Bonus task: Create a holiday planner.

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.

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