In last month’s Catholic Christmas Countdown post, I suggested that you start thinking of what you were going to buy or make as Christmas gifts. I even suggested that you start purchasing now, if you haven’t already.
After you have your gift list, projects, supplies and other brainstorming done you need a place to put your handiwork so it doesn’t get lost before Christmas gets here. I keep everything about Christmas in my Christmas Planning Notebook. Actually, I have a binder for each season and my Christmas Planner is within the Winter book.
To make a Christmas planner, you can set it up in a variety of ways. Since I love office supplies, I prefer to use a fabric-covered binder and dividers since I have tons of them floating around. I’ve also seen some awesome scrapbook-style Christmas planners and composition noteb0oks turned Christmas Planners.
Think about the major pieces of your Christmas season to come up with your sections. I have the following in my Christmas planner:
- Advent — currently contains my Advent celebrations and traditions as well as Amanda‘s ebook, Truth in the Tinsel.
- Seasonal Cleaning Plan (Houseworks Holiday Plan)
- Decorations – mine has both an inventory of Christmas ornaments (I’ve been collecting Hallmark ornaments since birth) and list of what decorations go where — other than the tree I can take down old decor and put up new in about an hour. No joke!
- Gifts – contains an annual record of gifts given & final costs as well as gifts received for every member of the family.
- Food — contains recipes and menus for holiday meals
- Traditions — contains traditions and game plan to enter on the calendar at the start. I also keep my annual holiday likes/dislikes/changes here so I can look back at what we added/removed/liked and why.
- Crafts/Ideas to try or do
You could also include sections like:
- Budgets & Receipts
- Christmas Card Lists (I track mine in my address book)
- Family Wardrobe Planner/Pictures
- External Events (ornament swaps, potlucks, etc)
I find that having all these details in one place helps me to stay more organized. If just the idea of a Christmas planner overwhelms you, you should check out the new e-book from Jessica @ Life As Mom, A Simpler Season.
A Simpler Season is a great tool to help your holidays go smoother starting with Thanksgiving. At 200+ pages it is the ultimate resource for planning your holiday season and being more intentional. She includes worksheets to help you think about your holiday season and what you’d like to get out of it. Jessica also provides recipes that are common to the Midwest (I think I’ve eaten ALL of them), to-do lists, gift suggestions and homemade gift ideas/recipes, kids activities and even a section about children’s Christmas books (similar to 50 Books to Enjoy with Kids).
A Simpler Season is available on Kindle or as a PDF. To sweeten the deal, if you buy the PDF version, she includes TONS (over 70 pages) of printables to start your Christmas planner (the planner pages are available separately on her site if you buy the Kindle version for the same total price). In fact, there are very few that you might need that she hasn’t included — if you aren’t as detailed as me, you probably won’t lack for anything, because really, how many of us have a Hallmark ornament collection or full decorating plan that doesn’t change from year to year?
She doesn’t stop at Christmas, though, she goes right on through to New Year’s (which makes sense since the Christmas season doesn’t actually end until 1/6 — the Epiphany), sharing ideas, recipes and traditions for celebrating New Year’s Eve & Day, family style. Personally, I’m really looking forward to walking through her 150 pages of gentle guidance for an even more intentional Christmas season. While I tend to do most of the planning and exercises already, it’s kind of disjointed. It will be great to have it all in one location and in a logical order.
If you want to have a more meaningful, less hurried Christmas, I highly recommending making a Christmas planner and getting A Simpler Season to help you put it together.
Do you have a Christmas planning binder or notebook?
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review. I love it and would totally have bought it anyway. This post also contains affiliate links.