book advent

December Daily 2014

December Daily 2014: Day 10 and 11

Book Advent

Another simple layout that took me a kind of agonizing time to put together. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that I have avery colorful image on the left, and most things I paired with it seemed to look tacky and just too much. Trying my best to remember Ali Edwards' wise December Daily advice: it's not about a single page, it's about the whole. But, I'm a designer. I care how things look, but I care more about preserving our stories. Sometimes making things look good blocks me from getting the story told...quickly.

Day 10 Journaling

8 PM   The view from our living room window. The snow family is a  week old and we can’t keep them standing up. One of the lights is out. But the warmth is still there.

For Day 11, I initially created a long string of journaling that ran down the side of the stacked, wrapped books:

I loved the way that looked. But when placed in the layout, the text was way too tiny to read. While I could have just edited down my journaling to fit the small space, I decided that I'd rather keep the story as-is:

A few months ago, Lyra asked if we were going to read a new book every day leading up to Halloween. This is something we had never done, so I was curious as to why. She said that it was because the Book Advent was her absolute favorite Christmas tradition. And I’ll admit it, I beamed when she said this. The unwrapping and reading a book each day has been the one tradition that I introduced when she was two-years-old that we have stuck with consistently. We have not missed a single year, even when I have been drowning in work and most Christmas activities felt like too much. But, I hadn’t known until that moment that it meant so much to her. I asked her if there was one thing we could do each Christmas and never give up, what would it be? Her answer was firm: Book Advent. So now, for the sixth year in a row  we curl up and read the stories. For the first few years it was me reading to her. Now, she can independently read all of them. We add one or two new titles each year and fill in any gaps with library books. When we started, this tradition, we owned a handful of Christmas books. Three were from my childhood. This year, I only checked out four from the library. The collection is nearly complete. But, I know that it will still evolve. Some books will be retired. Some new ones will join us. The cycle will continue. That’s what tradition is: a cycle, a circle, and something we look forward to year after year.

So, how am I going to get all of that story on this page in the finished photo book? 

I'm going to do a little experiment.

I'm planning to add a piece of vellum with the printed journaling as an overlay to this page. That will add a little bot of interactivity to the book, while preserving the story and the design. Below is a rough idea of how that will look in the finished book (I'll update this post in the future after I get the book back and add in the vellum page).


What is a Book Advent?

A book advent is very simple. I learned about it initially from an Apartment Therapy article I read when Lyra was a baby. We have been doing it for six years, now. 

The concept is simple: unwrap and read a holiday-related story each day leading up to Christmas. We always finish with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.

Most years, Lyra receives a new book (or two) as a gift that she unwraps as a surprise during the month. These get added to the collection and we bring them out the next year. However, the majority of our books were bought at thrift stores or library sales (I love reading the inscriptions to other kids and families and trying to piece together their stories). And we always check out books from the library to get us up to a total of 24. This year, we only needed 4.

Like our visit to Santa, I try to document Book Advent every time I create a December Daily album. Here's how I documented it in 2011:

And here is how I documented the books last year, when I didn't make a December Daily album, but took photos each day with good intentions: