If you celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas–and especially if you go “all in”–you know these holidays can be stressful. So before the holidays get into full swing, grab a binder or a folder and create a holiday planner. I have five dividers in mine:
- Tips: I make notes in this section immediately after Christmas, ones that I will never remember the next year if I don’t put them in writing. For example, I bought my daughter’s Christmas pajamas for 2017 in December 2016. I needed a reminder; otherwise, she would have ended up with two pairs. And while that isn’t a catastrophe, I do want to be a good steward of our Christmas budget.
- Calendar: In November, I make a calendar that includes “bucket list” items such as a local church’s living nativity, the night we will go view Christmas lights, the local symphony’s Christmas concert, etc. I don’t discard the previous year’s calendar until I make sure I’ve transferred everything over with its current-year date. Otherwise, I could miss a tradition. I’m that scatter-brained some days.
- Cards: I have a list of all persons to whom I send Christmas cards as well as their addresses.
- Gifts: I keep a list of everyone we are buying gifts for, what the budget is for each person, and any gift ideas I have.
- Menu: I keep menu ideas and trial recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I also have a “Twelve Days of Baking” calendar that I’ll tell you more about later.
Include whatever sections or pages that are relevant to you. Figure out how you can use a planner to make your holidays easier. Then incorporate those ideas.
Time required: 30 minutes to update mine this year in January. I spent about 90 minutes creating my holiday planner in 2011, and that time included looking up the current addresses for all of our family members and loved ones.