by Darcy Baldwin
Each year we vow to record all of those memories that make our Decembers so wonderful. And for many of us, getting busy, going to parties, and all of the other things that eat up our time make us forget those wonderful moments. Here is a list that the staff of Digital Scrapper put together to help you remember! Use these prompts in your December Daily album or just to record your life while celebrating the holidays.
Linda Sattgast shares a tradition that her mother-in-law helped her start that is exactly what December Daily is all about!
The year Charlie and I were married, my mother-in-law gave me a journaling book with a Christmas cover. I decided to use it to journal about our Christmas every year. I wrote down our activities and made a list of what we each got for Christmas and who the present was from. Consider getting a journaling book just for Christmas. Put it with your Christmas decorations and bring it out every year. While you’re at it, collect a few Christmas books that you only bring out once a year. This can be a really special part of your Christmas tradition!
Even if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, you can adapt these tips for your particular celebration and time period. You can even adapt this for a week of celebrations for a special birthday!
To get started, print out a December calendar (or mark it on your existing calendar) and note what you want to take a photo of each day. Then make it a priority to set aside time each day to graph your shot and jot down notes until you can create your album or layouts.
31 Ways to Record Your December Daily
Dec. 1: Photograph an icon of what Christmas means to you.
From Darcy: What does this month mean to you? Is it a celebration of Christ’s birth? Being with family? Chaos? Record what this season means from your perspective and each of your family members.
Dec. 2: Record your traditions.
From Andrea: Do you do Elf on a Shelf or celebrate St. Nickolas Day or do an annual Christmas Carol walk? We have a newer tradition (only the last three years)—our Elf on the Shelf. Our kids love this tradition! The little elf (our kids named our elf Ted) observes the kids’ behavior during the day, and each night he flies home to the North Pole and reports how the kids are behaving to Santa. Then each morning when the kids wake up, Ted is in a new place to observe them. Sometimes Ted can be mischievous or silly.
Dec. 3: Photograph wish lists.
From Darcy: Do a photo collage of your family’s wish lists for Christmas—one for each of your family members. These can be sweet memories when you record your children’s wish lists in their handwriting!
Dec. 4: Photograph your family.
From Darcy: Do a family portrait or single portrait that is silly. We always try to be so formal, but sometimes it’s the silly outtakes that show what we’re really like.
Dec. 5: Photograph your town’s Christmas displays.
From Jenn: What do you remember Christmas looked like as a child? Did your city do it up, did the stores have Christmas everywhere, etc.? Did you have a small-town parade?
Dec. 6: Photograph your neighborhood celebrations.
From Nann: Friends and neighbors are another important part of Christmas for me. What do you do in your neighborhood? Do you exchange gifts? When we lived in Houston, we lived in a neighborhood where we all decorated out lawns with white lights. Do you have parties or exchange cookie plates?
Dec. 7: Photograph your Christmas card.
From Darcy: What have Christmas cards meant to you? Do you have people in your life that you only hear from once a year? Who is that friend or family member who has sent you a card year after year after year? Do you send Christmas cards? What is your official family portrait?
Dec. 8: Photograph your weather.
From Darcy: Does a snowflake or a a bright shiny sun fit your “ideal” Christmas. For my grandmother, it would be a chili pepper, because it was almost always hot on Christmas day in South Texas. Record what your memories were as a child during Christmas and how your weather played into it.
Dec. 9: Photograph your wrapping paper and bows.
From Darcy: How do you like to wrap? Do you do one type of wrapping paper for each individual in your family? Do you use reusable bags? Do you just give gift certificates? What was it like opening presents for you as a child?
My mom had this little bow maker that she used all my life. I’d see her spread out in the living room, making bows for all of the packages she’d already wrapped. When she passed away, as I was cleaning out the craft room, it was the first thing I went looking for—to add it to my Christmas box to use for my children. It holds very special memories for me.
Dec. 10: Photograph your shopping list.
From Jenn: As grown-ups, our “wish lists” seem to just turn into one massive to-buy list. What does your shopping list look like? Do you keep it digitally now, or do you still do it on paper? How do you remember to do it all? Do you remember how your parents kept their lists? This would be a great time to grab a shot of an Amazon webpage if you do a lot of your shopping online or photograph the shopping mall you frequent.
Dec. 11: Photograph your Christmas lights—outside!
From Connie: Photograph your house from the street. Shooting the lights outside, especially at dusk, can produce the most glorious shots. If you are using a point and shoot camera, put your camera on the Night Portrait setting; the icon should look like a person with a star. Use a tripod or sturdy surface. For those shooting with a DSLR, set the White Balance to Tungsten or shoot in RAW. Set the Metering Mode to Evaluation. Set the ISO to 400–800. You can either choose Aperture mode and let the camera set your shutter speed or Manual mode, where you set the shutter speed. Start with an Aperture of F/22 to capture a starburst. Try using wider apertures to achieve different results. Record your memories of decorating or going out to look at neighborhood lights.
Dec. 12: Photograph your favorite Christmas recipe or create a recipe card to record it.
From Susie: A large part of Christmas preparation in our household is traditional Christmas cooking. I always bake a ham, a turkey breast, make cranberry sauce, and in particular, a Christmas fruit cake. Luckily the fruit cake can be made well before time and keeps for many months. I soak my fruit for a couple of days and then bake the cake.
Dec. 13: Photograph your crafting.
From Linda Sattgast: Take a photo of your Christmas crafts and journal about “the rest of the story” so future viewers will know what “really” happened.
Dec. 14: Photograph the stockings.
From Linda Sattgast: Does your family use stockings? Journal about the history behind them.
Dec. 15: Photograph your favorite Christmas beverage.
From Linda Sattgast: Do you have a favorite Christmas punch or other holiday beverage? Record the recipe or share how you serve it.
Dec. 16: Photograph a love letter.
From Linda: Make the photographs you take today focus on the love you have for your family and friends. Include heartfelt journaling on your layout that reminds the special people in your life how much they mean to you. Make this a gift of love that will remain in their heart all the days of their lives.
Dec. 17: Photograph the simple things.
From Darcy: In all of the chaos of decorating, presents, and all the stuff that goes on, sometimes we miss out on the simple parts of our celebrations. Focus on something that you love about Christmas. Whether it’s a shot of your tree, the pile of Christmas cards from friends and family far away, a photo of a loved one who is no longer with you, an item you treasure from your child’s past, or your Bible turned to the Christmas Story, journal about the small things that make Christmas so special to you.
Dec. 18: Photograph your favorite Christmas classic.
From Annette: Do you have a family favorite Christmas film or television show? Do you have traditions of watching together? We watch Scrooge with Albert Finney. We always wait for our favorite part where the Christmas Spirit ghost appears and we happily sing along with “I Like Life, Life Likes Me. . . .”
Dec. 19: Photograph your decorations.
From Darcy: Whether you have a tree all done up in white or you have a creche collection or you do a Christmas village, record why you have these and what they mean to you and your family or your children. We still put up our Little People and Veggie Tale manger scenes even though our boys have outgrown them, because they are dear to all of us.
Dec. 20: Photograph your favorite ornament.
From Linda Sattgast: Record the memory behind your favorite ornament or Christmas decoration.
When our son Caleb was 2, we held a Christmas bazaar in our home. Crafters brought in their wares and our entire house was decorated with Christmas and other crafts. It was a little hard keeping a 2-year-old boy away from the goods, but we managed to do it. However, we let him pick one ornament he wanted from the tree, and we bought it for him. He still has that ornament, and has now established his own apartment, so has taken it with him.
Dec. 21: Photograph your pets.
From Linda: We must not forget our furry friends during this special time of year. Their loyalty and unconditional love are never-ending. Give your pet a big hug and kiss today and let them know how special they are to you by creating a special scrap page.
Dec. 22: Record your cultural Christmas traditions.
From Linda: Our Christmas traditions are often related to our cultural heritage. One of my earliest and favorite childhood memories was a yearly family get-together to make tamales. What a job it was! But, when we got to sit down and eat those freshly steamed tamales, it was worth every bit of effort that went into making them.
Dec. 23: Photograph your Christmas outfits.
From Louisa: Do you wear a special Christmas outfit every year? A special sweater or vest, hat or scarf? Do you have a cute little outfit for the children? Or do you wear a brand-new outfit every year? Are there special shopping traditions surrounding what you’ll wear on Christmas Day or memories about something purchased long ago?
Dec. 24: Record your Christmas Eve traditions.
From Louisa: What do you do on Christmas Eve? Do you have a special dinner? Do you go to church? Take photos of these events. Maybe a photo of your children leaving cookies for Santa, or of you putting the presents under the tree or filling the Christmas stockings with presents. How about a photo of your services at church? Or of Christmas caroling? They will be a treasure in your photo album.
Dec. 25: Photograph your special moments.
From Darcy: Today is the big day! Record your memories of the entire day. Does your family read the Christmas story before diving into presents? Do you set out a huge feast for Christmas dinner? Grab all the photos and record the stories to make the day memorable.
Dec. 26: Photograph the aftermath.
From Darcy: What was the season like for you? Are you anticipating doing more or less for next Christmas?
Dec. 27: Photograph your favorite song.
From Darcy: Whether it’s a photo of you singing, a photo of an album, or just quick little portrait shots of each of your family members, record what the favorite sounds of the holidays are for each of your family members.
Dec. 28: Photograph the gifts given.
From Barb: Now that the big day has come and gone, let’s talk about the gifts we gave! Did the recipient love it? How do you know? What was their reaction?
Dec. 29: Photograph fun and games.
From Connie: What fun things does your family do together? Do you all get together and play in the snow, play games, or go to the beach? If your children are older like mine, you could document fun times from your past
Dec. 30: Photograph your favorite gift.
From Anika: What was your favorite gift and who gave it to you? What was the gift you were most excited to give or was there even something you would rather have saved for yourself?
Dec. 31: Photograph New Year’s Eve.
From Darcy: Take a photograph of the clock at midnight, or the ball on the TV special (or in real life if you’re there!), then record your memories from the year. Try a 12-photo montage from the year or record your New Year’s Resolutions.
We hope these tips have given you some great ideas on how to record your family’s special celebrations. If you need more hints, try these resources:
What are the December Daily memories you plan on recording? Share them with us!