Is it still too early for you to think about Christmas? I understand. But every year that I’ve delayed thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving has been disappointing. This week, we will begin the process of planning for Christmas, so come December, the holiday will be even more enjoyable.
#1 Discuss last Christmas
What did you and your family especially love about last year’s celebration? Was there anything that you wanted to do, but didn’t? Discuss this now and take notes.
#2 Set up planner
Last year, I used a Christmas planner for the first time and it made life easier. There are great free Christmas printables like this set to get you started. I’ve pinned others to the Organized Homeschool board. Christmas is a big project when you think about it and it requires one place to keep all your information.
If you prefer a digital solution, you could plan Christmas on Pinterest, making liberal use of secret boards or in Evernote.
I wrote about my difficult time with the Elf on the Shelf. Maybe this elf planning calendar could help? I’ll add it to my planner.
#3 Add events to calendar
Now is the time to add all of the events your family wants to attend to the calendar: the church Christmas program, the extended family Christmas party, the live Nativity scene, the medieval Christmas feast, the neighborhood caroling event, the toy drive, and the lights display. Even if you aren’t sure you will attend, I recommend adding the dates to your calendar, including any deadlines.
While you’re at it, add any associated to-do’s to your planner or incorporate them into your task management system.
#4 Plan ideas for making it meaningful
Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of our Savior and for making memories. What could you do to enhance your worship of Christ during Advent? Celebrate Jesus, an Advent study, is one idea. Last year, I took these free printable Advent Scriptures, put them in decorated, numbered take-out boxes along with a fun family activity. It was such a relief not to try to come up with candy or small gifts for all the kids each day and we made wonderful memories. This holiday bucket list and this Advent list can give you some ideas. Be sure to check the Organized Homeschool board for even more choices.
Have a favorite meaningful Christmas tradition? Please tell me about it in the comments.
Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Organized Homeschool on Pinterest.
Here is the November printable Organized Homeschool calendar and a list of previous challenges:
Organized Homeschool Challenge
Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge
Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge
Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge
Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge
Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge
Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge
Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge
Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge
Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge
Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge
Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge
Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge
Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge
Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge
Week 17: The Friendship Challenge
Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge
Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge
Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge
Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge
Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge
Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge
Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge
Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge
Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge
Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge
Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge
Week 29: The Extra-Curricular Challenge
Week 30: The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge
Week 31: The Elective Curriculum Challenge
Week 32: The Back to School Challenge
Week 33: The Fall Bucket List Challenge
Week 34: The Organized Bedroom Challenge
Week 35: The Clean Out the Pantry Challenge
Week 36: The Meal Planning Challenge
Week 37: The Grocery Shopping Challenge
Week 38: The Organized Kitchen Challenge
Week 39: The Freezer Cooking Challenge
Week 40: The Hospitality Challenge
Week 41: The Blog or Business Challenge
Week 43: The Charity Challenge
Week 44: The Thanksgiving Challenge
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It’s more sanity-saving than meaningful, but an important tradition at our house is the gift chart.
Two parents, two kids. Plus grandmothers who say, “Here’s $50, go buy the kids something and put my name on it.” And “We’re getting him part 2, why don’t you get him part 3, since he enjoyed part 1 so much last year.”
We write all the givers across the top. Remember a column for “He who cannot be named.” Plus a column for general notes. Then a row for each recipient (including charities). And a row for “not sure who’s giving it,” for flexible things. (Anyone can give gift certificates to the book store to anyone, but brother cannot give a cute sweater to his little sister.)
It’s also a quick check to see if someone is getting or giving too many gift cards.
It’s always a relief when we have ideas for every cell. I also mark things “bought and wrapped” or “mailed” when appropriate.
Eventually, I’ll drop the columns for what the kids are giving, but for now it feels like I’m behind unless they at least give me a code, intelligible only to them, to fill in each square.
We usually do the first draft on date night in early November, starting with ideas I’ve recorded in EverNote throughout the year. The paper then lives in my purse for the next few months.
That’s the second tradition: Notes throughout the year. Some are just neat ideas I see online. Others are “Got book 1 for birthday, book 2 for Fathers Day, bought book 3 at the same time and put it in my sock drawer.”
Wow, Cricket, you’re super organized! I need to be better about keeping notes through the year. I tend to make my kids keep a wish list on Amazon instead. I will buy things when I find them, too, because I’ve found that when I go back later to get them, I usually can’t find them. Thanks so much for sharing your traditions.
Everyone says that the chart is super organized, but I don’t see it that way. It take 5 minutes to start, most of it getting paper, drawing lines, and writing names. Update when I think of it. And it saves what feels like hours of frustration.
Most of my family and friends wouldn’t make Amazon wish lists, and even if they did, and shared them, they wouldn’t update them, so setting up that system would be a waste of time for me. And even though Amazon carries a lot, it still locks people into one store. Since I always have a notebook on me of some sort or another, it’s easy enough to capture things in the moment. Even if I only capture a small fraction, I only need 3 gifts a year for each person (bday, Christmas, and maybe Mothers’ / Fathers’ Day).
That’s a great approach. I don’t need that much detail, because I have to buy very few gifts outside of my immediate family. I can see how it saves you a lot of frustration!