Simplifying Christmas: Getting Organized

I believe that one of the main reasons the season of Christmas can get out of hand and stressful is that we don’t prioritize and get organized. There’s so much to do. So many functions to go to. So many gifts to buy. The list goes on and on.

This year I am hoping that by getting organized and prioritizing what is important to us and having a plan of action, it will be less stressful, more enjoyable and we won’t lose the core reason why we are celebrating Christmas: Jesus!

A few years ago I made a Family Planner that keeps our family organized throughout the year. It works great. Then I also made a separate Christmas Planner which is perfect for someone like me.

For my planner I needed:

  • 1 1/2 inch three ring binder.
  • Page protectors
  • Dividers (I had stick on ones so just stuck those on the page protectors)
  • Paper
  • Three hole punched zipper pouch.

 Then I printed off title pages. Although, you don’t need these if you have the regular type of dividers. And this is what is in each section:

Title Page
I also stuck a notepad in the front pocket for shopping lists.

To Do
A place for me to keep track of everything I need to do.

To Give
A place to keep lists of Christmas gift ideas for people and a checklist of when things have been bought and all taken care of.

 To Mail
Each year we make a photo Christmas card and send it out to about 150 people. This year we are on a tighter budget so we decided not to do this. Last week when we got our first Christmas card in the mail, I just couldn’t handle the thought of not doing this. I LOVE getting Christmas mail and how could we not send out Christmas mail ourselves? So, instead of ordering specially designed cards from Shutterfly, we made our own and cut the cost significantly. So, this section of the binder has addresses of all the people that we send cards out to as well as preprinted return address labels, which I printed off myself.

To Bake
My favourite section. I love baking and at Christmas we bake a lot and share that baking with others.

This section of the binder has the list of goodies we want to bake this year, as well as a shopping list of groceries we need to buy to make these goodies. I also have a list of where the plates, platters, and tins will go to.

Then I also have our Christmas recipes in page protectors, ready to use.

To Eat
We often host a few Christmas dinners at our house throughout December. This is where I will be keeping my menus as well as the shopping list to go with each menu.

 I am not sure why that picture is sideways. I can’t get it fixed. Sorry.
To Decorate
This section will probably stay empty this year. We are going minimal. A few miniature trees, a real tree, the nativity, and maybe a wreath. Jason has spent a lot of time preparing the lights outside. It’s his ‘thing’. He’d do the ‘Griswold’ or ‘Tim the tool-man-Taylor’ lights if he could 😉

To Thank
A section to keep a list of Thank You Notes to send. The kids get so many gifts and I don’t like to forget to send a thank you email, note in the mail, or phone call. I know that I forgot a few last year and I still feel terrible about it.
The Zipper Pouch
I somehow, always, lose at least one receipt that we need again at Christmas time. Having this pouch at the end of the binder will have one central place where all receipts go.
So, there you have it. One hour spent collecting supplies, printing off title pages and putting the binder together and there you have it ~ A Christmas Planner.

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