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?