A Guide to the Christmas Season

The images have changed some over the years, but the sentiment is the same: A Homebody's Guide to the Christmas Season is, what I hope will be, a precursor to a more in-depth book which has been almost 30 years (if not more) in the making! For now, it is a FREE printable packet available in our Resource section here on the site.

Much like my post last month on "Preparing Heart and Home" for Thanksgiving where I detail my holiday planner and FREE printable set to help stay on-task for the big FEAST day, my Christmas corralling is much the same - with some variation.

What started as a few simple lists, has blossomed into an archive of Christmases past and a primer for Christmases present and future. I keep all of the pages in a festively decorated 3-ring binder, with each individual section under its own specific tab divider for quick and easy access. Each section may also accumulate magazine articles, Pinterest print-outs and recipes pertinent to that give topic.

In general, here is the break-down:

  • It begins with a calendar, in order to get a birds-eye view of the month. I always make sure to enter ALL details here from community events, to kids programs... from party dates, to church activities. I will even add shipping and donation deadlines so I can keep them ever-present in mind.
  • My packet includes lined pages with a festive heading because, when I am making lists or taking notes, it is always more fun when the season heads the page!
  • Next come the gifts! If you haven't already started in November (or sooner) with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday extravaganza, now is a good time to tally not only what you have bought, but what you hope to purchase or make for people in your life.
  • I have also, always, kept a tally, starting early in the month, of any special food needs for the month. This includes not just the main holiday(s) but also any special event where food will be shared (potluck, cookie exchange, party, etc). This allows me to keep grocery needs on my radar, shop sales and buy multiples when necessary. Also, much like Thanksgiving, it helps me to know what I might prepare early in the month and store or freeze to ease the bustle during the day-of event.
  • Over the years, this section of my planner has come to include a "Party Plans" worksheet which can be quite helpful, not just for food stuffs, but also for any other details of an event such as table settings, games to prepare and crafts to have ready. It is hard to pick a favorite part of this worksheet, however, at the top of helpfulness would be the section to tally "Need to buy" and "Need to set out" because I am notorious for forgetting details!!
  • Christmas Cookies have earned their own section over the years. I have collected so many recipes and notes, it just made sense to keep them separate from regular meal prep and notes. I love the baking list worksheet because I can track how much I am going to want to make and leave a note for myself to remember which cookbook a recipe is in! Again, I am queen of forgetfulness!! Like my menu worksheet, it also has a column to track grocery needs in. Articulating these details can save so much money and time! Cookies are also another treat I will begin work on early in the month.
  • The cookie section also includes a list for tracking who I plan to share cookies with. Not everyone receives the same amount or type of baked goods so the "Details" portion allows me to articulate what to include in each persons treat box.
  • Both the Cookie and Dinner and Party Plans sections have recipe cards which can be printed on card stock and used to track your favorites or even filled out to give as gifts with your favorite dish or treat!
  • Corresponding at Christmastime, in my opinion, should NOT go by the wayside with the age of technology. Everyone loves receiving cards and letters, old-school style? I have sent them since before I was married, and have included Christmas letters as well since my children were very young. (I will have another post on this next week!) Keeping track of WHO and WHERE is super helpful. I also keep a copy of old Christmas letters we have sent in this section and am lamenting lately that we did not keep a copy of the year's Christmas card as well! (I may need to start a separate binder for this!!)
  • Crafts and Decorations is a great section for doodling ideas or inserting inspiration.
  • The memories section will serve as a journal of joyful recollections!
  • Not to have gone out of order, but I was saving the best for last: COUNTDOWN! It is sooooo hard for kids to wait till Christmas. It can also be difficult to help them stay focused on the real reason for the season. That is why, starting from when they were elementary age, we began an annual tradition of counting down in new and unique ways. From a paper chain, to a wall mounted checklist, we were animate to include a variety of ways to bring extra fun to the season... not just for us, but for others as well. This section has a list of ideas for HOW to implement countdown. My favorite part, however, is the list itself. It is divided into two columns: one has inspiration for activities, crafts and games to do as a family - the other is a list of service and activities to do FOR OTHERS. Of all the ideas on both of these lists, the majority of my kids' favorites have always been from the service list! All adults now, they still think fondly of Christmas NOT as a gimmee holiday, rather, as a time of year to think of and do for others. Something which comes with ease all year long, seeded at this Christmas time of year!

And THAT is my Guide for the Christmas Season! My first draft to share was sparked during 2020, when so many people were "stuck" at home because Christmas was "cancelled". After years of being a bit of a homebody at Christmas, it just seemed right to share my how-tos! Christmas is no longer cancelled, and you may or may not be staying home for the holidays - but being organized and prepared NEVER goes out of style!

Grab YOUR FREE Homebody's Guide below!

I pray you have a very Merry Christmas Season!

Give the gift of encouragement to a homeschool mom you know this Christmas! Links at right --->

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