Preparing for December Daily

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking52 Comments


I've never done December Daily.

I've watched my sweet friend Ali do it year in and year out and always thought it was cool, but I'm going to tell you something that you may or may not know about me: Christmas, for many years, has not been my favorite.

This year, for numerous reasons, my head is in a better space as the holiday season kicks into full swing. Part of it is the work I've been doing with my therapist, in looking at my life and determining what kind of person I want to be in the time that I have left here. Actually, this is probably not just part of it; it's mostly all of it.

I always had an insane passion for Christmas when I was younger, but over the years, it felt more and more like a burden. The commercialism of it all depressed me. The hustle and the bustle were two things I avoided at all costs.

And then last year, if I'm being completely honest, I had moments as Dan and I were wading through the mucky muck where I wondered, "What if this is the last Christmas we are together as a family?" It was a fleeting thought, but a thought nonetheless. That's what happens when you dig in and shake things up.

I think what has happened in 2012 is that I'm connecting to my life in very real and meaningful ways. Or at least I sure as hell am trying to. 

And this opens up space for joy.

Pain is there too, but they can exist in the same place, which is something I've really only recently learned.

It's funny. When I started writing this post, I thought I'd just show you a few shots of my album, and I will, but I didn't think it was going to go where it did, you know, into therapy land talk.

But there you go, right?

Shall we move on to scrapbooking? Okay. Let's…

I am using the Studio Calico December Daily kit and holiday products from Elle's Studio. And if I may say to Studio Calico, please, for the love of all things scrapbook related, MAKE this 4 x 6 album all the time! It's the perfect size. I am in love with it. I want to marry it. 


And I'm planning to do a combo of hybrid pages, keeping it very simple as I go.


I don't know if you picked up by looking at those little wooden trees, but um, yeah… I EMBOSSED them. You're welcome.

I'm using old Christmas papers in this album too, from BasicGrey. Remember this?


I'm keeping all of my stuff on my dining room table so it's ready to go, every day.


One little cute find was a holiday stamp from J Crew, of all places. You may find them still in the stores.


I'm looking forward to documenting life this December, in this little album. I know many of you will be doing it as well, and I'm happy to join in the fun.

For more information on December Daily, click here.

For a huge selection of December Daily products designed by Ali Edwards, click here.

For holiday products from my collection, click here.

Photo Nov 18, 4 19 11 PM


Cathy ZielskePreparing for December Daily

52 Comments on “Preparing for December Daily”

  1. #1
    Michelle Mounts

    Cathy, I SO enjoy reading your blog! I have only recently discovered it but I look forward to it every day. I love how honest you are and how simple you keep things! I am excited you are also doing a DD because this is my 3rd year doing it also. Thank you for being you! πŸ™‚

  2. #4

    I love that you show us out here in the interwebs the real you. I love your sarcastic style. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to see your DD album πŸ™‚

  3. #7

    Please use all your influence to convince Studio Calico to carry the 4×6 albums! Didn’t order the December Daily Kit, but would love to get a few of those great albums…perfectly sized!

  4. #8

    Will totally enjoy watching your DD progress! I have the raw materials and need to make a DD station, too. Maybe I should scrapbook Halloween and free up one of those 12×12 boxes. (Yes, talking to myself…) Re: the depressing commercialization of the season — I definitely try to ignore as much of it as possible. TV ads and retail stores want to take over our brains this time of year, but a good dose of paper crafting and giving back and church can fight them off. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. #9

    I like what you wrote “opens up a space for joy”. Just might (will!) steal that. Glad you are in a better place this year.

  6. #10
    Jane Toft

    Another in the series ‘Cathy channels my thoughts’. Hmm this is getting spooky! I’ve not taken part in December Daily either. Maybe I will this year… with a different perspective. Your posts always make me reflect on life. Thanks.

  7. #11
    Louise Fortune

    Hey – that’s great news looking forward to your take on this project, curious – how are you going to balance Project Life in December with your December Daily – is one going to be general one more specific – I am quite conscious that I don’t want to repeat content.

  8. #12

    Louise, Im sure there will be some repetition of content for me. Im finding that with my 30 Days of Thankful album for sure. i figure, no big deal! : )

  9. #13
    joanna johnson

    Yeah, not an Xmas fan myself, but my kids and the old man are. So, two years ago I made my first December Daily and it’s turned out to be a really good project. I make notes each day about what we did–even the mundane….ok, it’s mostly all mundane, and after the holiday I pack it up with the other ornaments, etc. It (now they) stays hidden for the year, making an appearance after T-giving.
    Thanks for your posts–it’s nice to hear someone who sounds quite a bit like me!

  10. #14
    Elaine U

    I hear ya, lady! I fight the holiday funk every year — it’s just… so… not what Christmas should be: Consume and over-schedule. BUT your attitude is inspiring. I’ve avoided December Daily because I couldn’t bare one more thing on my plate. I think I could manage 4×6 instead of a big, huge album, though. Hmm. Decisions. πŸ˜‰

  11. #15

    I did my first December Daily in 2010 and LOVED it. I love looking back! Then, I built my 2011 album begrudgingly. We were also facing odd times as a family. I had lost my retail shop, my daughter was going through a bad stage. Odd enough….I never added the last “1” to 2011. I never took one picture of a family member last December. No merry & bright here:( I never touched the book after I made it.
    2012 is much improved. I ever put the “2” on 2012 this year!
    You’ll be glad you did it. The book AND the therapy! Cheers!

  12. #16
    Debbi G.

    Hi Cathy!

    I just bought your Holiday Story Cards this morning! Love them!

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  13. #17
    Jocelyn Thompson

    I love it! Love how you always keep it simple! Thanks for being a great inspiration. (even when you go into “therapy land”).

  14. #18
    Lee Currie

    Ohmygoodness, thanks for the reminder to START! I have the album and SC kit sitting on my coffee table. Must find some time and put my creative on πŸ™‚ As always, I’m looking forward to your project!

  15. #22

    Dear Cathy,
    i have started my very own blog. your humor and honesty have been inspirational to me. i hope to put a smile on someone’s face like you do. thank you.

  16. #23

    I don’t think I’ll do a December Daily, more like a “stuff we did for the holidays”, as the 30 Days of Thankful project has been a little harder to keep up with than I expected. Though of course I love it.

    I love those little trees, too. I need to stop accumulating supplies for the project and actually start getting my album together. Thanks for this timely post.

  17. #24

    Looks good! I tried to leave a comment, but Blogger makes it so dang tricky sometimes! (entering the letters code… i tried three times. My eyes must be going! LOL!) You write wonderfully! keep it up! And those pierogi look delish!

  18. #25
    Scrappybarb in VA

    Welcome to the DD party! I drank the Kool-ade three years ago and haven’t looked back. Hands down my favorite thing I made that year (times 3!) Can’t wait to see more DD from you!

  19. #29

    I agree with Sarah above said!!

    Christmas hasn’t been my favorite in years, too much stress/family fueds and commericalims of it all just makes me sad. Most of this is still going on but I’m going for it anyways, want to capture the good and push past the bad stuff.

    Thank you always for being so honest here, amazes me sometimes how alike we are at times. That very thought of what if this is the last holiday together sits on my mind each year. Having this little album will be nice to look back on and to remember we WERE ALL TOGETHER even in the mucky muck we stick TOGETHER!!

    LOVE LOVE your pages and am sooooo glad you jumped on board with it this year!! What a great year your having Cathy, so happy for you and for us!!

    One question, what is the first image of? It looks like vinalla wafers.

    Looking forward to seeing your pages this month and sending some MERRY AND JOY your way!! HUGS!

  20. #30

    Cathy, I am hoping you read this because I DIDN’T (yikes, I know, so unlike me, but I was in MAUI, HI so give me a break) read your last post. I, too, have and continue to struggle with bad eating choices. The idea of a “little” taste of something is NOT, I repeat NOT something that works for me (why have one brownie when the whole tray is calling me?). I recently decided I was like the abused woman who keeps going back to the abuser. YIKES! That connection has really made me THINK. Why do I continue to go back to that which abuses me?????? I am trying to free myself from the shackles. It doesn’t mean NO wine or good things, for me it means PLaNNING, and Thinking, and putting ME and my health first. Keep fighting the fight. It’s hard for a lot of us.

  21. #32
    Sue SG

    Thank you for being you, being honest and being open. Not only is your creative work inspirational, but you are too πŸ™‚

    Glad to see this holiday season is better for you πŸ™‚

  22. #33

    I love Christmas and the origin of it; but with that said, agreed on the downer of all the commercialism. I’m working on focusing on why we even have Chistmas (Jesus came to save us) and then I’m wonderfully excited about Christmas!! πŸ™‚

    also, i’ve also orderd the studio calico dd kit, and am super excited about it, but terrified of the 4×6!!! how will i get the many pics into such a tiny project?? even if i make the pics cute little 2×2, etc.
    looking forward to seeing how you will pull it off πŸ™‚
    thanks for sharing all your great work with us!

  23. #34
    Christine K

    Love that you are doing a December Daily. The red and green page with the embossed tree is beautiful! I am doing my 3rd DD but I am using stuff from my stash. I was able to buy a Studio Calico album from someone who bought the kit but didn’t want the album. Score!
    I am in love with this 4 x 6 size.
    Can’t wait to see more of your album.

  24. #35
    Susan A

    Full disclosure…I am not a scrapbooker (sorry–I do have many other gifts!), but I tried the 30 Days of Thankful just by writing in a notebook. Cathy–I am amazed–first by the fact that I actually am writing something every day (never been a journaler), and then also by the fact that it did sort of turn into a journal! Some days had funny moments to be thankful for, and others turned into sort of a self-therapy session that bring tears to my eyes when I read them again. I am excited to continue into December–I think it is helping me work thru some personal issues, too.

  25. #37

    I’m using some Basic Grey papers too! Dug through my stuff last night and found them – I’ve been hoarding them for ever. I’m trying to tell myself that this is a great use for “Fruitcake” and “Blitzen” but its so hard to use my favorites. Tell me its ok! So glad you are doing this, looking forward to seeing DD done your way!

  26. #38

    I love your version of the album. I can’t wait to see how it comes together over the next month. Happiest of holidays to you and your family!

  27. #39
    Laura A in OR

    Cathy…one day I hope you write a book. Love to read your blog posts; your honesty, your humor. I enjoy reading your blog and having a little laugh or smile coming across my face.
    Thank you.
    Good luck with the DD. This is the first year in 5 that I am NOT doing it. (will document in Project Life)

  28. #40

    Hi Cathy!
    Just wondering (hopefully you see this – or if anyone else has some thoughts). I am getting a new Mac for Xmas!! YES!!!!! Super excited!! But was wondering. I had photoshop and have been using that but it’s not going to be transferred to my new computer. I like to do project life and have the hour along cards, edit
    Photos and make simple invites etc. I know that some of your tutorials are photoshop elements…and since it is cheaper…how do you feel about elements, would I be okay just having that on my computer as opposed to photoshop??!!

    I trust you would totally know…or any of your blog readers for that matter…any advice anyone?!

  29. #41


    I’ve been a fan of yours since I picked up your books back in 2003/2004. Scrapbooking (with your books at the time) got me through some dark days after my daughter was born and we found out she has special needs. I’ve always loved your honesty and your clean and simple look for scrapbooking. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  30. #42

    I feel like Elements is really all you need. Honestly. Unless youre planning to do really high end editing, or precise typography, it pretty much does everything you would want it to do. Seriously. Plus, its on sale at amazon for $49. Thats a sweet deal! I just got my copy of PSE 11. Been playing with it a bit. It looks very different, but really does operate more or less the same as older PSEs!

  31. #46

    I hope you enjoy the process. I’ve been following along with Ali for a couple of years and the best thing about December Daily is it recreates your love of Christmas. It helps you love, appreciate and make things happen in December. It’s pretty darn awesome!!

  32. #47

    I dont know, unfortunately. Studio Calico had them made specifically for their project and to my knowledge, theyre not for sale anywhere else. Sorry!

  33. #50

    Hi Cathy,

    I’ve been reading your blog for just a little bit, but I’ve enjoyed it! DD is such a great idea, but since my family lives on the other coast, I think I’ll modify the hard-copy version by uploading a picture or collage a day to FB so they can share in it! One day I’ll do the real thing =)


  34. #52
    Susie Leggett

    Cathy, I totally get where you’re coming from about Christmas. Over the past few years, I’ve been doing some real soul searching myself about Christmas and what I want it to mean for our family, what we want to teach our five year old about Christmas. And I must tell you that doing December daily for the first time in 2011 really made me slow down and focus on the important stuff – the JESUS stuff of Christmas. Asking ourselves, what would Jesus want for his birthday. Our favorite family tradition has got to be volunteering at a local Feed my Starving Children mobile food packing event – it is the best gift ever, to Jesus that is, and we pour our hearts into it every year. I’m thinking that FMSC is based in MN with several year round packing facilities there. FMSC has been a wonderful expericence for our whole family and really changed our hears about what Christmas is all above. You should check it out. Hoping that you enjoy December Daily and that God fills your heart with peace and love and joy this Christmas.

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