Friday, November 27, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: Plan, Prep and a Present

Here we go again!  And this time, I think I'm really ready.  :-)  (get comfortable, this is a long one!)

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have attempted a December/Christmas project the past couple of years and I have failed (mostly) each year.

The first year I attempted a straight up December Daily project and that didn't work. We didn't do something Christmas-y every day in December and it began to overlap too much with project life.  It also didn't feel different enough from PL for me.  I did digital square pocket pages, which was similar to what I had been doing all year with PL.

Last year, I knew I needed something different.  Daily wasn't going to work for me.  We just didn't do enough stuff.  I needed a new name that would reflect my new plan.  I thought about some of the usuals like Document Your December (but some of our Christmas stuff fell in November), or Countdown to Christmas (but our "Christmas" with my in-laws was going to be after Christmas).  I finally decided on "Twenty-Six Things" (what was I thinking?!?!??).  I wanted to use some cute number cards I had, I *needed* #25 to be Christmas day and I had to go to 26 so I could include Christmas with the in-laws and keep things in chronological order.  I had thought 26 things would be easy... turns out, it's not.  Especially when you have fickle teens who will randomly reject some of your "things" (turns out that riding the CTA Holiday Train with mom isn't that cool anymore... who knew?).  I did take note of the last year's attempt being too similar to my PL and went with a different format.  I tried a hybrid 6x8 Sn@p album.  BUT... not having a color printer, I was having to dummy things up in photoshop to see how they would look and then send to print every so many pages.  It became a chore.

So, that brings us to this year.... 2015 the year of the successful Christmas project!!

Here's the plan:
  1. New name.  I thought about it for a quite a while and ended up with "Capturing Christmas".  This name allows me to call this what it truly is, the place where I capture all things Christmas this year.  It doesn't confine me to December, ending on the 25th or any set number of things.  I'm happy with the name.
  2. Same binder and pages as last year (in fact... some of them are the exact same unused pages I bought for this project last year).  I'm completely in love with the 6x8 album size!  And the physical pocket pages makes this feel completely different than my usual project life pages.
  3. Prep!  I think this is going to be key.  Something I have learned from the more digital projects I've attempted the past two years is that being proactive is key.  With being primarily digital, my pages became more reactive than proactive.  After each thing, I was starting from scratch.  This year I picked a bunch of cards that I liked and made some of my own (more on that further down).  This worked well with the travel journal that I did for our trip to NYC this summer.  With that success, I'm hoping for success with this project.
  4. This goes along with #3, but this year I'm printing my own cards and photos (hooray for owning a color printer!!).  This was key to my travel album success and I think it will be key with this as well.
Now on to prep:

First thing I did was make myself a set of easy to cut apart templates using the sizes of the openings in my sets of page protectors.  I am using pages by Simple Stories, mostly standard sizes, but have a couple of the insta sets as well.  I made templates on 8.5x11 sheets with 3x4, 2x8, 2x2 and 4x4 spots and I lined the cards up so they required fewer cuts to separate them after printing.  I do have page protectors with 4x6 openings, but I figured those will mostly be photos which I will print as individual 4x6s.

I made a bunch of sheets of cards while watching TV throughout the week and Saturday was print and cut day.

Oh look... my assistant has arrived...

Actually, she's fairly useless in the card prep department, she just wanted to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e yet again.
The templates I made, ended up with an odd shaped spot leftover when I made things square.  On some, I put elements to cut apart and add to my pages like below...

Others, I turned off the layer (like in the title photo at the top) and some I left alone.  That way I could see where to cut when printing white cards on white paper....

The bulk of my cards came from two kits.

First, the brand new collection for December, Storyteller Riley by Just Jaimee...

And second, Shelf Elf by Just Jaimee and Mommyish....

I've set up a new pinterest board for my supplies this year and another one for my pages, as I complete them, so be sure to follow them.  I plan to have another post soon with some of the other products I'm using, plus I'll add stuff throughout the month as new sets get released.

And finally, we get to the present.

I have zipped up the template set that I made and have it for you as a free download, if you would like to use them to speed up your card trimming process!  All that I ask in return is for you to leave a comment below (I would especially love a link to see your December/Christmas projects!  I'm always looking for more inspiration!).  Here is what's included:


I did three templates to be printed on card stock and one photo template (one 4x4 and 2 2x2s).  I will also be using templates to split a 4x6 into two 3x4s and another to split one into 6 2x2s, but I didn't need to create those since they were included in one of the template sets I have by Designs by Lili.  I hope this freebie set helps with your prep!  I had so much fun making 2x2 squares from all of the fun patterned paper that I have!

Okay, that's it for my ramblings at the moment!  Off to start my pages!!  Good luck everyone and enjoy the season!!!  (oh... and even if you don't download the freebie, I would still love to see a link to your holiday project in the comments... I think I enjoy looking at other people's projects more than I actually like creating my own!)


  1. Tracie!! I love this! Amazing post!

    1. Thanks Holly! We should have a DD scrapping day!

  2. Tracie - thanks for the inspiration - i was trying to decide what to do myself with December Daily since my kids are older and I will be traveling part of the time!!

    1. Thanks Luly! I'm hoping this will work for us... it gets harder as the kids get older! But I'm determined to have a successful year this year! Btw... we need another get together!

  3. Replies
    1. You're very welcome Debra! I hope they help with your prep!

  4. eek, my brain exploded

  5. Love this!!! I too have had the issue of doing things (like seeing Santa) in November, and it not fitting into December all nice and tidy, so I love your idea. :) Can't wait to see the finished pages.