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Wednesday
Dec122012

How December Daily Helps Me Celebrate Christmas With Intention  

I don’t scrapbook, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t create elaborate book documenting every birthday or vacation. I don’t spend a ton of money on stamps and stickers and paper. 

However, I do enjoy documenting. Like most of you, I am the memory-keeper in my family. I love taking photos. I love journaling. I love being able to look back at the special moments I shared with my family. 

Several years ago I found Ali Edwards, an amazing blogger who has turned memory-keeping into an art form. Reading her blog I felt like I had been given permission to document our family’s life without scrapbooking. A Week in the Life is the brilliant brainchild of Ali Edwards and we all know how much I enjoy that every year. 

However, she also created a project called December Daily.

Every year a few months before December, she creates an album - probably what most of you would traditionally describe as a scrapbook. There are 25 themed pages with holiday paper and die cuts ...even some stamps. Then, every day in December she fills in the page with photos or journaling or both.

The idea is Christmastime is so special you should document the entire month. However, it is so busy you should make this documenting as easy as possible.

This is my third year creating a December Daily album and I love it more every year. 

I know. I KNOW. How does adding another thing to the list make the holidays better? 

I won’t lie and say it’s not a little bit of work. Sometime around November my girlfriends and I sit around a table and craft our books. It takes some preparation - gathering the materials and blocking out the time. However, we have SO much fun. We put on holiday music FAR before it’s appropriate. We chat about Christmases past. We create our beautiful books and I know I spend real time thinking about the holiday season I want to create.

I have the list of must-have and want-to activities in my mind as I craft my album and I start to get an idea of what December is going to look like for my family. So much of intentional living is taking a step back before things get crazy to get a full picture of what’s coming and making my album allows me to do that.

However, it’s more than just the making of the album. It’s also the actual process of documenting December. For one thing, I love the idea of capturing the entire holiday season instead of just taking a ton of photos on Christmas Day. It’s less pressure, more fun, and you get to see the tiny moments spent soaking up the season, instead of just the big moments when the season threatens to consume you. 

Put simply - when I am documenting my everyday experiences for a finite amount of time, it makes me more aware of them. Even on days when I don’t capture a picture perfect holiday moment (or don’t even have one!), I sit down and fill that day’s pages with thoughts on the season - the funny little things Griffin said about Santa, my favorite Christmas song this year, or a house I saw that has taken holiday lights to a new level. 

It keeps me in the moment. It keeps me intentional.

The album itself isn’t for everyone. The thought of crafting pages or even taking photos is enough to send some into an anxiety attack. I know that. However, I encourage you to find whatever would work for you and make it a daily practice during the holiday season. 

Snap one holiday shot with your cell phone every day. (IHeartFaces is hosting a fun Instagram December Photo Challenge if you need some ideas.) Send yourself an email at the end of day with something special you noticed - the way your child laughed at your elf’s latest shenanigans or the delicious homemade holiday cookies your coworker brought to the office. It could be something new or something you look forward to every year. Doesn’t matter. 

Either way I’m betting intentionally documenting your days will help you live them more intentionally as well. 

~ Sarah Stewart Holland

Reader Comments (3)

Love this idea! I am a big fan of scrapbooking but ever since I had my son (17 months ago), I can't find the time to pick it up again.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Erica, it is SO much fun and can be as little or as much as you want! Keep us updated in what you do!

December 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterSalt & Nectar

I love the idea of Ali's December Daily albums, but I have yet to get past the first week of it. I have several years of daily photos taken in December and not even printed out! What a great idea to get together with friends in November to put your books together in advance! That process is always my big stumbling block.

I really appreciate your really quick suggestions at the end of this post, too. Sometimes I use a practice of just recording something I noticed each day. The way my daughter played with something, a particularly pretty tree as I was driving across town, or how I felt today. It is a great way to slow down and turn your attention outwards, and would also be a nice daily December practice.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdonab

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