Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Organized
As we get ready for Christmas, we’ll be making lists (and checking them a lot more than twice!), holding discussions with spouses, children and parents, and drawing up a holiday budget. Too often, we record our plans piecemeal, consigning them to a confused clutter of scrawled envelopes, jotted notes and cryptic calendar entries—none of which make it to the shopping center with us when it’s time to buy gifts.
Organized people keep the results of their work in a central place: a Christmas planner.
Easy to make and easier to use, a Christmas planner cuts through holiday clutter and keeps planning on track. Home to lists and recipes, calendars and gift ideas, this simple tool is the architect and source of a serene celebration.
Try these ideas to create and use a Christmas planner: your personal guide to an organized Christmas.
Find a format
A Christmas planner notebook is usually just that--a standard three-ring binder—but it doesn’t have to be. Your Christmas planner may be less conventional: a file stored on a computer, a set of index cards, a spiral steno pad, a section in your personal planner or a database recorded in a digital PDA.
Looking for ideas for creative Christmas planners? Check out the resources, links and planner tours at Christmas Planner! A focus site from Organized Christmas, you'll find examples, links and printables from the Web's most creative Christmas planners.
Whatever the format, the Christmas planner concept remains the same. It’s a single-source reference for all things Christmas, and it will become your best friend as we get ready for the season.
A pretty cover sets a happy tone, so create one for your Christmas planner.
Paper crafters enjoy adding decorative covers to their Christmas planners, but even the art-impaired (like me!) can slide photos or holiday cards into the see-through pocket of a clear-view binder. Simpler still: print free cover and spine forms from our Forms Library for a fast, festive touch.
You’ll want to keep your Christmas planner to yourself, however! It will contain information not for the prying eyes of eager family members.
If Christmas curiosity reaches a fever pitch in your household, consider the Hide-In-Plain-Sight method for your planner's cover. Label a binder "Manuals and Warranties" and slide it into the bookcase between college textbooks and old phone directories, or title your computer's Christmas planner section, "PTA Meeting Notes” to keep Christmas secrets until the big day.
Divide and conquer
A good Christmas planner relies on dividers to make information accessible. Every family’s needs are different, but most planners will contain these dividers:
- Gift Lists
- Christmas Cards
- Meals and Menus
Other families add dividers for seasonal holidays, service projects, children’s’ activities, or personal sections for each family member.
Dividers are as unique and individual as the families they serve, so choose dividers that make sense for you.
Here are some additional divider suggestions:
- New Years’
- Year-Round Holidays
- Rudolph Club
- Sale Flyers
- Craft Projects
- Christmas Baking
- Cookie Collection
- Recipes Tried and True
- Recipes to Try
- In the Freezer
- Cleaning Calendar
- Inspiration and Faith
- Poems and Stories
- Music and Carols
- Movies and Books
- Web Sites
- Décor Room-by-Room
- Christmas Past
New! Looking for dividers to print? Check these locations for printable Christmas planner divider pages:
- Dividers for Christmas Countdown Planner
- Dividers for House & Holidays Planner
- Dividers for Holiday Grand Plan Notebook
Supply stash. Dividers, lists and forms are only the beginning of a well-seasoned Christmas planner notebook. Add these supplies to the list; they’ll make it easier to use your Christmas planning tool:
- Lined paper for notes and lists
- Free printable forms from OrganizedChristmas.Com
- Clear plastic page protectors
- Pocket pages
- Large manila envelopes
- Post-It brand notes and flags
- Zipper pencil case
- Pencils, markers and highlighter
- Three-hole punch
Planner Tip: Make it portable!
Whether you set up a binder, use an existing planner or harness the power of an electronic organizer, be sure you can take your Christmas planner with you. Gift lists, shopping lists, clothing size records, wardrobe inventories, decor ideas and pantry planners should be at your fingertips ... anywhere!
Planner Tip: Give the Gift!
Making a Christmas planner? Don’t stop at one: a pre-made Christmas planner is a welcome gift for a sister or a friend. Include calendars and forms for use next season. You’ll get ready for Christmas together!