October kinda snuck up on me with all the preparations for my sister's wedding on October 1st. This entire week after her wedding, we've all been decompressing and trying to get things back in order, catching up on sleep and our DVR (which we aren't loving since we started liking virtually no tv during the summer) and playing with the free time of fall break.
However, it is October, and we love the Fall! I am busy trying to soak up yummy smells and pumpkin season. But, something startled me this week. Know what it was? Not Halloween, though my almost 6 year old thinks it's hilarious to try to scare me with spiders and ghosts! Nope, it was that Christmas is less than 12 weeks away! Does that startle you? In the past, I hadn't had that feeling until about Dec. 8th, when there was less than 3 weeks until Christmas and I haven't done much shopping. But last year, with my 3rd little newborn in the mix (you may remember I was frazzled), I vowed to be on top of the Christmas season from now on! And so, I've created a Christmas binder, similar to our Family notebook.
This is nothing earth shattering, but I'm hoping it's going to help me! Maybe you too? Let me break it down. . .
--I have a binder. It's red, for the season! I also have 5 dividers. I got the kind I could write on the tabs and erase as I see fit. So far, I'm good.
--Before the first divider, I printed off the calendar months of October, November and December from this website. Yes, I think it's good to start getting my act together in October, when there is less hustle and bustle and I'm living in my dream land of caramel scents, pumpkin patches, cooler weather, warmer clothes, fall leaves, and comfort foods! I then started putting things on the calendar (special Christmas events we attend each year, perfect weekend for putting up our tree, Christmas programs, mailing cards, etc) just to get started. Obviously, this will fill up as the season approaches.
--My first divider is labeled TO DO. I have a sheet with things that need to be done. For example, buy or make wrapping paper, get supplies, buy Christmas stamps, make new Christmas CD, prepare Advent calendar, decorate, send off gifts, etc. etc.
--My second divider is labeled BUDGET. Yuck. Don't like it, but it needs to be done in our family. We have a long history of getting carried away and that's just not what the Christmas season is about. There is a Christmas budget worksheet you can print here as well. Something to work on this year and have nailed down for the next.
--My third divider is labeled IDEAS/RECIPES. If/when I see ideas for decorating or parties, or delicious recipes I want to make, I will put them here. I find them each year and think "OOOoooh I want to try that!" Then I forget about it when the time comes or can't find it. Pinterest comes in handy here, but jotting it down and having it in my binder/hands is the way I roll.
--My fourth divider is labeled CHRISTMAS CARDS. I have a spreadsheet of our Christmas card list, but ideally want to have addresses all right here too---rather than flipping through my old, scratched out twenty times, very small address book I use throughout the year. So, for now, my spreadsheet will work.
--My fifth divider is labeled THANK YOUS. My mom always taught me the importance of thank you's. Sometimes I fail, but I always try to return thanks and want to teach my boys the same lesson. Having a sheet to write things down as presents are opened is a good way to keep track!
There you have it. I may be adjusting this binder throughout the season. If I do, I will update. If you already have this kind of system in place, please share your thoughts and suggestions! And now I'm off to enjoy Fall!!!!!