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. Complement to a household notebook, it'll track preparations for a stress-free holiday season.
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.
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.
Whatever the format, the concept remains the same. The Christmas planner is 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 Notebooks, but even the art-impaired (like me!) can slide photos or holiday cards into the see-through pocket of a clear-view binder.
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 cover. Label a binder "Manuals and Warranties" and slide it into the bookcase between college textbooks and old phone directories, or label your Christmas planner section, "PTA Meeting Notes” to keep Christmas secrets until the big day.
Divide and conquer
A good Christmas planner notebook relies on dividers to make information accessible. Every family’s needs are different, but most Christmas 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 for your Christmas planner.
- 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
Dividers, lists and forms are only the beginning of a well-seasoned Christmas planner. Add these supplies to the list; they’ll make it easier to use your Christmas planning tool:
- Lined paper for notes and lists
- 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
Christmas Notebook 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!
Christmas Notebook Tip: Give the Gift!
Making a Christmas planner to organize the holidays this year? 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!
Printables for a Christmas Planner
Keep tabs on Christmas spending with a printable Holiday Budget planner page.
Best way to an organized Christmas? Focus on your values before the season. This worksheet makes it easy!
Sending holiday cards and letters? Keep track of addresses, cards sent and received with this Christmas Card list printable.
Planning the holiday season with the help of a Christmas planner? Add this printable for 2021 Christmas Card list.
The list of lists: a printable Master Gift List for Christmas giving. Free printable for an organized Christmas.
Santa's best elves know the secret to organized gift-giving: a gift closet. Track your store of gift items here.
Get the info you need for great gift-giving, with this printable Gift Ideas Planner. Tracks sizes, colors, interests and ideas.
Crafting handmade gifts this year? Keep tabs on unfinished items with a Gifts-to-Make Planner.
Ordering online can get hectic, with emails flying. Keep tabs on catalog or Internet orders this holiday season, with a printable Internet Order Tracker.
Buying stocking stuffers around the year can save money ... if you can find them. Solution: a stocking stuffers tracker.
Shopping Black Friday or Cyber Monday holiday sales? Stay organized with this printable holiday sales planner.
A pretty shopping list lightens the mood ... so try this printable Christmas holiday shopping list with graphic.
Set a pretty table--without stress--with the help of this Holiday Tabletop Checklist. Get ready for holiday hospitality.
Wrapping, mailing and shipping holiday gifts is easier with the right tools. Check supplies with this Wrap and Mail Checklist.
Keep the household running smoothly with a Holiday Chore Checklist. Celebrate from a clean and organized home.
Plan holiday home improvements--and hone them to the achievable few--with a Home Spruce-Up Worksheet.
Holiday meals are the centerpiece of family celebrations. Plan holiday menus and meals with this printable.
Christmas is coming! Get the family ready to step out and shine, with this printable Holiday Wardrobe Planner.
Holiday treats mean new focus on the pantry. Record holiday ingredients and plan menus with this pantry inventory.
Holiday mornings are hectic enough, without playing "hunt the recipe!" Record the location of favorite holiday recipes here, for easy access.
What's hiding in your holiday freezer? Keep a record of baked goods, holiday meals and make-ahead side dishes.
Where's the recipe? Christmas morning is no time to scour cookbooks for favorite holiday recipes. Record them here.
Organize potluck events for family, church or school with a printable holiday potluck planner.
When it's time to decorate, shop from home, first! Record holiday decorations on this decor inventory.
Decorating for Christmas? Know what goes where, with this room-by-room holiday decor planner.
Hauling out the holiday decorations? Keep track of what's in which box ... with a holiday decor storage tracker.
Christmas collectables are prized in many families. Manage collections with this printable planner page.
Record the family's favorite Christmas books, holiday music and videos with this printable planner page.
Holiday ornaments are often special gifts with deep meaning and history. Keep track of ornaments with this printable journal.
What special traditions does your family observe during the holiday season? Record them for reference each year.
Christmas is coming! Help the little ones--and Grandma, too--with this Child's Gift List.
Don't let the season end without a record of the high points. This Holiday Memories page notes the best of the season. Save the memories!
At the end of the season, try this simple exercise. Next year, you'll remember what worked ... and where improvement is needed.
Be it resolved: this is the year you'll keep New Years' Resolutions. Promote accountability and improve the chance of success with a printable New Year's Resolutions tracker.