I am the type of person that makes “to do list” and checks off what has been accomplished and what needs to be carried over to the next day. Lately I find myself carrying over more then I would like to. I find that it helps me with my busy life. I started this years ago when I stayed at home during the day and worked late nights. Active stay at home/working mother I found it a must when I teamed taught 2nd grade Sunday School, boys in multiple sports events, PTA, elementary school year book, planned 2 dens in Cub Scouts, planned pack meetings for Cub Scouts, and then eventually the Committee Chair Person for our pack. I felt a list helps with challenges and stress and possibly confusion at times. My planner is not as full any longer since moving to Iowa City I am just not active in events like this. I am more of a spectator at this point in my life, which is good for me. I still do not have the energy as I used to since my divorce. I am hoping I regain some of that energy once I become healthier.
Where am I going with all of this you may be asking? Well let’s face it. The holidays can be one of the busiest and stressful times of the year. Why not keep a holiday planning notebook to help you through this time of the year?! How should you set up your holiday planner notebook? Good question. There are no set rules on exactly how to set up said planner notebook. It is your notebook you could be as creative as you want to be or as simple no one will judge you. You may want to choose a certain color of ink pen to keep it festive if you wish as well. Here are two of my suggestions on creating the holiday planner notebook.
· A notebook binder. This could be red or green in color. You could even get a white one that has the clear pocket in the front and make a collage of your favorite photos for this holiday season. The sky is the limit. I would label the binder with the year. You can use either a sharpie or a label if you have one of those cool label makers.
· Loose leaf paper. You need something to write on. If you wish you could even pick up colored paper and use a 3 ring hole puncher so you can store it in your holiday planner binder.
· Dividers. The number of dividers all depends on your categories.
· Pocket folders. Always a good idea to store loose papers, Christmas cards, receipts.
* A simple spiral notebook with pocket folders. They have 3-5 subject binders and I find the 5 Star brand works great for the children when they are in high school.
No matter what you choose as your planner, I do suggest that you hang on to it so you can review it the following year if need be. Make sure you store it in a place where you will remember and have easy access to the following year.
What should your planner include? Again there is no correct answer but here is what I include in mine.
My first page is a calendar. You will probably refer to this often. Make sure you add all events and dates on this calendar so you do not double book yourself.
Christmas Card Section. Keep a list of the people you send cards to from year to year. Make note of anyone that has moved or last names possibly changed from prior year. I know some people also keep track of who sent them Christmas Card the year prior to add to their list this year or they may use it as a way to weed out their list. (Personally, I am not going to omit someone because they did not send me a card. There have been several years that I did not send cards. The way I view this, it’s the time of year to give. Just my personal belief.)
Visiting Section. This section could include where you visit, who visits you. I use this to keep track of whose house our children spend the holiday with. My boys I get the privilege to have Christmas with every other year. The girls do the same with their mother. Keep a list of things that need to be brought to the other parents house during their visit if need be so you can check it off when they pack. Some people travel for the holidays. This could be a good place to keep notes as to where you stay if you book a hotel or any other travel arrangements that need to be made. Jotting down a review of that hotel later is a good idea to keep a memory if you should book there again.
Menus and Recipes. Let’s face it; food is a big part of the holiday festive. You may have a few little gatherings where you need to bring something. Planning on what you are going to take down to the recipe is a great idea. Also, this is a great place to jot down some of your favorite foods at said gatherings and check with that friend to see if they would share their recipe. You could also break this down into further sections such as the holiday it self, for example Menu for Thanksgiving, Menu for Christmas Eve, Menu for Christmas, and Menu for New Year’s, as well as individual parties. The pocket folder would definitely be wise here so you can keep your recipes for your menu, if they are on cards or if you print one off of the computer. If you are following one from a cook book, remember to jot down the page as well as the name of the food you have on your menu. It saves time later.
Receipts Section. This is a must in your holiday planner. A simple pocket folder would be ideal to place all your receipt into. A quick notation on the receipt is important if something is missing on such as the store’s return policy. Keeping receipts is always a good idea in case you have to return the item. ***SECOND THOUGHT*** I just came up with a better idea for receipts instead of using pocket folder a zipper pencil case (that you can place in the folder) would work better. The receipts would not fall out if you dropped the folder. This would work to keep recipes in as well.
Gifts Section. This is where I write gift ideas as well as a list of people who will be receiving gifts.
Shopping List Section. You can keep a list for several different things here. (I would exclude the gifts since you have a section already for gifts OR you could eliminate the gift section entirely and keep it all in this section.) Ideas to keep here could be: entertaining, decorations, food, home improvement and so on.
Budget Section. With the economy the way it is this section may be a very important factor for you. At the beginning of the holiday season jot down what you think is a reasonable budge to spend. You could also apply this to each section of your planning notebook. It is important to keep track of how much you are spending. Are you staying on budget?
Tradition Section. This may be nice to keep because an important part of the holidays to some is tradition. The older you get the more important it becomes in my opinion. You could number the tradition as of value to your family, incase time or money is ever a factor; you are able to participate with the important once. Traditions could be as to decorating, menu of the gathering, activities you may do at your get together, bake goodies, driving and looking at Christmas Lights.
Parties or Entertaining Section. If you happen to be throwing an event this section would be handy as well. Keep notes of you are inviting with RSVP, menus, recipes, decorations. Keep notes what worked well and what to improve on for the next event.
Cleaning Schedule Section. This section I find helpful to keep me on track as to make sure if my carpet needs to be cleaned that I get it done, to just the normal tidying up before the actual event.
What do you include in your Holiday planning?