My December Daily 2018 Plans + Approach

My December Daily 2018 Plans + Approach | Nicole Reaves

It’s that time of year. Today I want to share my plans for my December Daily album this year. This will be my ninth album and putting all of my supplies together gets me so excited to get started. My favorite Christmas tunes and a little snow outside helps too.

If you’d rather watch and listen to me chat about looking through my past albums for inspiration + how I organized my supplies, you can watch my prep + process video below. This post includes more details on how I plan to work on my album and my vision of what I think it will look like.


I knew I wanted to stay small(ish) this year and considered several different album options. In the end, I went with Jamaica’s 4x6 tree album. I’ve only done this orientation once before, plus I love love love the color.

As I looked back at my previous albums, I know I go in waves where I’ll use a curated kit and album one year, then use my stash and a handmade album the next. I worked from a couple of kits last year, but while digging through my holiday stash at the end of the summer, I found it to be quite depleted of paper (lots of scraps) and embellishments (just a few small pieces).

This year I replenished my holiday stash with Ali’s main December Daily kit, along with the season of intention stamp set, wood veneer numbers and small rubber words. I know from past experience that I like to stick with classic pieces I can use year after year, in colors and patterns that pretty much “go with” everything, because I know it will take me several years to kill this kit. While I am bringing in far fewer supplies than I have in past years, I'm not against purchasing product at all. “Buy what you’ll use. Use what you have.” is a recurring reminder in my life.

As I was gathering my supplies, I also pulled out a few leftover embellishments from past years, as well as an older stamp set from Ali.


After sorting through the entire kit, I set aside what I love and want to use this year - mostly just the embellishments. I opened all of the packages and stored them by type in a vintage muffin tin I bought on Etsy years ago. I shared all of this in the video above and it’s pretty fun to watch.

The basic tools like a small stapler, punches and scissors, ink pads and stamp mounting blocks, and adhesive are already accessible and within arms reach as I stand at my desk.

My December Daily 2018 Plans + Approach | Nicole Reaves


I like having one place where I can document the details of each day, or the story I plan on telling, so I printed a December calendar to journal in as I go. In the video above, around the 10:48 mark, you can see where I ran across my marked up 2017 calendar from last year and how I also used it to keep track of getting the album completed. On the calendar, I plan ahead and note already schedules events and activities, which helps me decide on what to document as the month goes on. Also, seeing the month at a glance helps me spread out my story topics - like focusing on our home, the kids (one at a time or both together), decorating, traditions, etc.

Since I print my photos at home using my Epson large format printer, I need to make sure I’m fully stocked with paper + ink. I usually just print on glossy photo paper, but this year I’m going to try this Ilford paper since I’m not using page protectors and you’ll actually be able to feel the pages.

Other than that, I’m not doing any physical album prep or foundation pages this year - hence the lack of pretty photos in this post. I’m also going to wait until later to create my opening page with a recent photo. It’ll likely be a full size 4x6 photo with some sort of embellishment that references the year, 2018.


This year I’m beginning my December Daily on Saturday, December 1st.

Unlike years past, this will be a photo-based album where I document with one 4x6 photo a day (or perhaps a collage of photos within a 4x6) with the option of only using one page instead of my usual 2-page spread per day. I’m not doing that because I want it to be thinner or less work - I just want to try something new. Each year I like to change it up in some way - just look at my gallery of past albums to see the variation of sizes and formats I’ve tried. Experimenting with my style while giving myself limitations is one of the reasons why I love this project so much.

While it probably won’t be extensive, I do want to make room for the journaling too. I’ll need to stay mindful of how I photograph - accounting for borders and white space for text and embellishments. I’ll probably play around as I edit photos too, like lowering the opacity for a more transparent or faded photo where I can journal right over it. I’ll experiment with all of that as I go.

Since each spread will be two days, I also want to experiment with how each day plays with and contrasts with it’s partner on the opposite page. I’m thinking,

  • zoomed in detail shots vs. zoomed out overview shots

  • bokeh vs. a clear focal point

  • color vs. black and white

  • people vs. things

  • before vs. after

  • longer stories vs. no words at all

At the moment, I plan on documenting through December 25, but may extend that to December 31 depending on what we have planned during the holiday break. Again, keeping it pretty flexible.


Just like years past, I’m committing to work on the album every couple days, completing each 2-day spread in one sitting so I know they look great together. I’ll likely stick with this schedule until the week or so before Christmas when our days get busier and anticipate wrapping up the entire album in January.


As I mentioned in my prep video, I’m considering sharing my spreads in short process videos on my YouTube channel as I get them done. It’s nice to see the end result of a page, but I really enjoy seeing how it evolves as you go. I’m not 100% sure yet - if it would be a worthwhile way to spend my time and energy - but it sounds fun! If it’s something you’d like to watch, let me know.

Visit my December Daily gallery to check out my past completed album blog posts. I also shared video walkthroughs of my most recent albums, 2016 and 2017, if those are more your speed.

Happy December documenting!