When my first child was born, I realized that I wanted to make each holiday memorable. I don’t mean grand and glorious (although that may naturally be part of the beautiful holiday season), but rich with family experiences and rituals. I set about researching each holiday and finding lots of ideas. I quickly ran into the problem of trying to find all of the gems I’d discovered last year again this year. Also, I would try some things and they worked wonderfully for our family (holiday experiences advent calendar), but some were miserable failures (blueberry cranberry sauce). With each child, the holidays seem to get more and more complicated. Layers of tradition that I did not want to be forgotten made holiday organization all the more necessary.It was time to find a permanent and convenient home for the lists and planning pages that I had been collecting from holidays gone by. I purchased a 3-ring binder, some tabbed dividers with pockets, a zippered pouch, and a ream of printer paper. Then I gathered my 3-hole punch, pens, and materials to begin my holiday organizational manual. Now not only did I gain a place to store all magazine articles, craft ideas, recipes, and pictures of decorations, but I now have a handbook in which to plan my attack. Here are some of the pages most vital to any promising holiday handbook.
Calendar Page –
A blank December Calendar lets me plan how best to use the days leading up to Christmas to my best advantage. Armed with a calendar, I can project when I need to make my cards, when cards and gifts need to be mailed, which weekend would be best for our annual holiday party, what the last feasible shopping day should be, which date the annual pageant will be on, and so on.Holiday Card List –
A numbered page with blank lines that I can fill in the names of those to whom we are sending our family’s cards. This is an invaluable page to me as I can refer to it next year when preparing to send out cards again. No more starting lists from scratch and no more hunting for last year’s list. Holiday Gift List –
Get this list started just after the holidays. Use it to write down ideas for next year’s gifts as they come up. If your daughter tells you that she wants a certain kind of doll, don’t leave it to your memory. Then as you purchase gifts for your family, write it down. The best way not to over-gift someone is to keep a record. Gifts Received List –
The sweaters knitted by Great-Aunt Mildred, the cash given by Grandpa Henry, or the fruitcake baked by a childhood friend all can be recorded on this handy list as a way of looking back and remembering how loved you and your family have been over the years. This list also makes it easy when preparing to write holiday Thank You cards. Holiday Guest List –
If you plan an annual holiday party, then you’ll be needing some guests to fill your house with love and laughter. This is the page you will use to keep track of invitations you send and RSVPs you receive.
Holiday Party Planner –
Prepare for the big day by plotting it all out on paper first. Use this page to help you decide what type of party you will throw, what food and drinks to serve, and what the preparation and party timeline will be.Holiday Meal Planner –
There are some who believe that it is not a holidays without a special meal. Use this page to plot out your family’s favorite traditional dishes. Include recipes, a timeline for meal preparation, and details (such as table decorations, music, and seating plan).Holiday Memories –
This is one of my favorite pages. This is the place you will get to record the best and most memorable parts of the holiday. You should try to include old and new traditions, parties you attended, ornaments and decorations made or bought, holiday movies enjoyed, holiday music played, and memorable stories told.
Jennifer Tankersley is the creator of ListPlanIt .com where you can find almost 250 lists, checklists, and planning pages (including all of the pages described above) to put your world-and your holidays-in order.