Is it too early to start thinking about the holidays? ABSOLUTLY NOT! In fact I suggest it’s important to start planning for the holidays now! Listen, I’m not suggesting you decorate, listen to holiday music or watch traditional movies yet. I have a strict no Christmas prior to Thanksgiving rule. This is not about celebrating now, it’s about Planning now.
Planning out everything you want to do and everything that needs to get done months in advance will elevate so much of the stress that comes with the holidays. Nothing gets over looked, no one gets forgotten and you get to spend more time during the holidays actually enjoying the moment.
The #1 best tool for planning anything is Trello! I have Trello boards for everything. Personal house work, family meal planning, this blog, my upcoming YouTube channel, my podcast, even the book I’m writing. Trello helps me keep track of everything I need to get done, all of my various ideas and just all around helps me juggle my very busy life. If you don’t have a Trello, you really should get one! I also have a Trello board for planning the holidays and I’m telling you it is the only reason I actually enjoy October through December. Oh and it’s free!
Below is what my holiday Trello board looks like. I love that each task item you create can be moved around as needed and as you work through the process. It helps me see everything I need to get done at a glance and organize when I need to do these things so nothing slips through the cracks. We also host both Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house, so planning who is brining what on the menu is so helpful to make sure everything is covered. I also love that you can add photos for added inspiration. I started with a free template customized it for my personal needs.
Here are some of the lists I have on my holiday Trello board to keep me organized.
- Things to buy: Like new or replacement decorations, baking ingredients, a new advent calendar, etc..
- Tasks to Do: This is my heaviest list. this list includes everything from the annual family photo and mail Christmas cards to bake cookies and wrap presents. I like to give most of these tasks deadlines to help keep things moving. If I give myself a suggested schedule it prevents me from trying to cram everything in at the last minute.
- Purchased/Done: This is the best list because it is the satisfying location things are moved to as I complete them.
- Activities: These are all of the fun family activities we want to do throughout this holiday season. It helps remind me to buy tickets in advance, research where to go and plan time for it in our calendars.
- Gifts: I have a list of every person we intend to buy a gift for. This helps me remember what I have bought for each person and make sure no one gets missed.
- Christmas Cookies: This is my inspiration list! Every year I add the desserts/cookies I want to make with my family. I love adding delicious looking photos so motivate me to make time for family baking.
- Addresses: This is the perfect place to house every family member’s address for Christmas cards and gifts. No more searching through your contacts on your phone every year. Each year the addresses you need are right there for you.
- Thanksgiving & Christmas Menu Lists: These lists are vital for our holiday parties. It helps me organize what’s needed and who is bringing what. It also makes it very clear what gaps I need to be prepared to fill in.
- Recipes: In addition to cookies you can add recipes for your big holiday meals!
There is more to planning than organization… There is also budgeting. The holidays can put you in debt faster than you even realize. Don’t let it happen this year! Do everything you want to do without getting carried away spending money! Excel has a great holiday budgeting template you can fill in with your information. Feel free to download the template here.