Christmas Notebook Revamp: Week One

Discussion in 'Christmas Notebooks' started by Gingerbug, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Gingerbug

    Gingerbug Administrator

    As noted in the Christmas notebook thread, many of us are in different parts of life where a full-blown Christmas notebook just isn't as needed as it was in the past. This past year my most used sections were simply gift tracking and menu planning. As I might have mentioned elsewhere this year I am returning to my old format which was a simple red three-ring binder. This is because

    1, It gives me plenty of room.
    2. It can be totally personalized
    3. I don't feel a need or obligation to decorate it. (can if I want)
    4. I can remove and add sheets at will

    So I'm old schooling it this year. It doesn't matter how you use your notebook it is always good to revamp and start fresh at the beginning of the year. For WEEK ONE let's talk about the sections we have in our notebooks. What we use, what we can scrap and how they help us all year long.

    1. Calendars: I only include Oct-Dec. I don't even use the October one a lot but I feel like the holiday season starts for us in October. This helps me track events and activities we plan. If I think of something during the year that I think I might want to do during this time period I jot it on my To Consider List at the front of this section.

    2. Rudolph Day: I have not used Rudolph Day for several years but this year I plan to work on creating a Whoville each Rduolph Day so I kept the section for supplies, plans etc.

    3. The next section(s) all pertain to gifts and since I buy stuff throughout the year they are very important. Not only for what I bought but where it is stored. I have Gifts, 24 Day gifts, Stocking Stuffers, and Elf Magic. (we don't have any littles now but I still like to spice up the season for adults too with surprise elf gifts)

    4. Baking Plans/Menu Plans: Like many of you we are trying to eat healthier (this year we made FAR too many cookies) but I still like this section for picking 3-4 cookies for the holiday season and for planning menu for the
    events we host. This year I will be looking for some healthier alternatives and put them in this section so I have them handy when the busy season strikes.

    What are your sections? What are you keeping? Which are you ditching?
  2. Lori K

    Lori K Member

    I have followed the Holiday Grand Plan for more years than I remember -- some years more successfully than others. As a working Mom, prepping the house for Christmas always seemed to take longer and create more stress than the holiday was worth (at least some years!), and this plan seemed to spread things out more evenly for me and make the holiday more manageable. As Gingerbug does, I use a standard three-ring binder – mine is a green one with large rings, and it was a discarded "freebie" from work. I don’t decorate mine, either. For me, keeping the “magic” in the season often meant keeping my plans a secret. The less distinct my notebook was, the better.

    At the front of my notebook, I keep the HGP calendars for Sept.-Dec., as well as a 12-month single-page calendar for the following year, to have for for quick reference. Additionally, I keep some plain notebook paper in the front of my binder for making quick notes and tear-out lists. Those few remaining pages from one of my DD’s old school spirals work perfectly fine, with the left edges trimmed. I also inserted a pocket folder, with a a large envelope inside for all holiday receipts. Should a gift receipt get lost, at least I know where the original is located.

    When I first started using the HGP, I printed out the weekly texts and task forms and put each Week in a separate Tab. Now, I simply re-use the notebook and weekly guidelines over and over, and just print out replacement worksheets and forms. Depending on the weekly task, I may keep the checklists and worksheets from year to year, for reference, but most often I pitch the prior year when inserting the new sheets.

    I also keep a Tab for Christmas Cards, checking off who I sent cards to and, at the very end of my holiday, I’ll go thru my card basket and check off who I received cards from, removing and saving important family photos, updating addresses, etc.

    Additionally, I keep Tabs for Pantry / Freezer Inventory, which helps me formulate my Master Grocery / Stock-up List. I also keep a separate Tab for Holiday Menu Plans, one for Baking Plans, which includes copies of regularly used recipes with my notes on them (i.e., makes more like 2 ½ dozen, not 4; make double batch), and a separate one for Party Planning. This way, I am assured that I have all of the ingredients on hand for cooking and baking, before I get started. And, I know items that are more perishable (i.e. baking powder, nuts) are fresh for the season. Plus, I know what I need to stock up on, when the pre-Thanksgiving sales start, and I can keep an eye out for coupons for additional savings!

    I really should keep a better Tab for Gifts – planning, what I gave, ideas for the future, so I don’t gift the same thing year after year after year. Just how many hoodies does my DSIL need???? One of my gifts from my DD this year was something I mentioned when we were shopping together last Spring, so I know she maintains a running list of gift ideas!

    Since it’s now just me living at home, I don’t do any of the big batch cooking or freezer meals (and even when I was working and had family living at home, I didn’t do much of that), so I don’t waste notebook space with that.

    While I do spend time reflecting on the holiday, I don’t do a lot of record-keeping after the fact. My bins are labeled and stowed in the same location every year. If something was broken or stained during the holiday, I'll jot a note for next year. Good memories remain; the rough edges are in the past and, depending on the severity of any issue, I may or may not rehash it before the next holiday -- it will depend on how I remember the events some 12 months later. I don’t need a written recounting of the holiday -- especially any unpleasant stuff. The next holiday is for creating new memories.
  3. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    I went through it today and threw out a lot of printed pages I had about gifts in a bag/jar. I have all these on pinterest now.
    I keep a calendar from sept to dec each year which includes outings schedules, christmas prep and cleaning prep.
    I have the HGP calendars but I might get rid of those too since I do my own list of prepping.
    I keep the Card-mailing list
    My notes of previous Christmas are included
    A few recipes (not alot!)
    My gift lists are in a file elswhere as are my timeline/dinner plans (in a small notebook). Maybe I should put them all together but with the budget-gift list I keep receipts (maybe I should get rid of the old ones) and they take alot of space.
    I also printed out all the subjects I talk about on my blog for CIJ (in case my blog disappears - you never know with internet) and that takes alot of space too. I put it in another notebook but not sure of that.

    I have to think about it more.
  4. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Active Member

    My Christmas notebook has always been my daily planner. I tried one year with a separate book but trying to juggle 12 hour night shifts and some sleep when I was working it has always been easier for me with my planner. It's already filled with notes for the new year. If I run out of room I use post it notes.

    Each week has a half page blank where I can add my plans/ goals (or things I've decided I don't need to do) for that week, along with room on each day also.

    My gift lists are on my phone along with photos of what I have bought. ( I keep the 2 previous years too). I keep a small note book at my bed side so if I think of something I can write my thoughts down right away otherwise I'll forget by morning. Gifts are generally stored in totes in my sewing room. This year I'm keeping gifts separate by person instead of just tossing stuff in the totes. I keep all receipts with the gifts.

    Cooking wise there is just the 3 of us and Christmas meals are pretty much always the same. I have notes on my recipes and already have a note in the first week of October about what not to bake or how much of an cookie I should make.

    Since I don't have little ones and I'm not cooking for a large group anymore things have become pretty simple. But half of the fun for me is all the planning.
  5. Rose94

    Rose94 Active Member

    I am down to just three sections which I keep in a classic size planner binder.
    1/ gift giving section. Years ago I found a link to a couple gift list pages that would fit my planner. One page was for one person per page and the other was two per page. In each section there was room to list ideas, budget and than a place to record what you actually purchased/made. Where you purchased item and price of item. I actually use the 2 person page for one using one section for their birthday gifts.

    2/ note section—where I keep track of purchases I need to make like wrapping paper, baking supplies, or any decorations I might want to replace in next couple years so I can keep an eye out for replacement.

    3/ crafting section which is also divided into sections—Birthday, Easter, Halloween, Christmas and for me.

    I have not used the full planner for a few years now but have kept a copy of the print off pages just in case I decide that I want to go back to using it all or start using another part of the plan.
  6. Lori K

    Lori K Member

    Rose, do you still have the link to those pages? I use a classic planner and have not found pages that are suitable for that size. Thanks!
  7. Rose94

    Rose94 Active Member

    Lori I had to adjust the printer so that it printed the sheets at 64%, than cut the paper to size.
    Miss JoDee likes this.
  8. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    I still have my 3-ring binder that I did years ago and used for many years, but I have not used it in several years. I have a digital version on my computer, too, of a meshed plan of both of the "PLANS" that I modified to meet my house and needs. I pull up the dates in my digital version because I have it set up as Week 1, Week 2, etc., instead of dates because the dates change every year. As long as I know what date it starts, I'm good.

    Most of my notes about Christmas go in my planner or in a general notebook in which I write everything. I have saved all my notebooks and planners from years past and pull them to remind me what worked and what didn't. My mom relies on my notes for me to help her remember how we did things the year before.

    I keep notes about what I buy, menus, dates we did things, whose house we gathered at, who came home for Christmas, and grocery lists.

    Since I will not be working full time, I hope to be able to do the Rudy Days starting in the summer.
    Ahorsesoul likes this.
  9. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    In a regular 8 1/2 by 11" notebook I keep a list of what I gave everyone for Christmas each year so I don't repeat myself.

    I really should keep a list of what I buy throughout the year so at least I know to look for them before the holiday!

    Throwing gifts in festive shopping bags - per family or per person for my immediate family - works well but I really don't have room to store them.
  10. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    My Christmas planner is a part of my daily planner. In the past I have had two separate planners but found it too difficult to manage the two. I decorate the days in my planner and I really like how I have it set out.

    My planner has separate sheets for each person that I buy for, a page for gifts and a page for stocking fillers. I write everything in here so I know what I have and what I still need to buy. I have a separate page for "others" such as work and charities that I give to. I can easily transfer these items to my weekly shopping list.

    I have a separate section for menus for Christmas Eve night, our family's Christmas Eve basket, Christmas morning breakfast and also NYE.
    I have a shopping list in here for baking supplies that I need to buy and also ingredients for what I am purchasing for Christmas dinner at my mum's. We share everything there so she has a list and I have a list. I have a rough idea of when I should purchase these and have listed approximate dates next to these items.
    My planner has several sections where I can store pull outs from magazines etc that I use for easy reference.
    I have Christmas card information on a page, including how many cards I sent out last year and to who. I have a note of what stamps I have left or need. I have also a list of what I might need for Christmas 2019. I have made a note that I do not need paper, gift bags or tags but do need sticky tape and would like to look for 2 small light up trees.

    I have a section for crafts, what I would like to make for who. I list all the materials I need to make the item and mark it off when it is complete.
    I mark any other important date in the daily planner portion. Dates to send cards, cleaning plan to do list, wrapping party dates, any dinners etc all get stored in the daily planner.

    I live by my planner, I am old school and find it doesn't suit me to have things stored electronically, I think I will always be a paper and pen type of girl. I love my planner, it makes me happy and keeps me on track.
    Holiday_Mom, missjane and Miss JoDee like this.

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