trying to navigate buying supplies that I will actually use and not just accumulating a bunch of product. I want to make my photos and stories the center of my projects, but of course I still want cute embellishments. Any advice so that I don’t get caught up in buying all the things?


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  1. Oh man, Juli. So love this. So many good reminders – be flexible to honor your personal ebb and flow, you have to intentionally stay off the bandwagon or you’ll get swept along, the freedom and joy of documenting the RIGHT NOW in whatever for that looks like. I am really trying to simplify my work this year as well and capture RIGHT NOW, not CATCH UP. And let go of the RIGHT NOWs that didn’t happen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and all the reminders <3

  2. Juli, Thank you so much for your article and the honesty. I too suffer from trying to be perfect and not realizing what a tole my pain is taking on me. I have decided recently to be more ion touch with my body and more forgiving. It is helping and your article is a beautiful addition to my resolve.

  3. Love this so much Juli and 100% agree. This is something I haven’t been able to get over yet but am going to try really hard this year, because I really honestly do love Christmas time. Thank you for tour honesty and the reminds we need to hear!

  4. I think the more we talk about Comparisonitis and the lure of doing things “the right way”, the faster we can knock down those obstacles to our own creativity and accomplishments. I’m glad you were able to make your 2019 album a personal success. Because that’s what really matters. Plus your little album is cute as heck!

  5. Your story is so recognizable! I intended to make my first December album in 2013 and made sure I had enough physical supplies: an album, page protectors, papers, and embellies. I signed up for Journal Your Christmas (by Shimelle), so I was all set. I never made it beyond Day 2. I would look at other people’s December Daily pages, and I felt totally intimidated and paralyzed making design decisions. I knew that if I wanted to succeed, I would have to keep it simple. So, the next year, I decided to go digital, and I used a simple album template that just called for journaling and photos. I didn’t complete the album in December, but I did finish it two months later. My unfinished 2013 album is still in a box with all my paper Christmas supplies. I have all the photos and a Word document with journaling, so maybe I’ll finish it one year.