Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Holiday Planner

Ta Dah! My new Holiday Planner binder!
Dividers with pockets
There's the calendar, looking deceptively empty...

Our family Christmas letters and photos from previous years.
Note the young son who had tired of having his photo taken in
the bottom photo. We thought it was so funny we sent out both!

Photos of my decorating to help me remember what
we've done in years past.

Just in case I need a little inspiration I've included
a few idea pages.

Next section - Cranberry bread spreadsheet

Christmas Card spreadsheet and label forms
with addresses

Address corrections are easily inserted in a
page protector so I don't forget to update our list.

Our list of Christmas gifts given in 2009

There's my holiday helper with my cookbooks
in the kitchen - easily accessible!

With the holidays on the horizon I wanted to share my Christmas & Holiday Planner with you in case it would benefit anyone. I read about making this binder in Family Fun a few years ago. As I am prone to do, I ripped it out of the magazine with great intentions. After waiting only a few years, I created my wonderful Holiday Planner last year right after the holidays.

So, what's so great about this binder and why should you make one? If you're trying to stay on top of all the fun/stress/busyness that the holidays entail, it could bring you through the season with your sanity intact!

I started with a 2" binder, added 5 tabbed pocket dividers and labelled them: Events, Decorating, Baking & Recipes, Christmas Cards, Gifts.

Events: I have a calendar page printed off the computer that is filled with all our Christmas activities. Our party invitations go in page protectors here after they've been added to my other calendars. They are fun to look at and bring back memories of previous years' entertainments. I also have a section of events that we host. That includes Thanksgiving, a holiday we always host for my family, and our Mother/Daughter Cookie Exchange. We're hosting that party for the third time this year and the invitations are going out tomorrow! It's a lot of fun and the girls and I look forward to it. The guys aren't invited but they DO enjoy the cookies afterward. :)

Decorating: I am boring and very happy to decorate my house the same way (for the most part)every year. I decided last year to take a photo of all the decorations and make it easier for me to remember what went where. The photos are fun to look through and I'll continue to add to them as necessary.

Baking and Recipes: This helps me stay organized with my Cranberry Bread baking marathon. I made an Excel spreadsheet and I can easily see who got my world famous cranberry bread. I give away about 80 loaves so that's a lot of baking! It's a labor of love, trust me. I'm considering going to disposable aluminum pans this year in an effort to simplify.

Christmas Cards: No explanation necessary, I'm sure. Good old Excel spreadsheet and label-making program with addresses saves me a lot of time. I have copies of letters and photos from cards we've sent out each year. It's fun to read what we wrote through the years and look at the old photos.

Gifts: This one isn't so crucial but I thought I'd keep old Christmas lists from the children here and a sheet with all the gifts we gave each year. I'm hoping it will prevent duplicates from one year to the next.

So there you have it. Not that difficult or expensive to create and so helpful! I've already referred to it numerous times and we haven't even hit warp speed yet. The Christmas card photos are ordered, gatherings are being planned and I'm looking forward to all the joy the holidays bring and my planner's assistance in the days to come.


Leah Marie said...

hmm well, i think it's really nice! i like reading all our old Christmas letters.

Auntie Cake said...

Okay, now I feel like I am really unorganized... (I have lists all over my house and panic when I can't find one for even the teeny-tiniest second.) It would be nice to have all my lists in one organized spot. Thanks for the idea. It would be fun to have copies of all our old Christmas pics.

Hope you guys are all having a great fall. We are certainly spoiled with this weather. I am not ready for reality!

Kathy said...

This looks awesome. What a great way to keep yourself organized in the years ahead.

Now, about that 81st loaf of Cranberry Bread.... : )

Blessings, and greater joy this next Christmas season.

WendyBee said...

I am so impressed that you put this system together. FLYlady suggests something like this, and in the past, I have printed out the pages and even filled some of them in, but I haven't stuck to it. I do think it helped even to do the little bit that I did. Now, I 'm going to let it percolate, and try to make a decision if I want to try it again this year. It's a great way to help you keep expenses to a budget, but it's also a little depressing in this economy when even having a Christmas budget presents a strain.....
But, I keep in mind that failing to plan is like planning to fail....

Libbie said...

Holy Smokes!!!! You are amazing! In my next life I will be organized & not scribble things into 5 different notebooks & lose them all! (lose looks funny to me right now :) I Love a girl happy to decorate the smae way every year! good idea to take a few pics!!!

I am so jealous of your snow shoeing tomorrow! i think both pups are in for a treat ...although i have to say the yorkie...maybe a little smarter :) i love taking my kids for sled rides but Rocco screams so much it is painful!!! I will try again tomorrow though :) Poor thing :) He would like to ride up in your coat with your puppy :)

Shelley said...

I LOVE this idea!!! Thanks for sharing.
BTW... your comment about not wearing a denim jumper cracked me up. A very close friend of mine homeschools and says, "you don't have to wear a prairie dress and churn your own butter."