December Daily or, How Ali Edwards Saved Christmas

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memory keeping

IMG_0788When I was a little girl December was magical – just as it should be – but the truth is December and it’s accompanying merriment had been difficult for me for several years. My family is small and scattered (although we are fond of each other and get together as much as we can), there are no small children in my circle through which to live the holiday and, quite frankly, the holidays are a lot of work. When my Mother’s health began declining I took over what I could, but between working full-time and living 45 minutes away, it, sadly, became a chore instead of a joy.

My Mother passed away last summer and now my brothers and I are faced with reinterpreting holiday traditions without her. Thanksgiving went well – it was different from any we’d had before, but we were all together. Christmas however, was going to be a different story.

Luckily I ran across Ali Edwards’ blog. I had been aware of pocket scrapbooking for some time and was intrigued by it, but I didn’t think it would work for me, being single and childless. This is, of course, not true and it was Ali Edwards that showed me the importance and value of memory keeping for everyone. She has a generous, it-doesn’t-have-to-be-perfect-to-be-wonderful message that resonated with me and gave me the courage to give it a try.

Ali (I don’t think she’d mind if I called her by her first name. We’ve never met but I feel like we’d be friends) has several memory keeping projects that she teaches/encourages most of which I’m trying. I’ll talk more about these in the weeks and months to come, but now I want to tell you about December Daily.

December Daily is, at it’s most basic, recording daily memories during the month. Christmas, of course, plays a major role, but the idea is to remember it all, good and bad and ordinary. It’s those small, ordinary moments that color our lives and that, when you look back, bring back the day. It’s also a way to find the quiet among the hubbub.

I bought Ali’s kit and jumped in. My love of photography and crafts and paper were indulged and encouraged, a creative outlet that I needed desperately. I found myself becoming more aware, more present – instead of just letting life slip by I was living my life, looking for – and finding – beauty and joy in the ordinary and everyday. I call that a win.

There are many many beautiful examples of December Daily albums out there on the internet. Mine is pretty basic. Ali suggests that you write about whatever happened that day, whether it’s decorating the tree or a trip to the dentist but I stuck to mostly “Christmasy”, adding stories and memories from the past when needed. I was surprised at just how much “Christmas” there was in the month and found that recording them helped cement them in my mind. I put up a tree and decorated for the first time in several years, I made cookies and baked bread and celebrated with friends. I did Christmas again.

The month still had a lot of extra work in it, and it was very different from the December’s of my past, but it was full of joy. Just like it should be.

Here, if it doesn’t make you dizzy, are all the pages from my December Daily.

ht8t8

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