The days are flying by at my house as we bake, mail Christmas cards, wrap gifts, and generally have a nice time being together. I have a tip to share that has been a lifesaver for me the past few years. My brain is so full that I can’t possibly keep track of the details required to pull off Christmas for a family of fourteen – I have to get everything out of my head, on paper, and into my Christmas Notebook.
My notebook is a simple three ring binder with three sections:
1. Menus and Recipes
I keep a record of our holiday menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and any parties we host. I include notes about quantities, what worked, what didn’t, and anything that will help me in future years.
I also keep a list of cookies we bake and copies of the recipes in page protectors. With Sweet Pea home for two weeks, we’re being more ambitious about the variety we are tackling. She made a chart of the ingredients needed for our recipes, including pounds of butter, cups of coconut, etc., that I’ll save for next year to make shopping easy.
This year we are giving each child one main gift, a small gift, and a book. I keep a chart showing what I have purchased for each person and what I still need to get. I can see at a glance which kids I am done shopping for and which ones still need one more thing. We also give each child an ornament every year. I make notes about things they have expressed an interest in and keep their little “wish lists” from year to year.
This is the most important section of all! I keep notes of how many Christmas cards I send and how many I need to order next year — I ran out this year! I make a list of things I’ve already purchased for the next year such as wrapping paper, bows, kids’ ornaments, and a list of items I’ll need to purchase, like more white lights.
I keep a list of gifts we’ve given to teachers and other people in our lives. I also make note of people I wish I had given a small gift to.
In essence the notebook becomes my holiday brain and helps me stay organized. I feel less anxious when I can see at a glance that I haven’t forgotten one of my children as I’ve shopped.
It works for me and I hope it helps you! This is the perfect time to start a notebook for next year; when you buy wrapping paper the day after Christmas — write it down!
[note: Renae just left a comment that I want to share. She said that it is a great idea but now she would need to find time to actually make the notebook. I completely understand! This is my response:
Renae, just grab one of your kids’ spiral notebooks or even a tablet to start making notes. You can put them in a notebook later. My notebook has changed over the years. I even have copies of old Christmas letters and photos in it, post-its with handwritten notes from the kids, and pages torn from magazines. It’s just getting it all in one place that helps.
Don’t let this make your life harder! Start with something very simple and add to it as you can.]
Have a great day.
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