In part one, we began this series with the premise that “The goal of planning and preparation is not to say, ‘Look at me, I’m so organized’. The goal is to survive this crazy season with a good attitude and a heart that remains focused on what the season is all about: gratitude, faith, family, friends, and showing Jesus’ love in tangible ways.”
With that being said, let’s get organized! This is the third year, I am utilizing a “holiday planner” that I found on-line three years ago. How I wish I would have had this tool years ago! In fact, both as personal gifts and through the women’s ministry at my church over 75 women have been given this planner as a helpful holiday resource.
Here are some of the highlights of this planner that could easily be recreated.
It helps me to see the big picture of the months of November and December. On my calendar I include birthdays, school events, church events, family plans, etc . . . A calendar helps me to stay organized, but it also helps me to see what is coming up and what needs to be done.
Holiday Menu Planner – one for each meal
One of the things that makes holidays special are the meals and goodies that you get to make and eat at this time of year. This “Holiday Menu Planner” is a big help in planning meals you are hosting at your house. I especially love the “Delegated to” section . . . but more on delegating later (-smile-). Another helpful thing to do is to ask your family what types of cookies, or other treats they enjoy during the holidays. Make a list of those and gather the recipes to keep in one place. Once you know what you are going to be cooking/baking, begin purchasing a couple things at the store each time you grocery shop, this will help spread out the cost of extra baking supplies and specialty items which is a huge help as far as finances are concerned.
People to Remember
Gift giving can be a major stressor, especially if you’re like me to shop! A good way to get a gift giving plan is to make a list of who you want to remember at Christmas, family, friends, neighbors, service members in your community. After you decide who you want to remember, jot down gift ideas and amount of money you want to spend. Finally, a way to check them off your list when their gift is purchased gives you a sense of accomplishment. I. LOVE. CHECKING. THINGS. OFF. MY. LIST.!!!
Speaking of gift giving, we all know that the holidays are expensive. Between the extra food, baking supplies, gifts, shipping costs, things really add up quickly. It is important that you make a budget and a plan of how you will fund that budget. Maybe you will save a little each month throughout the year, or cut expenses in the last few months of the year to be put towards the holidays, or do some sort of extra work to make some Christmas cash. Let me encourage you that buying on credit is never a good option. It is better to give nothing at all than to give a gift you will be paying for (with interest) over the next many months.
Place to Store Receipts
Once you purchase your gifts, have a central location for receipts. This saves time and hassle later if you need to return something.
A few other items to consider when you begin to plan for the holidays are as follows:
- Christmas Cards – cards, photos, stamps, etc. . .
- Holiday parties you will be hosting
- Family traditions
- Church/community events
- Thank you notes for gifts you have received
- For those in ministry, also remember Christmas cards to be sent, people to appreciate, special services to plan for, reaching out to our cities, etc . . .
As previously mentioned, planning takes considerable thought and time, but it is time well spent. Once you have a clear picture of what needs to be done, you can make it happen a whole lot easier than if you wait for things to sneak up on you and have to scramble to get them done at the last minute.
Why not take some time in the next couple of days to write things on a calendar, plan your menus (and special goodies) and jot down the people you want to remember. This will get you prepared for my next blog post, where I will share ideas about how to practically tackle your to-do lists.
Your Friend in Ministry,