I absolutely love Christmas and the entire Christmas season leading up to it. Admittedly, though, there are a lot of things that I do behind the scenes to make our picture perfect Christmas happen.
Making lists is, for me, one of the essential components to ensuring a happy and peaceful Christmas for everyone, but especially for me. But where do you put all of those lists?
In the past, I have ended up with scraps of paper here and there, notes on my phone, multiple notebooks (because I used whichever I grabbed first), and basically all of my plans scattered hither and yon. Last year, though, I created an all-in-one Christmas planner out of a plain notebook and I ended up having one the most enjoyable Christmases of my adult life! So today, I’m going to show you how I set up this year’s planner in hopes of inspiring you and giving you a little head start should you decide to make your own.
Using any type of notebook (I’ll share which one I’m using at the bottom of this post), you can create a custom Christmas planner that will help you:
- Get organized and stay organized
- Have the entire house decorated
- Plan holiday meals
- Gather everything you need on your holiday grocery shopping trips – no more “I Forgot!” trips
- Plan holiday treat making and baking
- Establish and maintain a gift budget
- Organize and prepare for all of your holiday parties
- Have an organized Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and any other family meal or event that you will be working on
- Pull everything off without so much as a hiccup while making sure no detail is forgotten
AND make every subsequent year even easier since this year’s planning can just be used all over again.
It’s easy to set up your Christmas Planner and to help get you started I’m going to show you mine. I had to take these photos before filling in the gifts section for obvious reasons :). I will be filling out my menus and adding more to my “to cook” lists and such in the coming week or so. If you’d like to see these pages once they are done you can follow me on Instagram by clicking here.
At the bottom of the post you can see how I set up my table of contents and suggestions on these and other pages you might want to include. After you read this, I’d love to hear your other ideas in the comments!
Deck The Halls
We LOVE Christmas Decorations!
I have a lot of areas I like to decorate and it just feels so good to be able to put a check in the box beside each one so I can keep track of how much I have left to do.
I also add a section for new decorations that I have purchased and how much I spent on them because I usually add a little bit each year and keep that within a certain budget.
Traditions and To Do’s
This page is VERY important to us because it contains all of the wonderful little traditions and things we cherish doing each year. If there are events in your area that you want to remember to go to, things you “always do”, this is where it goes.
Hint: Save this notebook because you are also creating an heirloom for generations to come.
Things To Cook
So many treats, so little time!
This list keeps me organized in that department. There are certain “must makes” that get repeated every year, such as those listed. I also add a few new things to the mix each year as well. There is plenty of room on this page to add whatever I need to.
Note: This page is the list of things I’m making to give away as gifts. I have several things I’m going to add here but my friend, Rachel, pointed out last night that I needed to specify that this isn’t all of my holiday baking and treat making, just the gift treats.
Gift Tracker Page
Each year I make out a Christmas budget as to who I am buying gifts for and how much I am spending on each person on my list. We don’t buy for many people outside of immediate family but this helps me keep up with who we bought for and if I went over or under budget.
You can also add a budget sheet to your planner if you like, which would be easy to track with just a few columns.
In case you missed it, I wrote a post a few weeks back with 10 Great Budget Friendly Gifts For Anyone that has some unique and useful gift ideas. I have a kitchen version coming up!
Individual Family Gift Pages
These are for immediate family members, the ones I buy multiple gifts for at Christmas. I buy my Christmas earlier in the year (I finished shopping for this year a month ago) and this list keeps me from forgetting things I’ve purchased months earlier. I also have a cost column to keep me in budget and a check area for after the gifts are wrapped and put under the tree. One of my favorite spots are “stocking”, “looking for”, and “to do” for each person. This is where I really enjoy personalizing and seeing what fun surprises I can come up with.
Here are Brady and Katy’s lists. I’m happy to report that these are all filled in now!
I try to keep a well stocked pantry of holiday ingredients around Christmastime and limit my outings to the store as much as possible due to the craziness and crowds. I start early writing up a list of items I know I will need and add others to the list as I select more recipes. By keeping this in my purse at all times during the season I have an ongoing list of things I need to buy with me at all times.
Christmas Eve Day Plotter
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are big doings at my house and although they both constitute a lot of work, it seems infinitely easier if I have a list so I don’t have to spend half my time trying to remember what I’m supposed to be doing next or fretting over whether or not I forgot something.
I like to make as many of my dishes ahead of time as possible so a little check off list helps me see what else I have to make. This also prevents me from forgetting to put something on my menu out and discovering it long after the meal is over – something that has happened all too often in the past!
What are you cooking Christmas day? What do you need to get for the meal? Is any of it made ahead of time? What do you need to do to prepare? This page covers all of that!
I’ll post a picture of this page once the menu is filled in on my Instagram later this week or next week.
Table Of Contents
Lastly, I make a table of contents. My book is ever growing because I add more pages as I find them necessary, so this is more of a living table of contents. If you go back and look you’ll notice I put a page number in the bottom right of each page. I then come back here and list them along with their numbers for easy referencing.
To recap, here are some pages you might want to create in your Christmas Planner:
- Christmas Budget
- Deck The Halls (rooms to decorate, decorations to put up, etc)
- Holiday Traditions and To Do’s
- Gift Tracker
- Individual Gift Pages (for children, etc)
- Things To Cook (Holiday baking and treats you want to make)
- Christmas Party Planner Page
- Grocery List (and other things to buy)
- Christmas Eve Menu and Planner
- Christmas Day Menu and Planner
- Putting it away (decorations to take down along with where you stored them for easy finding next year!)
- Advent Events (I put these in my personal daily planner)
- Daily focus verses for Advent (again, these are in my personal planner but I may transfer them to this for heirloom’s sake)
Materials I used:
- Any notebook will do for this but this tutorial features a notebook from Erin Condren with a customized color. If you want to go this route, click here and sign up for their email list to get a code for $10 off. They will send you 3 emails and the third one is very important: 1. a confirmation email (which you have to read and click a link to confirm), 2. a welcome email, 3. and then an email with a code for $10 off your first purchase. All of these emails come within about ten minutes. However, you can use any notebook you like. I’m just letting you know in case you wanted one like I have. The custom cover is included in the price of the notebook. *My notebook cover is Mod Morocco in custom color way jade+red.
- Fine Point Sharpies or other pens of your choice. I like to use colored ones to keep it seasonal and fun.
- Christmas Washi Tape – this is a decorative tape that I put around the borders of some of my pages. You absolutely don’t have to do this but I had it handy so I used it. Washi tape may be purchased at any arts and crafts store in the scrapbooking section. You can also find some cute Washi at the Dollar Tree if you are lucky and figure out where your particular store has placed it for display.
- Ruler – I use a simple ruler to draw my lines in order to keep them straight.
That’s it! With a little thought and about half an hour of my time I’ve created a customized, ultimate Christmas planner for my family that will be useful to me for years to come and become a cherished heirloom after that!
In the comments below, I’d love to hear what pages you would add to your planner or what other pages you think will be useful. Inspire us!
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“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above….” ~James 1:7