Thursday, January 02, 2014

Holiday Planning Binder {Checklists and Printables}

In the last few years, I've learned that if I don't get specific about planning the holiday season out, it will wear me down! Here are 20+ printables for you to get started and get organized.

Christmas planning binder 20 sheets and more
Get organized for the holidays this year!
There are certain times of the year where a themed-planner can help you get organized. The Christmas season is one of those times. There are guests to host, gifts to buy, and parties to attend. Yes, the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year can be overwhelming, especially if you are newly married or you have a new baby.  

That's why I created my holiday planning binder. A holiday planning binder can make the season go smoothly and transition you into the next year. In fact, a holiday planing binder can help you manage your time, your energy, and your money over the Christmas season.

Ways to Use this Holiday Planning Binder
  • Organize yourself every holiday season.  
  • Grab supplemental pages. Use some of these free printables and checklists (over 20 templates to choose from!) to supplement a planner you already use.
  • Create a draft. If you can't commit but want to stay flexible in planning, use the printable templates as a "draft" of what you want to do this year and solidify it later in the year. 
  • Give one as a gift. Print one and pass it along to a friend who needs it (they'll thank you!)

The 3 Benefits of Using a Holiday Planning Binder

Every holiday season, I find that there are 3 specific issues that can cause me stress: managing money, managing my time, and managing my energy.  Here's how my planning binder solves these issues.

  • My planner put limits on spending so we do not go over (and even if we do, it isn't by much) The holiday season means we will be spending a little more money than usual. We spend on gifts (mostly for nieces and nephews), decorations, Christmas cards, travel, and food.  It's so easy to be enticed by pre-Christmas and post-Christmas sales. My planner's budget and checklists help me identify what we can spend. For instance, we try to allocate a recommended 1.5% of our annual income to our holiday budget based on this holiday budget calculator. Of that total, we can break it down further: gifts - 30%; parties - 10%; travel - 40%; food - 15%; and donations - 5%.  Having a budget helps me make better purchasing decisions and it motivates me to be creative about gift giving and party planning.
  • My planner helps me find the time to get my holiday to do-list done (on top of my daily routine) One stressful aspect of the holiday season is that it can totally disrupt my daily routine---if I let it. I need to find the time in my schedule to shop, decorate, bake, host, etc. on top of doing household chores such as laundry and cooking. My planner's calendar allows me to see the entire planning landscape so I can avoid last minute purchases and running to the grocery store on Christmas Eve. Having checklists of your family holiday routines are helpful in this area. Control your schedule; don't let it control you!
  • My planner helps me conserve energy so I can spend it connecting with people. Planning helps me prioritize people. In the past I've regretted the times I've lost touched with friends and family--all because I was indecisive and I didn't have the energy. I now want to be intentional about my relationships during the holidays. What the planner allows me to do is shift the energy spent on "figuring out how to get it all done" to energy spent hanging out with family and friends--new and old. In doing so, we can honor family traditions. That in itself is the biggest benefit!

Why The Holiday Planner Works: "1 hour of planning saves 10 hours of doing"

Or so the saying goes. 

In other words, when you put in time to streamline your holiday routines, you eliminate certain steps that take up more time (but are required) in doing these routines.

This concept can be referred to as "diminishing a task," a phrase that Julie Morgenstern, a personal organizer and productivity consultant, wrote about in this blog post. 

I "diminish a task" when I use printable lists, reminders and recipes because it helps me cut down on research, writing, and thinking time! 

For instance, you may have a holiday tradition of baking cookies every year or hosting a Christmas breakfast. When you create a yearly holiday menu and grocery list, you eliminate the extra time spent every year coming up with easy and tasty meal ideas.

Maybe you wanted to send Christmas cards, but never got around to it because you don't have a place to collect people's addresses and emails.  Use a Christmas card printable to write down contact information and you won't spend extra time scrambling every year to find people's information!

The Holiday Planning Binder works because it allows you to do all your planning (schedules and tasks) in one place and it establishes a system that helps you identify what needs to get done. You can then prioritize your tasks and become more efficient. Just follow the checklists, add or subtract what doesn't work for you this year, and keep on keepin' on every year! 

What I included in the Holiday Planner

All of the following printables are PDFs that can be downloaded.

Title Page
Choose from any of these!

Holiday Planning Binder Christmas Title Pages
Add a title page to your Holiday Planning Binder.

The first part of the binder contains a vertical calendar and a calendar and list of activities to consider at least 2-3 months prior to Christmas and leading up to the end of December. A calendar is very useful in developing yearly traditions for you and your family. It's also useful for writing down deadlines (mail and shipping information for instance). You can also use it to reflect back on what worked and what didn't work for you and your family that year. Use this template every year and modify as needed. 

Lists & Tasks
The second part of the binder includes lists and common holiday tasks. You may find yourself referring to these lists before and throughout the holiday season.

Decorating your house with Christmas decorations template
Planning Template: Holiday Decorations (room-by-room)

This is a basic budget.  A budget is helpful in controlling spending.

The third part of the binder is a reference section.  It contains lists/templates that may or may not be used. Print whatever you need to complete your planner.

There are many ways to organize and divide your binder.  One way to organize your binder is by using dividers for each section:  (1) Calendar; (2) Lists; and (3) Extras/Reference

Another way to organize your binder is to divide it by important categories: (1) Calendar (2) Gift List; (3) Holiday Recipes; (4) Grocery and Supply Lists; and (5) List of Christmas Traditions and Ideas; and (6) Other (other checklists just in case).

No matter how you organize your binder, personalize it and make it your own. You'll be more motivated to use it.  For example, I used sheet protectors for some of my lists. I also had leftover paper punch shapes from my holiday gift tag project.  I slipped these cutouts into the sheet protector for a little festive feel!

Holiday Planning Binder paper cutouts
Use sheet protectors and add paper punch cutouts inside the protector for a festive feel. You can take a hole puncher and do the same with textured or shiny paper.

I hope these printables help you get it together this year! By putting in some time to create a holiday planning binder, you can create a yearly routine for you and your family.  Don't let the meaning of Christmas be buried under wrapping paper and bows. Drop the perfectionism and just go ahead with some planning! You can do it. 

How do you manage your time every holiday season? Do you write it down? 

Try the Holiday Planning Binder! Save time, money and energy by using it every year!

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