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How To Make A Holiday Planner For A Stress Free Season

Are you ready for a stress free holiday? If so, one of the simplest places to start your preparations is to make a holiday planner.

How to make a family holiday planner for a stress free holiday season, including a round up of many free holiday printables to assist you in making your planner {on Household Management 101}
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Now, I'm not talking about anything too fancy here. Instead, this is the type of tool you create simply, and then build upon from season to season, and from year to year to come.

Purpose Of Using A Centralized Planner For Your Holiday Preparations

How to make a family holiday planner for a stress free holiday season with links to quite a few free holiday printables {on Household Management 101}
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Next week we're going to begin the Stress Free Holidays Challenge for the year, slowly doing tasks little by little over the next 13 weeks to get us through the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, so we can enjoy the experience instead of being stressed out.

The whole point of that process is to go about your preparations in a somewhat organized fashion. Creating this planner can help.

Your planner is where you can hold all your ideas, lists, schedules, calendars, recipes, and traditional activities that you and your family like to do each year.

The first year you'll take the most effort to build it, and then the years thereafter you'll tweak and update it, using it as a reference to help you remember what your family enjoys doing, and how you did it, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Plus, over time it also acts much like a living, breathing, scrapbook of past holiday memories that you add to each year.

(Have you joined the FREE Stress Free Holidays Challenge yet? If not, find out more, and sign up here.)

Join the Stress Free Holidays Challenge

What You Need To Create Your Own Holiday Planner

You don't need lots of fancy equipment to make your own planner. Instead here's the items you'll need:

  • 3 Ring binder (I suggest a 1/2 inch or inch binder, since this planner doesn't need to be very large)
  • Tabbed dividers (if they have pockets that is nice)
  • Page protectors
  • Any holiday printables you may want or need*

* Note - I'll be providing you with several printables throughout the Stress Free Holidays Challenge. You can see the ones I've already added to the site in the printables section or look below for links as well.

How To Make Your Holiday Planner

Making your holiday planner is as simple or as complex as you want it to be. I tend to suggest making it simple so it actually gets done! It doesn't have to be overly beautiful, just functional.

Basically, this week is the calm before the storm when it comes to getting ready for the holidays. Therefore, my suggestion is to just create the skeleton of your binder this week and over the course of the season you can add to it, as you do each week's challenge.

You can put together your binder with whatever categories you want, but here are some of the categories and/or sub-categories I suggest. You don't have to create each of these -- choose the ones that you enjoy or are important to you.


Potential Categories & Sub-Categories For The Holiday Binder

How to make a holiday planner for a stress free holiday season, including a round up of many free holiday printables available for use in your planner {on Household Management 101} #HolidayPlanner #ChristmasPlanner #ThanksgivingPlanner
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Below are the categories or subcategories I suggest you could put in your holiday binder. First, I've listed them, and then below that I've provided the free printables on this site that could be used for some of these categories.

  • Holiday calendar pages (here's my round up of the printable holiday calendars pages for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas)
  • Holiday to do lists
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving (get the free Thanksgiving planner printables here)
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas (get the free Christmas planner printables here)
  • New Year's Eve/Day
  • Other holidays you want to celebrate even after the challenge is over, such as Valentine's Day, etc.
  • Recipes (could have subcategory for each holiday if you wish, such as Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas dessert recipes, etc.)
  • Holiday meal planners (one for each meal you're hosting or bringing a dish to)
  • Budgeting forms, for gifts, travel, hospitality, meals, etc.
  • Gift planning lists, such as wish lists, lists of what you plan to give or make, as well as lists of gifts received for sending thank you notes
  • Card lists, included for sending greeting cards, Christmas cards, thank you notes, etc.
  • Holiday traveling plans
  • Holiday party planner
  • Holiday traditions (make sure to get your Prioritizing Christmas Traditions Worksheet that is a bonus within the Free Family Christmas Traditions Ebook)

These categories are, of course, just suggestions. If you don't, for example, care about Halloween recipes, don't make a tab for them! The point of this planner is to make you less stressed, not guilt you into doing things you don't want to do -- so trust your gut and don't go overboard because that will cause stress.

Available Free Holiday Printables You Can Use

Here are the free holiday printables available that you can use, from this site. When you click any of these links below you'll go to the page of the site which contains that printable, plus instructions and guidance for how to use it while doing your holiday preparations.

Halloween calendar
Halloween Calendar {October}
Thanksgiving calendar
Thanksgiving Calendar {November}


Christmas calendar
Christmas Calendar {December}
Halloween to do list
Halloween To Do List


Thanksgiving to do list
Thanksgiving To Do List
Christmas to do list
Christmas To Do List


Thanksgiving countdown
Thanksgiving Countdown
Thanksgiving grocery list
Thanksgiving Grocery List


Thanksgiving menu planner
Thanksgiving Menu Planner
Thanksgiving day schedule
Thanksgiving Day Schedule


Christmas grocery list
Christmas Grocery List
Christmas menu planner forms
Christmas Menu Planner Forms


Christmas budgeting form
Christmas Budgeting Form
Christmas wish list
Christmas Wish List


Christmas gift list
Christmas Gift List
Gift tracker
Gift Tracker


Christmas card list
Christmas Card List


I've grouped the free printables specific to two of the biggest planning holidays here, starting with Thanksgiving:

Printable Thanksgiving planner

And also Christmas:

Printable Christmas planner

What To Do The Rest Of This Week

Once you've gotten the structure of your Holiday Binder in place, pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Next week we'll actually begin the Stress Free Holidays Challenge, and that's when we'll begin the process of planning and preparing for each of these holidays in a relaxed and stress-free way.

Are you looking forward to it? I know I am?

Oh, and please tell me in the comments what additional ideas you have for more potential categories to add to your Holiday Planner, since I bet I missed some!

How to make a family holiday planner for a stress free holiday season with links to quite a few free holiday printables {on Household Management 101}
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Bonus: Do You Need To Clean Up Your Home For The Holidays As Well?

Along with planning food, gifts, travel, and more for the upcoming holidays, you may need to also clean up your home to get ready for guests, parties, and hospitality.

Grab some or all of these cleaning checklists to help you get your home in order!

10 free printable cleaning checklists



Share Your Comments, Thoughts & Ideas

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Holidays And Celebrations With Your Family

Free Printable Thanksgiving Planner

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