BULLET JOURNAL / 17 easy ways to organize your holiday season
Every year around the holidays, I get so overwhelmed and excited that I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I get super ambitious about how many handmade gifts I can pull off, how many Christmas cards I can send out, etc. that this year I vowed I wouldn’t do that! By actually planning and mapping out some of the really important holiday stuff I need to focus on, I can be more effective and efficient (which means more time for relaxing).
What’s more perfect than the bullet journal to incorporate all your holiday planning? I have also seen some people create an entirely separate bullet journal or planner just to house their holiday lists and plans, but personally I like the idea of having it combined with my daily tasks.
I’ve included all the lists and spreads I’m using this year in my planner as well as other ideas for layouts from around the internet. There are so many possibilities for things you can include in your bullet journal this season. Have fun incorporating these, don’t make it an additional source of stress. Your journal should never evoke feelings of guilt or anxiety for you! Plan as much or as little as is comfortable for you to be able to accomplish the things you want, relax and have fun doing it. The holidays should be a magical time to enjoy.
1. Thanksgiving Meal / Recipe Planner
This year I didn’t really do much cooking on Thanksgiving, but I still wanted to keep straight what dishes and supplies I was expected to make or bring. On the left, I list the dishes I’m responsible for. On the right, a shopping list and notes for each dish. I didn’t include the actual recipes, but if you were creating a stand-alone holiday planner to use perpetually each year, a collection of favorite recipes might be nice to include.
2. Address Book
Previously I had my “Address Book” in a Word document on my computer. It was leftover from doing my wedding invitations, therefore out-of-date and a pain in the ass to pull up every time I needed to look for an address. I decided to migrate some important addresses from my computer straight into my bullet journal, so I can easily access them throughout the holiday season.
3. Christmas Card List
Also included in my bullet journal is a list for sending out Christmas Cards. Every year I say I’m going to and every year I don’t. I have a bag full of Christmas cards that are just waiting to be sent! This list tracks really simple data: name of recipient, column to check off when I’ve sent the card and the date it was sent. You could add in more info, like a received column (for cards sent to you) and any other important details you need to track.
4. Christmas Budget
Let’s face it: it is way too easy to blow a bunch of money this time of year. If you need to be more conscientious with your spending, a budget spread is an excellent idea. On my layout, I’ve included some very basic columns for tracking the actual individual expenses and some other boxes for listing out who and what we are budgeting for. What do you need to track about your holiday expenses? Don’t forget that things like decorations and wrapping supplies add up quick!
5. Gift Tracker
I wanted something that would quickly at-a-glance, show me my overall gift plan. This isn’t a spread for brainstorming gift ideas (see below); this is for after you’ve decided what you’re getting them. This spread allows you to track the gift’s entire progress. From buying or making it to getting it wrapped. I also included a cost column (to be filled out upon completion of each gift-- to track actual vs. projected costs).
6. Gift Brain Dump / Brainstorming Page
Before you get to the tracking phase, you may want to include a page or two strictly for brainstorming gift possibilities. Just like a brain dump, it helps to get your ideas out of your head on down onto a page for review. This way you won’t forget them later!
7. Christmas Project Tracker
For the gifts that I’m giving that are homemade, this tracker gives me space to write out a short overview of the project. I split this page into two, but this spread could easily be adapted to fit a single page for more complex projects. I have basic info included at the top of each project section: project title and who it’s for, start date, due date (if applicable), wrapped, and delivered. There is a progress tracker bar down the middle which separates the task and material lists. So far, this spread is working out really well for me.
8. Holiday Home Decorating Plan
We have a lot of Christmas decorations. Last year, I did really well reorganizing what we had, so this year I was able to easily and quickly assess what we have and what needed to be setup. I split up my lists into rooms/categories we needed to decorate: the living room area, my office and the outside of the house. There is a lot involved when putting up all those decorations! This helped us realistically assess how long it would take us and instead of arbitrarily writing, “put up x-mas décor” on my to-do list, we were able to see how much we could realistically get done during an afternoon or day. Especially helpful if you’re decorating for a party and don’t want to miss any details. Which leads me to…
9. Holiday Party Planner
This isn’t my spread because I’m not having a party, but this could be a whole little section expanded upon or simply a page overview that helps you outline your specific party needs. This would be fabulous used in conjunction with the decorating plan or even a recipe/food planner.
10. Holiday Baking Planner
Do you do a lot of holiday baking? I don’t particularly (although I do more this time of the year than I normally do), but my mother-in-law throws a cookie exchange party every year, so I’m considering creating a page like this to help me keep track of the recipe, shopping list, quantity needed, party date, etc.
11. Advent / Christmas Countdown
I do this on my daily pages, but I have seen some cool advent variations done for the bullet journal. Above is just one example.
12. Seasonal / Holiday Bucket List
Do you have a wish list of winter activities that you just never seem to get around to? Do you want activity ideas specifically for the holiday season? There are lots of ideas about how to utilize this in your bullet journal or planner all over Pinterest.
13. Christmas Wish List
This could be used for yourself (to then give to others) or for incorporating others’ wish lists into your planning system. I find it really nice to have everything in one spot for referencing. I haven’t made my own wish list yet, but here are is an example.
14. Christmas Movie Watchlist
My husband and I are basically Christmas movie junkies. We’ll watch almost anything, even the reallllly-bad-too-cheesy-to-actually-exist ones. This was fun to list out the insane amount of different Christmas movies we watch. We even added some new ones to our list this year!
15. Christmas Wrapping Tracker
This is something I haven’t created yet, but still sort of want to. I end wrapping a ridiculous amount of gifts every year. I even usually wrap my dad’s gifts to my mom, so I’ve been toying around with the idea of creating a tracker for wrapping everyone’s gifts: divided by recipient name and total number of gifts. This idea will have to wait until I actually have gifts ready to wrap for people.
16. Online Order Tracker
So many of us shop online that sometimes it can get confusing with all of the different sites, ship dates, etc. I have seen these included in holiday planners all over the internet. I haven’t made one for my BJ yet, so here’s another example.
17. Receipt Pocket
Most journals have pockets in the back which could be used for this purpose OR you could create another, more festive pocket to store your holiday receipts in. I vote for the latter. This is especially handy of you are working with a budget.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to different things you can track in your bullet journal during the Christmas season. As always, we have to be careful not to over plan or get so obsessed with planning that we miss out on having fun. That’s really important! Don’t let holiday planning be a source of stress for you. Remember, it’s the holidays! Enjoy them!