How to Assemble the Ultimate Holiday Planner (With Printables!)
The holiday season is a really busy time! From gifts and decorations to greeting cards, school plays, vacations, outings, and so much more…there are lots of little details that, while making the season oh-so-merry and bright, can also be really frazzling and stressful. One of my favorite ways to stay stress-free during the holiday season is to use a Holiday Planner. Not only does it really help to get to do items out of my head and down onto paper, but some simple trackers and checklists ensure nothing gets forgotten or overlooked (which means I can actually enjoy all the festivities)! Today, I want to show you how to assemble the ultimate Holiday Planner (that you can pull out year after year), so you too can save time and stress this holiday season (as well as all the seasons to come)!
Why Assemble a Holiday Planner?
There’s this funny thing about the winter holidays: they come around every single year! And as such, many of us do the same things (e.g., same decor, same cookies, same outings, etc) year after year after year to celebrate. Yet, I have a hunch that many of us “start from scratch” every time Black Friday rolls around and the Christmas season officially begins.
Oftentimes…baking the cookies, finding the stockings, sending out the cards, and visiting all the holiday events…feels like an all-out scramble, doesn’t it?!?
But what if, every year, you had a quick-reference “road map” that contained all your favorite traditions, to-dos, recipes, and ideas in one easy-to-grab binder? What if you had pre-filled checklists, ready-to-go gift trackers, and a fillable holiday budget at your fingertips so you can kick off the holiday on top of it all…instead of playing catch up from day one!
In short, assembling a Holiday Planner (that you can pull out year after year) will help you organize every aspect of your holiday so you can feel less stressed and more merry…all season long!
How to Assemble the Ultimate Holiday Planner
Assembling a Holiday Planner isn’t hard (especially since I have all the trackers, worksheets, and checklists ready for you to print and go!) Make your planner once, and you’ll have a system to reference for years to come!
- 3-Ring Binder – although you can choose to “bind” your Holiday Planner, using a binder will allow you to easily add/remove pages as needed from year to year.
- Printable Holiday/Christmas Planner Kit
- Printable Paper
- Color Printer – this is the ones I use
- 3-Hole Punch
- WeRMemory Keepers Tab Punch with Tab Stickers (for making tabbed dividers) OR a set of Binder Dividers
- Page Protectors – for anything you want to keep well-protected year-after-year
Step 1 – Pick a Holiday Planner Cover
Start by picking a cover for your Holiday/Christmas Planner. Pick something that is fun and festive and that is easy-to-spot off your shelf or inside your decor tubs as the holiday season approaches.
My Printable Holiday Planner Kit includes three fun covers to choose from, one featuring an editable text field where you can type in your own family name! Once you have a cover picked out, print it onto white cardstock and slide into the front of your 3-ring binder.
Curious to see how I made an “extra wide” binder cover? Full instructions HERE!
Step 2 – Make the Holiday Planner Sections
Next, you’ll want to split your Holiday Planner into sections. This not only helps you keep various kinds of information separate, but it also makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.
While you can organize your planner in any way that makes the most sense for your particular holiday celebrations, here is what I recommend at a minimum:
- Food & Drink
- Guests & Travel
- Gifts & Cards
- Schedules & Budget
My Printable Holiday Planner Kit includes ready-to-print divider pages for each of these sections…
…or you can use one of the 17 included pattern pages to create your own custom dividers! Other sections you might want to include are:
- Holiday Party
- Holiday Traditions
- Advent Preparations
- Crafts and Projects
You can certainly use off-the-shelf binder dividers to create tabs for your sections. But if you’d like to just add simple tabs to the printable pattern pages (as shown below), you can also use this tab punch and these tab stickers to make quick stick-on versions.
If you need help making your own binder tabs, see here: Make Your Own Cute Binders Dividers
Step 3 – Fill Up Your Holiday Planner
Once you have the framework of your Holiday Planner system assembled, then you just print out any trackers, worksheets, checklists, spreadsheet, or calendars that you need for your specific holiday planning! While I provide over 100 different holiday-planning worksheets in my ready-to-print kit, you can include any freebies and other finds you like from around the web or that were passed down to you!
Inside the Printable Holiday/Christmas Planner Kit
The Printable Holiday Planner Kit features over 100 printable pages to help you plan and organize every detail of your holiday season. Before I show you the different sections/pages in more detail, here are some important features:
- Fully Editable – Every checklist, recipe card, calendar, and worksheet has fillable text boxes. So you can type out these pages, print, and edit anytime as needed.
- Color-Coded – The pages in each section are color-coordinated to match the category cover sheet and are tied together by iconic holiday symbols in each corner (shown below).
- Print What You Need – Whether you want to print everything or only the specific pages you need, this system is totally customizable so you can create the time-saving resource YOU need!
Part 1 – Food & Drink
All the pink pages are designed to help you brainstorm, plan, and track everything related to holiday food! From planning out your holiday meal to keeping track of which cookies you’re making for who, the pink pages include recipe cards, shopping lists, and baking planners to pull it all together!
I may have gotten a little carried away with giving you options for tracking your holiday baking, including no less than 11 different worksheets. If you do a lot of holiday baking or give lots of treats as gifts, these planning pages are sure to help you keep it all straight!
The editable recipe cards are available in all 6 colors and are a great way to include recipes with gifted treats or save family favorites in your holiday binder!
Part 2 – Holiday Decorations
All the green pages are designed to help you plan, organize, and store your holiday decorations!
I personally love the Decor By Room checklists. They are perfect for breaking down holiday decorating into manageable chunks!
When you’re ready to pack up your decor and stow it away for next year, the Decor Inventory pages and coordinating Holiday Decor Storage Labels (below) will help you track what you have and where everything gets stored so you can easily find it again next year!
Part 3 – Travel & Guests
Whether you’re traveling for the holiday or hosting guests in your own home, the turquoise pages include checklists and calendars to help track all the reservations, best routes, attractions, travel timeline, and more!
The lighter turquoise pages focus on holiday travel and include several different Holiday Travel Planners, editable Packing Lists, and Trip Itinerary sheets.
The darker turquoise pages help you track all the guests coming into town, as well as schedules, activities, travel arrangements, etc!
Part 4 – Gifts & Cards
All the red pages are designed to help you brainstorm, budget, and shop for gifts, as well as organize your holiday card-sending process!
I’ve included four different gift trackers. My favorite is the one shown below; and I use it in lots of different ways. Some boxes are labeled by person, while other are labeled by store to help me track what needs to be bought from where. These could also double as Wish Lists: just have each family member fill out their own box with the items they are hoping to find under the tree!
Four of the most handy pages in this entire kit are the 2-page Black Friday Shopping Guide and the 2-page Cyber Monday Shopping Guide. Print them out in multiples to help you plan out your entire weekend of money-saving shopping!
The rest of the red pages are dedicated to helping you organize your holiday card operation!
From a comprehensive checklist to two different options for recording mailing addresses, these worksheets will ensure not a single card gets lost along the way!
Part 5 – Holiday Party Planner
The darker red pages are all dedicated to holiday party planning. I essentially took the best and most useful aspects of my Printable Party Planner and streamlined them to create a series of worksheets to help you host any holiday celebration!
Whether you are hosting an intimate family party or a bash for the whole street, these pages can help you decide every festive detail!
Part 6 – Schedules & Holiday Budget
In the final section of the planner, I include various calendars and schedules.
From full-month spreads (for November and December) to help you track your holiday season at a glance, to single-day, weekly, and two-week planners, there are tons of options for planning out your baking, wrapping, partying, and more!
This section also includes the budget planning pages. I’ve included both simple grey spreadsheets as well as fully color-coordinated budget sheets if you want to track your spending by category.
Last but not least, this kit also includes a bunch of extra goodies to make your Holiday Planner cute and even more useful!
ALL 17 of the fresh and festive patterns seen throughout this post are included. Print them out as filler pages for your planner, use one as an alternative planner cover, or use them in your holiday crafting.
Holiday To-Do Lists
In addition to dedicated checklists for each section shown above, this kit also includes some general checklists. These are perfect if you don’t want an entire binder system but just need some pages to keep you on track all season long:
The “Bucket List” type pages would be great behind a “Traditions” tab in your planner. Add to them year-after-year to assemble comprehensive lists you can reference over and over!
Finally…this Printable Holiday Planner Kit fully coordinates with an array of additional printable goodies that are sure to help make your holiday season MORE fun and LESS stressful, including:
- Countdown to Christmas Planner – A mini workbook to help you plan out 25 days of Christmas activities for your family
- Printable Bingo Cards – 25 ready-to-print Bingo cards
- Printable Gift Tags – 21 pages of printable gift tags, perfect for last-minute gifting
- Printable Gift Card Holder – Turn any cute paper into a stunning gift
Assembling a Holiday Planner is something that will payoff for years to come. But my guess is that you don’t need any more complication this Christmas season (or any season!) As such, it is my hope that my comprehensive printable planning kit allows you to quickly and easily assemble your binder, so that you have the time and energy to celebrate and spend time doing what the holidays truly mean to you!