Christmas Planning Lists

This time of year can be overwhelming, but it is supposed to be magical. But sometimes, working so hard to make it magical just makes it all overwhelming. It can be a vicious cycle, especially for moms!

All I can say, is this Christmas season, being 8 months pregnant is teaching me to embrace simplicity for the sheer fact that I cannot physically do what I usually like to do. I know there are pregnant women who mow the lawn and run marathons, but I am not one of them. I feel lucky to get to the basics!

At night, when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet, I like to plan. List making feels productive. Are you a list-maker too? I keep my lists in my home binder along with a print-out calendar of December. I pencil things into the calendar as they go on my lists, to make sure my expectations are realistic. If the calendar is too full, we just have to decide the most important things to do and then simplify.

Gift list: A list of everyone on my shopping list and what gift I’m planning for them. I separate my list into 3 groups – gifts that go under my tree, gifts to be mailed, and gifts to be delivered locally.

Wish list: I keep a running list of ideas for my hubby, who will usually wait to the last minute to do his shopping. This year I’m pretty easy, I just want stuff for the baby! Any gift for Cougar feels like a gift for me, really. Other years I am admittedly not so easy, so he appreciates some hints.

Holiday traditions: I have a list of all the traditions I want to keep up this year. I list everything out: service projects, advent calendars, gift-making, gingerbread houses, and even books I want to read with my girls. When I make this list, I go ahead and plot things out on the calendar so the magic is all spread out.

Goodies to make: I list out all the sentimental treats I want to make for or with my family. This is probably my favorite list. I’ll be praying for the energy this season to at least make some of our favorites! If I get any energy, making treats is probably what I will do with it. I know, priorities! I usually enjoy delivering treats to my neighbors, but I don’t think I’ll be making anything in bulk this year. A year off will be okay.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Meals and grocery list: This list is self-explanatory. I like to make this list early and spread out my shopping through the month. We have traditions for pretty much every meal those 2 days. We are creatures of habit.

Event list: I put on my December calendar all the parties, school events, work events, church events, and any place we need to be this season. It helps to have these things plotted out, so we can see when we can do the traditions we have planned at home.

Christmas Cards: I keep a list of all the people we send cards to and a list of cards we receive. I want to make sure that anyone who sends me a card is on my list. I’ve accidentally left people off before! Oops! And let’s be honest, if I’ve sent you a card five years in a row and never received a card back … well, you might just get crossed off my list. It isn’t personal, I still love all those people, it is just that card giving is an expensive venture and it just feels better if the feeling is mutual. Yikes, I can’t believe I’m admitting this for the world to see. How do you handle Christmas cards?

Christmas Budget: Lots of the above lists come with prices attached. We are all for debt-free holidays, which really can only happen for us when we plan what we can spend on all these different things. The best memories don’t have to come with a price tag, but it is fun to finally spend the money we’ve saved for Christmas all year!

Somehow just having a plan really does make me feel less overwhelmed this Christmas season. Not everything will work out as I hope, but the lists are a place to start. I look at my lists every night when I’m thinking about the next day. This helps me stay on top of everything and organized during the most magical (and the busiest) time of the year.

What lists are you making these days?

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