The 5 Stages of December Daily

5 Stages of December Daily

The idea is enticing: document your December happenings each day, and by the end of the holidays, you’ll have a magnificent album that will surely be treasured for centuries. It’s called December Daily. Many scrapbookers start one; few actually finish. (At least that’s what I’ve concluded from reading message board posts).

This year, I’m making a December Daily album for the first time. I even bought The Official Kit. There are no instructions or guidelines; it’s up to each person to figure out what to do. I’ve received good advice (“you must make foundation pages”) and marveled at excellent DD albums. And I’ve been stuck with how to start my own.

So, fellow DD newbies, I’ve determined that there are 5 stages of December Daily; 5 stages you must go through before you finish that album.

The 5 Stages of December Daily:

1. Play

When The Kit arrives, you play with the pretty embellishments. You spread them out, admire them, take photos and post on Facebook and Instagram. Everything is so sparkly and new.

2. Pin

Then the Super Scrapbookers start posting their Super foundation pages. Holy scrapbook, they’re amazing! It’s time to make a December Daily Pinterest board and start pinning! So many ideas!

(Meanwhile, the contents of The Kit remain in The Box).

3. Plan

You’re ready to plan out your pages. You arrange the embellishments on the pages, refer to your Pinterest pins for more inspiration, and check out what your scrappy friends are creating. (You discover that they, too, are pinning instead of creating).

Then you start making a list of all the things you want to include in the album. After all, you don’t want to miss anything.

Let’s see… there’s the advent calendar every year. The decorations, of course. Then there are the school activities – plays, parties, crafts. The family activities – dinners, baking, seeing a play, driving around looking at lights, watching movies, listening to holiday music, getting a tree and decorating it, shopping for presents, wrapping presents, trip to grandma’s house. Then there’s that creepy Elf on the Shelf that joined our family a few years ago and moves somewhere new every day. Oh, I can’t forget to take a photo of the kids in their pajamas. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff, not to mention the kids are still in school and will have homework. And now I’m adding a December Daily album into the mix. What have I done?!

(Meanwhile, the contents of The Kit are mocking you from The Box).

4. Panic

You suddenly realize that December Daily sounded a lot better in September. You haven’t started your foundation pages and there is so much to do.

Why did I order this stupid kit? What made me think I could keep up with a daily album? I’m doooooomed!

(Meanwhile, your daughter is pilfering through The Box and your son is using it as a Lego battle station).

5. Produce

December 1st is rapidly approaching and you’ve decided to lower your expectations from Super Scrapper Awesome to Get-It-Done-Fast. You’re finally ready to make an album. You’ve figured out what you’d like to accomplish, what your style is, and what you will realistically be able to do in December.

(The Kit has been dusted off, the Lego Darth Vader has been returned to your son, and the glitter ribbon and snowflakes have been retrieved from your daughter’s room).

Now you just have to make it through this stage and you’ll have a completed album! And if you find yourself losing interest or getting too busy to finish, you can always insert this page at the end instead. ;)


Update on My December Daily:

I’ve reached Stage 5: I am finally ready to make my album. I had been stuck for a while because how can I plan pages when I don’t know what I’m going to be doing every day? And after my Project Life attempt, I should have known a daily scrap-as-you-go routine wasn’t my style.

I like to scrapbook by theme, so my December Daily is not going to be a daily chronicle (even though I really want to use those pretty gold number tabs that came in The Kit). I am creating a page for each activity rather than a page for each day. I am trying to look at the album as something to help me organize activities, not “just another thing I have to do in December.” And I want my kids to be involved in it, too, by adding drawings and lists (like favorite Christmas songs).

I hope to have the pages ready to post next week. Wish me luck. :)


Are you making a December Daily album? (Poll):


  • Laura

    lol…this is so me!!!!! I want to, then don’t want to…I don’t know. I did not order a kit, so if I decide, I’ll use my items from my stash!. Good luck!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks! :) I thought ordering the kit would “make” me complete the album, but… it did not.

  • keely

    i did a DD album last year. with a 20 yo son, i don’t see the need to do one every year. i am truly amazed at the number of DD pins on interest!! i don’t get it. if i am going to do an album, i want it to reflect my style, not someone else’s.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      There are certainly a lot of Pinterest December Daily boards! I made one to help me get inspired, but I actually got more inspired when I quit looking at Pinterest and just started doing my own thing.

  • Kelly Vandermolen

    lisa, i know you can do it. i will be making my eighth december daily album this year. up to this point, i have done a daily album but this year i decided i am just going to document actual christmas events which means that my album is already started. we regularly go to the santa claus parade (and fireworks) in a little port town (santa arrives on a boat) and it was on 16 november this year. into the book it goes. i love this project and even if i never make another scrapbook, i know i will have a little glimpse into eight years of my little family and how we have changed and remained the same over that time. it is a project i highly recommend.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks, Kelly! Wow, your 8th DD album? That is impressive! :)

  • Linda Auclair

    I’ve never ordered an actual kit for a December Daily, but admire the ones that I have seen this year a great deal! I started and finished a whole 12 x 12 DD album last year using divided format pages and was so proud that I finished the album that I kept going and have been doing a Project Life album this year and am keeping up with it pretty well. :)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Hi Linda! I wondered about December Daily vs. Project Life, but it sounds like DD is a good way to ease into PL.

  • stee

    I’m working on my 2012 (yes, last year’s book) right now. I took photos and collected stuff. Today I’m finishing my photo editing and page planning. Then I’ll have a book to show by Christmas. I did the same thing last year. Don’t worry about doing a page every day. That’s crazy!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      I like your approach! And focusing on one thing (like photography) is a great idea, too. I haven’t heard of December Duos but will check it out!

  • Christine

    This will be my first year too Lisa and I followed you smaller scrap action too, I will scrap next PL year smaller, that will also be my first year. This year I have been looking paralyzed at the huge 12×12 albums, the kits I have and my digi stash. I just could not get started, I wanted a hybrid version. When I came across your small scrap I knew what was wrong and now I can’t wait to get started.

    With the daily December album I had a problem from the start, like you I did exactly point 1-5. And I tried and tried and tried but just couldn’t do it. I can not make my pages ahead of time, foundation or not, it just doesn’t work for me. I have a painful chronic illness, I learned to live in the now, today is important, we only gave today. That’s why it was impossible to make my pages ahead of time. If I would plan all these activities and found that I was not well enough to attend or do them would I than again feel like a loser with no social life?

    So I changed my album to be called December Memories, documenting whatever will happen, the few traditions that we have and I’m not actively part of but more an observer, like my husband baking German/Dutch WeihnachtStollen bread, the Skyping/Facetiming with my grand babies in Holland while they decorate the tree so I can be virtual part of it etc. we don’t have kids at home so less activities to attend to. But this year I hope to see at least the Portland Zoo lights and document that.

    I will use my Day One app for journaling each day and work during the day on a few pages. I have 2 6×8 template sets I can pick from, i’ll use either Paislee’s press cards and album in black, white, gold and red, minimalistic and black and white photos(maybe). Or I can use Lynette’s from Nettio Design, her December favorites templates. I haven’t been able to pick I one yet.
    Either way this should be manageable for me. I don’t like it to feel like a chore, it the creativity and the creative journey that I like, not so much the destination itself. :-)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks for sharing your story, Christine! Love your approach, and now I’m feeling that same upbeat attitude! And I’m also craving stollen bread…

    • Christine

      Meh! I tried to edit a few typos, on my iPad but it did not work. It deleted the characters but would not let me edit them. Sorry. I meant to say that ‘we only have today’.

  • Kellie Winnell

    I loved this post, it’s so me. Last year I didn’t order the kit and kicked myself in not doing so, for some reason I thought having the kit would make me keep up to date? With already doing project life and actually keeping up this year so far I am nervous as I am about to attempt it again. I pulled out last years and was surprised I am actually almost done I just have to really add some journaling and maybe a stamp here and there along with embellishments, so why I gave up I am not over sure.

    i am really hoping I can do it. I don’t like to set the pages until I am doing it. Is that the wrong way? I just worry that I will go to all the troubles of doing it and then come time to add photos, not like the overall layout. Picky? Maybe? lol!

    • Christine

      Kelly, funny you write ‘is that the wrong way?’ I think, and these are just my personal thoughts, that there is no wrong way. It is what you want it to be. It should not be a cause for stress but a cause for fun and joy! It should be totally you and your family if you happen to have that.
      I also plan to do the pages as I go, just as I plan to do with next year PL. I like to add odd page protectors just what strikes me fancy. Some feel better using the same page protectors throughout their album. That’s so not me. I like variety and surprise, in my work and in my life.
      Can you set a time apart to do your December album daily or every few days? I think that planning time for yourself to be creative is a good way of planning. :-) when I did have my daughter at home she knew that at so and so time that was mommy create time. It worked for me. But I can see that families are much busier here in the USA. I lived in the Netherlands and other European countries before and noticed that I and other moms were not half as busy with school activities etc as you all are here at the moment. Interesting this difference in culture!

      • Lisa Moorefield

        I agree – there is no wrong way. I like hearing that both of you are doing pages as you go, rather than having them pre-finished. I have papers, stickers and embellishments together, but not assembled. I just can’t bring myself to do it.
        Kelly, I have the same thoughts – what if I put it together and when the photos are ready for placement, I don’t like the layout? or it doesn’t fit?
        Christine, how interesting about the cultural differences! and I like variety and surprise in my scrapbook pages, too. :)

  • Monica Ahlström

    Seems like there is a lot of pressure out there. If you feel pressure by looking at all the nice dd:s on pinterest, then don’t look at it, but for me they are just a lot of inspiration, but that is because I have made friends with my own style. I know what I like and I stick to that and even though I make a page a day I don’t feel any pressure, I just see it as a chance to sit down and do something nice for myself. If you take a simple aprouch to the whole thing it doesn’t take that much time and don’t we deserve a few minutes to our selves each day in December? I will be doing my 6th dd album and I just love it!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      6 albums is wonderful! Sounds like you definitely know your style and have a good approach. I like using Pinterest for inspiration, too.

  • Debra

    Hi Lisa,
    This will be my sixth year doing a December Daily – I love it. I’ve finished all five from years gone by. One I got done by the end of Nov the NEXT year, but still, I got it done because I wanted to. That one made me change my approach from making the actual album and/or base pages and just going with a pre-made book.
    Just out of interest here’s what I’ve done over the years.
    1. 2008 – Made the album from scratch. All different sized pages and such. Probably like the one Ali did that year. It’s bound with big silver rings.
    2. 2009 – Made the pages all the same size and ended up putting them in an 8 x 8 album. One story with one photo per day.
    3. 2010 – The start of my scrapbook phase – ie. Old type scrapbooks from back in the day before scrapbooking – ie. I got a blank book (no lines on it) and just starting writing things in each day and sticking things in as I wanted to. It was all about sticking things in and not the fussy decorating. If I took a photo that I knew I wanted to include that day I just left a 4 x 6 space for it. I marked what photo was supposed to go in the space and stuck them all in their respective spaces when I got them developed in bulk.
    4. 2011 – same as above, but it became a bit more decorated because I felt like it that year.
    5. 2012 – same as above too – again, a bit more decorated, but still just stuck things in as I went along.
    All of the books were a lot of work.
    All of them were worth doing.
    All of them became my time during the season to focus on what I love.
    Doing as much as you can as you go is always best, because it’s hard to stay interested in it in Jan (particularly over here in Australia because it’s summer, it’s hot and we’re outside a lot more).
    All of the books have changed my December. I see the month very differently. I see the Christmas season as a season, not a day. I look for fun things to record. I seek the joy and find it. I wait for the thing each day that I know I will record in my book. Sometimes it’s a small story, sometimes it’s a photo, sometimes it’s something from the internet that I just want to print out and stick in the book.
    It’s also become a bit of a planner for me – I know where we were each Christmas, who was there, what food I took etc. It’s fun to look back on.
    I love doing Dec Daily – it has become a special project for me.
    6. 2013 – This year I’m using the Christmas SMASH book. My plan is to just stick stuff in again as I want to. It’ll be more low-key doing the book this way this year which makes sense because I just found out that we’re getting out entire house painted (inside and out) in a couple of weeks (the middle of Dec!) which means no properly set up scrap space for a while!
    Anyway, enjoy your Christmas and your book. Looking forward to seeing how you end up doing it :)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Debra, thank you so much for sharing! I love that you see Christmas as a season, not just a day. I also think viewing December Daily as a planner is great approach and I’m hoping I can do that this year, too.
      The Christmas SMASH book looks fun – I just saw it in a store the other day. It sounds like a simpler way to go about DD (especially for you since your house is being painted!). Thanks again for sharing! :)

      • Debra

        Hi again Lisa, I was hoping they’d do a Christmas SMASH book last year, but no. When I saw it this year I jumped on it and bought one for my mum too. A good decision as it turns out because of the painting like I said. I’m about to go and pull the book out now actually. It’s Dec 2nd – I’ve gotta start smashing! :) Bye now!

  • Penny Lane

    Wonderfully written,really funny! And so true! I haven’t started my album yet, but I surely did pin a lot. Anyways, it’s only December 2nd ;)

    best wishes
    (Moni) penny

  • Debbie Stember

    I love that you said, “Then there’s that creepy Elf on the Shelf ”

    that’s how I feel about them, too