Planning for the Holidays (and a Free Printable Planner)

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As Thanksgiving draws to a close and we wrap up our Black Friday shopping- which I didn't partake in this year- it's time to begin the Christmas planning. For the record, I hate decorating, and the thought of planning for Christmas gives me a permanent twitch that lasts through December. When I was a young wife and mom and thought I had to do it all every year, I stayed stressed from October on.

I've matured a little (sometimes) and realize that I don't have to do it all. We do Christmas in a pretty small way around here. We have some special traditions. But we don't do much in the way of decorating or parties. Simple is better for me. When I keep it simple, we can all enjoy the season a little more with much less stress.

One way to alleviate a little stress is by planning. Planning doesn't have to involve lots of detail. But even some basic planning can help the holiday season to go a little more smoothly. Here are some basics that have helped me to stay a little more sane during the holidays. And keep reading for a free printable planner pack for the holidays.

Planning for the holidays and a free planner

Have a visual
I like to be able to see the month and the dates as I'm planning the holidays. Use a monthly calendar to get a glimpse of the whole holiday season, and always check this as you're making your plans. It's too easy to forget and double schedule when you can't see your month planned out. I like to have a November and a December calendar ready to start putting events on early in the fall. Although I keep a very detailed calendar all year long, I really like to have this holiday view separate as well as writing events on my regular calendar.

Plan cards and gifts early in the year.
Many people don't send cards anymore. We like to send a Christmas photo card- especially to friends or family who don't live locally. It helps to have a list of who to send these to and their addresses- all in one place. I make a list of the families we want to mail a card to, and then I can check them off as we go.
I list out people to purchase gifts for in the same way. It helps to have this list ready early in the year. That way I can purchase gifts along and not have to use that money all at once.

Have a list of the traditions that I really want to do with the family.
As busy as we are during the holiday, if I don't plan for something, I'm probably not going to do it. So when I have something special that I want to do with the kids, it's important to write it down and schedule it. Otherwise, it probably won't get done.

With a little preplanning, the holiday season can be less stressful and more fun for everyone. For a free printable holiday planner, click here (newsletter subscribe).

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