Think Ahead – Make a Simple Plan for Christmas

Summer heat has us searching for ways to stay cool. We want to stay inside, but we also want to be productive. This is the time we need to start focusing on setting goals for the holidays. One of those goals should be to make a simple plan for Christmas.

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Although Thanksgiving is a hectic time with all the baking, it is made even busier by trying to get ready for the gift-giving holiday. If you make a plan for Christmas ahead of time, it may just relieve some of that stress.

Just so you know: This post contains affiliate links; if you click on a link and make a purchase I might make a small commission, but it does not affect the price you pay!

How to Plan for Christmas

a Holiday Planning notebook opened to gift list ideas

Planning for this busy season isn’t as difficult as it seems. However, there is some work involved. Before you go too far, it helps to get organized.

To get started, you need a few simple tools:

  • Holiday Planning Notebook
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Your Thinking Cap

Most items on the list are self-explanatory. Any time you set goals or make plans, it helps to write them down on paper. It takes quite a bit of thought to set successful goals and take the action steps needed to complete those goals.

Think of your Holiday Planning Notebook as your Battle Station. It’s where everything begins. This notebook becomes your battle plan.

A Holiday Planning Notebook is where everything is organized. There are sections for lists, menus, budgets and more. One section should be for any gifts you plan on giving, with a worksheet for each person.

All this information is combined for easy reference. To get you started with your notebook, having a copy of Have a Merry, Simple Christmas can get your plan for Christmas moving forward faster.

This Christmas workbook is designed to help keep your holiday organized and running smoothly – and still maintain the normal daily activities and meals. It is loaded with tips, ideas, DIY crafts and worksheets to help you create a plan for Christmas with ease.

Create your notebook and keep it handy. From now until Christmas, you will be referring to it on a regular basis!

What to Plan for Christmas

a green background with sticky notes of lists for shopping, gift lists, menuss

There are so many things to plan for Christmas, we often don’t know where to start. These are just a few of the lists you will need to make your plan flow smoothly:

  • Meals & Menus
  • Holiday Baking
  • Gifts to Give List
  • Your Personal Christmas List
  • Activities
  • Budget
  • Guest Lists
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Christmas Cards

Keep in mind. Some of these plans may need to be done in pencil, as they may change over the course of time. You can, however, make idea notes.

Your meals and menus should be for both the actual holiday and the days and weeks leading up to them. The thought of not having to cook from now until Christmas may sound appealing. However, your family does have to eat! Having a menu plan for the weeks leading up to the holidays can relieve a tremendous amount of stress. It also gives you more time to work through your plan for Christmas.

tea cake dough rolled out and cut with heart-shaped cutters

Baking ahead for the holidays should also be part of your plan for Christmas. There are many things you can prepare ahead of time and freeze. It helps with both your weekly menu plan and food that is specifically for the holidays.

Holidays are one of the most expensive times of the year. Our spending can quickly get out of control. Having a holiday budget prepared ahead of time is the most helpful tool you can have.

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A budget can keep you on track with your spending. It tells you how much you have available to spend. It prevents overspending. And it encourages creativity to keep yourself on or below budget.

One thing you should have in your Holiday Planning Notebook is a series of calendar pages. These should run from August until December. When you set goals for your plan for Christmas, you can enter your proposed deadline on the appropriate date.

calendars and a pen to help you make a plan for Christmas

Use these calendars to set aside things such as:

  • Planning sessions
  • Shopping
  • Pre-holiday baking
  • Crafting handmade items

As you start to receive invitations for holiday gatherings, put the date on your calendar. When there are school, church, and other functions you need to attend, you will have them scheduled. Having all of this already on your calendar keeps you from forgetting important dates, and double booking your schedule.

Are you planning an annual holiday party? Then you may want a separate section in your notebook dedicated to this. All your plans – from guest lists to menus – can make planning your party so much easier!

Planning for Your Gifts to Give List

a bracelet loom with orange, yellow, purple and white thread

The most difficult list to make is the gift-giving list. We live in an age of instant gratification. If we want something, we get it. That makes things complicated when selecting gifts to give.

If you are planning on giving handmade gifts, it helps to get started early. One list that comes in helpful is a Gift Supply List. This is a set of individual lists for each person. Each list begins with who you are giving the gift to and what you are making.

One way to have enough time to create all the gifts you want to make is by keeping a Go Bag. A Go Bag is a way to transport your project and work on it while you have down time.

A crafter's go bag filled with a crochet hook, finished pot scrubbers, a book on Lucet weaving, green yarn

Have a doctor’s appointment? Take a Go Bag. Having coffee with a friend? That Go Bag will make the conversation even more fun!

Once you have an idea of the gifts you want to give, take the next step. List out the supplies you need and where to get it from. This can be physical or online stores. There is also a section of the cost to help you stay within budget.

You may love the idea of handmade gifts, but don’t enjoy making them. If that is the case, try shopping online with Etsy.

Etsy is the artisan marketplace. Many of my personal items, such as looms, yarn, and eBooks have been purchased through them.

I also love to find great gift ideas there, as well. Although I will be writing a more detailed post on gift ideas, I will use my latest purchase as an example.

a box of handmade soap in a gift box filled with shredded brown paper

Each year I give each of my children a Christmas stocking. All year I search for the perfect small gifts to add. This year, I wanted to give handmade soap.

Since I am still in the learning process, I found Sprouted Leaf Home on Etsy. I placed an order and was amazed at her products and service!

Not only are her soaps beautiful, but they have a wonderful aroma. The packaging was perfect. Shipping was fast; the cost was more than reasonable. My only regret is that I only ordered enough for the stockings. I am now going to place a separate order and hoard these bars for myself!

A woman's hands engaged in knitting

By shopping on Etsy, you are rewarded two-fold. You can still offer handmade gifts. But you are also supporting the artisans who create these gifts.

Use a separate list for purchased gifts. Instead of doing one for each person, make it a running list. Write down the name of the recipient, the gift you want to give, and where to find it. Be sure to keep up with how much you spend for your budget!

Keep Cool – Plan for Christmas

a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts

Summer can truly be a productive time. You can avoid the heat and still get your plan for Christmas established. You can work ahead by having your Holiday Notebook organized. The lists you need to make will be started. And some of your baking can be safely stored in the freezer.

You can also start working on some of those handmade items. A few searches on Etsy and you can have your soap and other gifts ready to wrap or place in a stocking. The best part is you can finally look forward to having the Merry, Simple Christmas you always dreamed of having!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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