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This Year's Holiday Planner

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It's hard to believe how fast Fall has flown by - Halloween is just six days away! Have you squared away your costumes? Laid in your candy stores? Picked out your pumpkins?

Now according to the local mall, I'm waaaay behind schedule, but now that October is coming to a close, I'm ready to set my sights on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the busy, bright and beautiful holiday season ...

To that end, I recently assembled my holiday planner, and placed it in the front section of my homekeeping binder. I keep it here, in this "place of honor," since I'll be concentrating on holiday plans now through the end of the year.

In our home, we host Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas afternoon gathering. These are the two "big" entertaining events for us. At this time of year I'm also planning for a few feast days, a meaningful/magical Advent, and a homey/happy New Year's celebration.

Lots of fun to be had! Lots of plans to be made!

And so, as family "cruise director," I really depend on my holiday planner ...

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Behind the cover page, are all my planning pages. I used my greenroom legal pads (with soft green and blue accents) for these pages.

(A list of those planning pages is included below.)

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I also added in a print-out of Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving and Christmas checklists.

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And I used some pretty scrapbooking paper to make a November and December calendar.

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(I doodle a lot - I'm silly like that.)

Next, I set up an open folder for the various holiday "clippings" I collect - recipes, catalog pages, craft ideas and the like. I just used a leftover bit of scrapbook paper and folded it in half, like a bill-fold.

A small metal clip holds it all together.

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In this way, it's easy to flip through the assorted pages and see what's what.

I stuck the clippings in my counter basket, where it's right in-view and in-reach. I've been adding things regularly - in fact, just this morning I added a recipe for mini mince pies. :)

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The planner itself rests on the countertop - alongside my weekly file folder and calendar. Behind the holiday planner is the rest of my homekeeping binder. After New Year's I'll retire the whole planner to the back of the binder. (And next year I'll review and start afresh.)

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Here's a list of the planning pages, in order:

(Green = Thanksgiving ~ Blue = Christmas ~ Red = New Year's)

This year's Grateful Tree project

Notes for November feast days & birthdays

Thanksgiving Dinner: guests, menu, make-ahead and cooking times

Shopping list (items/itinerary)

Table notes - seating/decor

House cleaning & prep list

Random to-do's

Activities & family traditions

Special words

This year's Advent Calendar project

Advent Sundays

Notes for December feast days & birthdays

Christmas to-do's: general, weekly

Christmas Cards 2011

Holiday newsletter-blog notes

Christmas Gifts 2011

Shopping list (items/itinerary)

Decorating: inside, outside

Gifts to make and bake

* Cheerful Hearts *

Activities & family traditions

Christmas Eve/Day timetable

Christmas Buffet: guests, menu, make-ahead, cooking times

Epiphany

Welcoming 2012

New Year Family Goals

* Charitable Hearts *

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It seems like a lot, doesn't it? Well, the holidays do take some work, after all ...

Of course it's easy to go overboard, but hopefully with a cushion of time and perspective, we're able to keep things in balance. Because it's such a special time of year, and I don't like to spend it rushing around, stressing out or feeling low. If starting this far ahead and making all these lists brings us a little more peace and contentment this Christmas, then I'm all for it!

Well, I hope this post posed some ideas that might be useful for you. I'm sure we all have different lists - not to mention expectations - for the holidays, but I hope you enjoyed this all the same. :)

I also hope you all have a great week, and that you enjoy these last days of October. Our foliage here is just past peak, but with a rainstorm in the forecast for Thursday (not to mention a bit of snow!) I'm sure the trees will be bare before week's end. Such is the passing of seasons ~ and Autumn certainly goes out in a fiery hurrah!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by today. I wish you all well, and I look forward to being here again with you soon ...

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