For any event or holiday, planning in advance can make things a bit easier and less stressful. Christmas is no exception to the rule. It’s a very widely celebrated holiday that does take up quite a bit of time, effort and money. Planning – and budgeting properly – can make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing throughout the month and afterwards. Everyone’s Christmas Planner will look different, based on what you do and how you celebrate the holiday but I wanted to share mine in the hopes that it might give you some ideas. I have also included a free downloadable template that I used in my planner, in case you wanted to do the same.
If you have a Christmas Bucket List, you need to write these down somewhere in the planner. The reason for this is so that you have somewhere that you can look back on, reflect on and make plans according to. My Christmas bucket list, for example, includes writing mail to people. Seeing this on my list, I know that I need to post the letter before the last posting dates or I won’t be able to fulfill it.
Keeping a list is a great way to look back when you’re making plans. Got some time? Perhaps you can check something off your list! If you want ideas, check out this blog post which features 25 ideas for your own bucket list this festive season.
Things to Do / Places to Visit
This could be two completely different sections but they also work together. There may be a list of things that you wish to do in December, related to Christmas or have places to visit. This section is all about making those plans. Whether that is catching up with a friend to give them their holiday gift or going to see the local Christmas Markets.
I write this section in two different ways. The first is the very standard but effective “to do” list approach that lists everything that needs to be done or places to visit. The second section is the list of ideas. As we get closer to Christmas, there will no doubt be even more posters or adverts for sights to see. You can keep a track of anything that looks interesting by adding all of these ideas into your planner.
If you do visit anything interesting that you want to journal about later, it can be really handy writing down a few thoughts as soon as you can or adding some photos into a pocket here for a later date.
Recipes and Food Shopping
I am pretty grateful that my family does not really ‘do’ Christmas food as I think the planning for it can be quite hectic. The Christmas Cake, for example, is started well in advance of December and turkeys seem to take forever to cook. At least, that is what TV shows have taught us, the whole experience looks a bit hectic. Planning in advance, making notes of what you need to buy and when – and how long things take – can be really helpful. If you are making Christmas food of any sort then I would highly recommend a recipe and food section!
The recipe section of your Christmas planner is one that you can use all year around. You can collate all of the recipes you find and want to try in one area throughout the year. That way, when you come to actually preparing for the holidays each year, you already have an arsenal of recipes to select from.
Sending festive cards is one of my favourite things about the holiday. I have always loved receiving cards and that translated to wanting to send them to brighten up other people’s days. For me, I enjoy the thought people put into their messages or when picking a card. As such, I always make my festive cards by hand or purchase ones if they have a specific meaning or purpose.
I require a card section to help me keep track of whose card I have already made or jot down some ideas. With international postage too, it’s always important to keep track of the last postal dates for different countries.
In my cards section, I have a few different pages:
- A card tracker, with a list of each recipient.
- Spare pages for ideas, such as quotes that I might want to add to a specific person’s card.
- Addresses for everyone
- Last posting dates
For the cards, I like to keep track of who I have to send them to. I focus more on who I want to send them to but some people like to track if they received a card from someone. This can be particularly useful if it’s an unexpected card, where you need to make a note to send one back or send a thank you card. So, I have two free templates for you.
I have left a bit of space above each row so you can add a year if you wish to. A small “19”, “20” etc to signify what year it is. This way, one sheet will last you four to eight years (depending which option you picked). Just save the image you wish and print as many as you need – this depends on the number of recipients you have.
Gift giving is not that big in my household. We occasionally do it but it’s not really a big part of the celebrations. However, there’s a few people that I know will send me gifts and I like to try and reciprocate. In this section, I list down the people that I intend to buy gifts for and list possible ideas next to their name.
I would also recommend a place where you can keep any coupon codes or notes of any sales that might be going on, in case they are of relevance!
It is also worth keeping track of the gifts that you receive somewhere in here. The reason for this is that you may wish to reciprocate and/or send a thank you card in the new year.
- Gift tracker
- Spare pages for ideas
- Spare pages or a pocket for coupons or sales to look out for
- If posting, addresses and/or last posting dates.
I personally don’t track gifts, as I tend to just send them when I feel like it. However, I made a similar tracker for the gifts, in case anyone wanted to track them.
Again, there are two options for you. One is just to track that you have sent a gift, the other is to track receiving & sending gifts. You can add a small number, such as “19” above each column to mark the year. These sheets are designed to track over four or eight years (depending which option you choose). Save whichever image you need and print as many as you need. The number depends on the number of recipients.
What other sections do you have in your Christmas Planner?
For me, these are the main things that are required in a Christmas Planner. However, every person is different. You may have some additional traditions or activities that need planning. Perhaps you want a Christmas movie list, so you can check them off as you go along. You may want a section especially on event planning, if you are holding an event. If you’re doing Elf on the Shelf for your children, you may need a section for that or for other activities you can do with them.
Let me know what you’ve included in your Christmas Planner, I would love to know!