Before we embark on our process of simplifying the holidays, you are going to need to set up a central “command center”. Ideally, this should be somewhat portable, and able to be accessed from year to year.
I’m not going to get into the paper versus electronic debate here. Either is fine.
I will show you my command center and explain what each of the parts is for, and then you can extrapolate to your own setup.
For as much as I am a technology geek, I keep this information in a binder. There are two reasons for this: some of the things I keep in there can only be done on paper (mailing labels, envelopes), and I can put it away for a year and still know where it is (on my shelf).
I started with a binder re-purposed from something else. I chose one where I could insert my own cover art and spine, but that is not necessary. The closest example I could come with on Amazon is Avery Heavy Duty 1″ View Binder (but please don’t buy it there! You can get them much cheaper at the local office supply or department store!)
The cover art on my binder is custom. The front is a piece of paper with snowflakes on it, with the words “Holiday Planner”. On top of that I slipped a picture of a beautiful winter scene. The spine simply says “Holiday Planner”. The back has some special photos. These items represent the best I hope to find in the season, and can ground me when I get stressed out (and with so many holidays to combine, I get stressed out.
The Binder Guts
The first thing I put in the binder was a 9-inch by 12-inch mailing envelope that I cut to fit and punched holes in. This holds receipts and order forms.
Next are the dividers. I have a set of standard tabbed dividers, labeled as follows: Activities, Budget, Meals, Decorations, Gifts/Crafts, Correspondence, Parties, and Traditions. These will get filled out as the process goes on.
Paper comes next. I usually put in a combination of graph paper, ruled paper and plain paper, all in the back.
The binder is ready to be filled! Next up: the initial calendar.
Photo by topher76