Hi there, it’s Catherine. As I write this, we’re just two weeks from Christmas, and the to-do list is still a mile long. It’s always a busy season, filled with parties, family, friends, shopping, and memory-making.
For the last several years, I’ve documented our December in a little 6×8 hybrid album. Most years, I get through the holidays and go back through our photos, choose a few to print, add journaling and design, and call it a day.
This year, I’m working with a physical kit (Liz’s contribution to Ali Edwards’s December Daily product line), which I’m using alongside lots of Liz’s digital designs – new and old.
You may remember from some of my other posts that I don’t use a daily approach to documenting our holidays, although I adore seeing everyone’s December Daily projects on Instagram. I definitely have a looser hand on our memories this time of year. I really prefer to put my phone away most days/nights, hang out with friends and family, watch Hallmark movies, and chill. I really don’t take a lot of photos this time of year.
That said, it’s such a memory-heavy season. So I tell those stories with a few photos and more journaling than I normally include in our memory-keeping projects.
Read on for more of my approach, including my favorite tips for keeping any holiday memory-keeping project simple, fun, beautiful, and meaningful.
First up, keep it simple.
Use a few photos. Stick to simple layouts. Don’t worry about embellishing too much. Don’t worry about picking the perfect photos or designing the perfect title page.
Simplicity when it comes to memory-keeping really boils down to a “done is better than perfect” mindset. Enjoy the process, but don’t become so committed to it that it keeps you from getting started (or finishing when you’re midstream!).
Second, determine the design.
Choose a few design elements, colors, fonts, and ideas, and let those be your guide throughout your project.
Once you’ve made some design decisions (like using Georgia pt 8 in regular OR italic!), pressure’s off to reinvent the wheel every time you work on a layout.
For this album, I’m sticking to a very classic palette, which is dictated by Liz’s kit: black and white, pops of red and green, muted tones in photos, and hints of beige.
I’m also including a bit of Liz’s hand lettering here and there. And I’m using the same font and size throughout the album, which I just saved to a 4×6 document in Photoshop so I can easily create new journaling cards.
Sticking to the same design elements throughout the project keeps it feeling cohesive and helps you keep moving since you’ve already made lots of those little (but often agonizing!) design choices.
Third, mix color photos with black and white.
This is a must for me in any project. It keeps your eye moving around the layouts and adds contrast and interest.
Another bonus of using black and white in your photo editing is that it’s such an easy way to take a so-so photo with crummy lighting from zero to hero.
If you love a photo but the colors just don’t look quite right, convert it to black and white.
But include color photos too! They’re natural and lovely and of course add color to a neutral design backdrop.
Fourth, add lots of journaling.
Write down those stories that fill in the gaps your photos leave in the project.
I include so few photos in our holiday albums that journaling is really a must for me in these projects. But I love it! I love reading back over notes I included about Christmas gifts or special things we did that year.
The holidays can start to run together year after year (we’ve been married nearly fourteen!), but a little journaling goes a long way toward triggering your memory and reminding you of what mattered in a particular season.
Fifth, add white space.
Oh, it’s another must for me. White space lets a project breathe, and it just might be the reason you’re attracted to a particular project online but you can’t seem to achieve the look.
Try removing a photo and adding a plain white 3×4 or 4×6 card with black writing on it – handwritten or typed. No embellishment needed.
Whether you prefer a more elaborate approach or find you prefer something more minimal, the end goal of any holiday project should be to tell the story of the season. You might choose to do that in a daily project or, like me, something more sporadic and broad. Either way, I hope you enjoy putting it together!