My Best Christmas Planning Tool

Christmas notebooksI know it is 2 weeks before Thanksgiving but today is Christmas Planning Day...a holiday I invented many years ago!  I wrote it on my calendar about a month ago and purchased the most essential item yesterday:  an old-fashioned steno notebook (6 x 9 inch top-flip lined notebook.) Fortunately they still sell them at the large office stores although I doubt if anyone “stenos” anymore!

Even though I do keep some lists, including one for Christmas, on my phone, all my best planning still takes place on paper. I know it’s a little early but with 40 days to go, it’s time to take myself out for breakfast and start a list.

Here are 10 ways I use my notebook, adapt to fit you:

1)     On the first page, I write everything on my holiday to-do list.  Just brainstorm, and don’t worry about the order.  My categories are probably a lot like yours: shopping, decorating, baking, Christmas cards, Advent, special events, traveling, budgeting, holiday meals, church services, ETC.  Are you overwhelmed already?  The notebook holds the details so I don’t have to.

2)     Next I choose a category and break it down, like gifts.  One page per family member, group pages for friends.  Of course everyone doesn’t get a whole page worth of gifts (sorry, kids!) but there is a lot of room to write  ideas, prices, and stocking stuffers before settling on the real deal.

3)     Moving on to the next category like “Special Events, ”  I list all the possibilities: Concerts, plays, neighborhood parties, dinner guests, and so on.  We won’t do it all but what will we do this year?   Do we need to send out invitations?  By when?  How about buy tickets? Purchase or prepare special food?  Get a new top?

4)     I like Christmas cards so I have a page for those.  That list includes purchasing the cards, writing the notes, maybe composing a newsletter,  choosing a photo, buying stamps and fixing a deadline to get into the mail.

5)     Then I fill in the next pages with rest of the categories from the first page, again listing all the steps involved.

6)     I add a “To Order” page and keep track of what’s coming in.

7)     About a week out I start a “Yet to be Done” page and edit it daily.

8)     “What to do after the 25th” fills in the 12 days of Christmas

9)     Finally, “What I want to remember for next year” is usually the last page. Last year I took photos of the decorations so I would remember what goes where.

10)  Next year, I flip it over and start from the back and get two years out of each notebook.

Easy, simple, effective.  Just don’t let the kids find it!

Stay tuned for more holiday helps!

Hope for the best,


PS Need a little more help?  Ask me about Christmas coaching.


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