Monday, December 6, 2010

a clipboard-method christmas

I'm taking a total clipboard approach to planning Christmas this year. I read a post one time on Small Notebook (a blog which I adore) where Rachel said she wasn't getting organized for Christmas--rather, she was just going to "show up." I really appreciated her thoughts on that subject, but this year, for me, taking a very organized approach is making me feel way calm and happy. I think the most important element here is that we have made having a simple Christmas a priority in our family. For me that means keeping the gift buying and making minimal, wrapping presents early (because I hate doing it at the last minute), no baking except what I really feel like doing (and not at the expense of family time), and decorating little by little and not getting all crazy with it. My whole approach, especially over this last year or so, has been embracing the concept of "less."
That said, I'm finding that having a clipboard with lists at hand is energizing me. On Thanksgiving night, while Ken laid down with the little boys, I got out my clipboard and started writing down what I needed to do. I have categories on my list for crafting, wrapping, meals, "in the kitchen" and, most importantly, at the bottom is my "crafting wish-list." This is where I write down all my wished-for Christmas crafting (that way, if I get a few extra moments I can draw from the list--I like having my ideas written down, even if I probably won't get to them all). The "in the kitchen" category includes making lip balms, candied almonds (for gifts), and cookies, if and when the inspiration strikes.
Page 2 of the clipboard is a schematic of when I plan to get all the things on Page 1 done. It's broken down into weekends and "and the week" sections so I can see what small bits I can do in the evenings on school nights. I kept the lists very minimal so I know I can do them. Other pages on the clipboard include menus for special meals, lists of Christmas cookies for inspiration, gifts, and family-fun/aspirational activities that make the season worthwhile. So far, this is working very well for me and I'm very optimistic for a joyful, family filled, fun, and memorable holiday this year.

How about you? Are you planning, or just winging it this year?

11 comments:

Karen said...

Planing!!!! Writing lists! Checking them of!
I have lists for baking, cooking, gifts, christmas letters, shopping, sewing...
Guess what my children's presents for their godparents will be: clipboards!

Greetings from Germany

Karen said...

Send you another "f" for checking "off"... :-)

Jessica said...

You rock! What a great idea! I will probably be able to manage a tiny bit of this, but you have inspired me. I was already starting to feel out of sorts with all of the baking I have to do. Writing it all out will help, for sure!

CountryGirl said...

Oh my goodness, Mary Beth you are right! We do have the same cheistmas table runner!!! We may be thousands of miles apart and on the other side of the world, but great minds do think alike!!! I've not read your blog entry yet, just had to comment on the fabric first!! Now I will read it.... :)

CountryGirl said...

I agree with what you have said, and you write it all so lovely! I have a notebook where I have written what I would like to make for christmas, and am very pleased to have been able to tick off advent calendar and christmas bunting, and have also been able to start my blog and posted my pics!! I have also made a list of all the nice good recipes that I have cut out that I actually want to make this year. I had half an hour with my Nigella Christmas book a few weeks ago where I wrote down which of her recipes I want to do as well. Can't wait for christmas now. Happy preparations to you!

Kelly and Kelly said...

I can not imagine winging it! I've had lists going for about a month now. Gifts and cooking/baking. Decorating. And Advent calendar. It helps me not feel overwhelmed.

Luisa said...

A little of both. I plan on making a bake list. House was simply decorated early Truth is I think I'm in December denial. I can't believe it's here and not quite ready. For our family I'm mostly done. For everyone else I plan on baking, sewing, crochetting and knitting. I'm a big fan of clipboards and lists too.

Andrea said...

What a great system...so far I've been winging it. I haven't seemed to have made the time to sit and write a list, but I have a lot of things rattling around in my head; some of them actually are getting done!

Its_Lily said...

I gave up the huge Christmas and it's subsequent stress a few years ago. In fact, I didn't even put up a tree the past few years. This year I finally put the tree up again, the nutcrackers are on the mantle with a wreath and I have a wreath on the front door. That's it and it feels wonderful. I've scaled back to one gift per person and each gift is very heartfelt and deliberate whether I buy the gift or it's handmade. Christmas should be about family and enjoying each other and that's exactly what I went back to. Love it.

tam said...

playing it cool this year - although things are getting busy

Hannah said...

I use a similar technique but with a notebook that can hide secret plans ;o)
I feel much more calm with a bit of organisation. Even when I keep things simple it makes me feel better to have it all where I can see it and put things into perspective.