My Minimal Approach to Documenting December

Hi there! It’s Catherine here with some thoughts on how to approach documenting the holidays.

If you’ve been following along with Paislee Press in recent years, then you’ve no doubt noticed that Liz puts together beautiful products – both digital and physical – for documenting the holiday season.

And perhaps you’ve even participated in something like Ali Edwards’s December Daily project, which is a holiday memory-keeping project documenting each day of the month leading up to Christmas.

While I’ve never completed a strict “daily” project for December, I have documented the last four years of holiday seasons using a hybrid approach.

I’ve kept things really simple, fitting four years of holiday memories into just one 6×8 pocket page album, which sits on our coffee table as long as the Christmas decorations are up.

My minimal approach to documenting the holidays


I love the idea of doing a daily project in December, but I’ve never been able to keep up with one.

We’ve traveled every year for Christmas (except one!) in the last fifteen years, so documenting with a daily approach isn’t realistic.

Here’s how I keep my approach minimal but meaningful.

Document by themes of the season


For the last few years, rather than doing a “daily” project, I just documented the bigger “themes” of the season.

In 2016 this meant including a few groups of photos:

  • visiting Christmas markets
  • our family photos
  • our two week trip to Israel and Palestine
  • Christmas morning at home (which was actually a few days after Christmas since we were in a hotel room on December 25)
  • and New Year’s Eve with friends

I didn’t document each Christmas market separately in this album, nor did I document every day of our trip to the holy land in our December album.

If I want to include more detail on those experiences, I add them to our family photo book or album.

Rather, I documented the holiday highlights so that as you flip through this album, you get a quick feel for the season.

Include a holiday card or a family photo


In 2016 we didn’t send out holiday cards, but we did manage to have a friend take photos after church one day (more on that here).

In the years we have a card, I punch holes in it and add it to the notebook. For last year, I just included a spread of our family photos.


Use journaling to add detail


I go into more detail in the journaling, which is sometimes kind of minimal and sometimes more detailed.

For me, the journaling is an essential part of any documenting project.

I can communicate a lot in just a few sentences, and I love going back through an album and reading some of the stories or memories that stood out from that experience.

Keep the design simple


For the design, I’ve always used digital elements from Liz’s “December You are a Fave” collections.

I like including a combination of word art and simple templates with the occasional stamp or patterned paper to add some visual interest.

My mom recently visited us in Germany and I showed her this album.

She flipped through each page and oooh’d and aaah’d over this very, very simple project, which reminded me of the value of minimally documenting seasons of our lives.

It’s really fun to flip through ONE little notebook and see four years of holiday seasons!

In this little seasonal album, I get to see the growth of the kids (the first season I’m pregnant with Owen!), the different houses where we’ve spent the holidays (four years, four different places for us!), and the various traditions we maintain each year, no matter where we happen to live.

If you’re struggling to keep up with a daily December project, then no worries.


Document what you can and don’t worry about the rest.

This should be a fun project documenting a joyous season. Let’s not let our expectations get in the way of that!



You can find more of my holiday projects over on my blog or see what’s inspiring me on Pinterest.

I’d love to hear how you document your December! Say hello over on Instagram and let me know!


XO, Catherine

Paislee products used: December You are a Fave No. 6, December You are a Fave No. 5

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