Saturday, June 09, 2007

My Christmas Notebook, Part 1

For awhile now, I've been wanting to share the general content of my Christmas notebook. It's a helpful tool for me, and I think others would find it so, too. For my notebook, I used one of those neat view binders. I pasted neat Christmas pictures and quotes on plain white paper and slipped them into the view pockets on front and back. This personalizes the notebook and makes it fun to use.

My Christmas notebook, like everything else in my life seems to be, is a work in progress. It's full of ideas, lists, and organizational helps. It's helpful to have most of my Christmas planning in one place.

In the front, I have a section with Rudolph Day ideas that I printed out some time ago. I don't think I have actually ever done any of these things on a Rudolph Day (25th of each month) but I really intend to -- some one of these days. Here are a couple of ideas:

* Buy stocking stuffers
* Make tags/labels for homemade gift mixes
* Work on holiday scrapbook pages
* Try out a recipe you'd like to make at Christmastime.

You can see that there are simple things, like the above, which can be done all through the year to help prepare for Christmas.

In this section, I also have the monthly Rudolph Club meetings printed out. These contain wonderful ideas to do toward Christmas, every month of the year. One neat suggestion: buy canning jars in summer, during canning season, to use for gifts in a jar at Christmas. (I'm too frugal to do this, but I do save instant coffee jars all year round to use for the same purpose!) Another thought is that summer, when the pace of life is a little slower for most people, is a good time to craft for Christmas. One year, I made cross-stitched Christmas bread cloths for special gifts and worked on them while we were camping. It actually made me feel a little bit cooler!

In the next section, I have forms from Organized Christmas and FlyLady's Holiday Control Journal. Lots of helpful stuff there. I think I've shared before about the holiday baking planner -- very helpful indeed! The forms for Gifts to Make and Gifts to Purchase are invaluable, as is the Gift Closet Inventory and the Catalog Order Tracker. These are all things I use every year.

This past year I used the Room-by-Room Decor Planner from Organized Christmas to plan my decor, and then after the decorating was all done I made notes on this form of exactly where I put each item. For example -- Christmas tree -- picture window; lighted village -- under tree; creche -- on hutch, and so on. All the years of decorating tend to blur together after awhile, and so I think it's a great idea to keep track of what you did that worked well.

Organized Christmas also offers (in the Holiday Grand Plan) some thought-provoking questions to ask yourself as you begin to plan for Christmas. These can be found in "Week Two: Question Week" of the HGP. I found them very helpful.

Organized Christmas also has a After-Christmas debriefing form to fill out after Christmas to evaluate how things went, what worked, what didn't, and what you want to do differently in the coming year. This has been helpful to me.

Well, this is about all I have time to share for now. In the next few days I can share some of the other things that reside in my Christmas notebook. I recommend that if you think you'd like to plan better for Christmas 2007, you should take a look at Organized Christmas and print off some of the forms I've mentioned here. You'll be glad you did!

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