Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Christmas Planning Binder

I know what you're thinking...She's one of THOSE crazies who thinks about and plans for Christmas all year long. And you'd be right! And you're probably also thinking Christmas was over a month ago! Let it rest for the next 11 months! And sorry, I can't! Go ahead and throw things at me if you wish, but I promise this post can make your life easier!

So, it's January and I'm already thinking about next Christmas. (I've even bought a couple of gifts already! Please don't hate me!) I know it sounds incredibly crazy. However, by planning for one of the craziest times of the year during one of the least crazy times of the year helps me to really focus on what I can do to make it as seamless as possible. During the first few weeks of the near year, I update my "Christmas Planning Binder", which is code for simple 1.5" notebook with dividers and is labeled appropriately.

You don't have to have a cute page in the front like I do, but I'm finding that the cuter I make things, the more likely I am to use them. So, thanks to some free digital scrapbook downloads and about 5 minutes of my time I have a nice little cover for my binder.

Inside, I keep all the Christmas planning/event supplies organized with labeled dividers.
In the Gift Ideas section, I keep tutorials for how to make homemade gifts and also magazine and catalog tear outs that contain items I might be interested in purchasing for a friend or family member.

In the Gift List section, I have a handy chart complete with the names of everyone that we purchase gifts for. This helps me to make note of ideas for that specific person, items already purchased and any type of budget for that person. This is just a simple chart I've made with the help of Microsoft Excel and can be done in a matter of minutes. Each year, I just print out a fresh copy.

The Cards S/R section contains a list of all the Christmas card recipients on out list. I have another handy Excel chart here to help me keep track of the cards we send and receive each year.

In the Addresses section, I have an address database containing all the names and addresses for the cards we send. In this section, I also keep a tutorial (thanks, Mom!) for how to properly complete the Mail Merge Action for Word/Excel so that I can print mailing labels to slap on the cards. This saves me TONS of time!

Under the Games tab I keep, you guessed it, games! I have copies of a couple of different Christmas themed games that I can use for parties or family gatherings. Games are a HUGE deal with our family at Christmas, so this section has proved to be helpful.

In the back of the notebook, I have several clear dividers to help keep something wrangled together. I have a divider for receipts that correspond with the items we purchase for gifts. I have a couple of dividers for Christmas letter stationery and mailing labels.
I also stash a little notebook paper in the back for note taking along with an ink pen.

I know this system won't work for everyone, but nearly every woman on my mom's side of the family has a binder like this and it's worked for us for years! So, take this time when Christmas isn't being jammed down our throats to thoughtfully plan and prepare for the most wonderful time of the year!

Do you already have a notebook of your own like this? How do you keep your Christmas plans and ideas organized? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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