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Preparing for Christmas: Setting up Your Christmas Planner

Katya Bowd

Posted on December 20 2017

Calling all stressed out, frazzled parents with too much to do and not enough time! I’m hearing the call, I’m sympathising, and now I’m going to help you address the elephant in the room: Christmas. It’s the time of year you look forward to and dread at the same time. While you love watching the look on your children’s faces as they open presents and look for signs that Santa’s been, it’s the preparing for those special moments that causes you to pull your hair out.

How do you know what to feed everyone on Christmas Day? How do you ensure you’ve got enough space for extended family? What are you going to buy for the kids? How much money will you need to make it all happen? You go from being a full-time mother, to being a jack of all trades. You were always wonder woman, but you’re now an event planner, a host, a chef, a chauffeur and everything in between. It can all become too much, especially if you also work full-time or part-time, take the kids to extracurricular activities and still need to plan for a dozen or so people to stay at your home for the festive season. You need to set up your Christmas mum planner, and you need to do it now!

What are mum planners?

Mum planners are a lifeline for all those parents out there who struggle to manage the many different tasks yet to be completed for Christmas. Whether you choose to set yours up by yourself, or choose one of ours, you are sure to find them to be convenient and helpful for storing all that information to get the planning process underway. You can get creative with decorating your planner, or you can opt for the simple notepad and pen method. Choose the best method that works for you, and run with it. It can ultimately be a lifesaver.

What can be included in your mum planner?

What you choose to add to your mum planner is entirely up to your individual situation. Many people choose to go with the flow and add in information and sections as they arise.

However, a good Christmas planner can include:

A calendar:
This is vital for writing in dates of when and who’s coming on particular dates. When many different people are coming and going, it can be hard to keep track. Aunt Edna might need to be picked up at the airport at 10am on Christmas Eve, or Uncle Mark might need a ride from the bus station at 6pm on the 23rd. It can be easy to forget vital information such as this without a calendar.

Gift lists:
Your gift list can be an itemised list of who you need to buy gifts for, and what you intend on getting them. This is perfect for a brainstorming session. Remember to include a few additional blocks or boxes of chocolates in your gift planning session. This covers all those “plus ones” that might show up on the big day or the kindly neighbor who brought over Christmas shortbread.

Christmas cards:
Your Christmas card section can be a list of who you need to send Christmas cards to or an ideas list for how you’ll get creative with your family Christmas card photo this year.

A budget:
This can be broken down into individual family members for gifts, or a budget for gifts, food, and miscellaneous items. Budgets are important as they stop you from creating a credit card headache for yourself in the new year. It’s best to do this part in advance, or open a bank account to put money into each week.

Meals and menus:
While you may think storing this information in your head is enough, it’s definitely not. If you’ve got people coming to stay for any number of days, planning a menu is a good idea. Remember, it’s not just the big Christmas dinner that will need to be planned for. You also have to figure out what you will feed them in the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners prior to Christmas, and for however long they’re staying after the actual event.

Entertaining:
Will you be hosting families at your home? Will there be a lot of children? Are you going somewhere with your own children? Entertainment is key. Load the portable DVD player up with plenty of DVDs for in the car, and plan board games and other fun activities for either your home or someone else’s. This will keep the kids entertained and out of trouble.

Recipes:

Have you only got one copy of Grandma’s traditional cranberry sauce? Are all your recipes housed in 10 different books? Have a sort out prior to Christmas, and write down all the recipes you will be needing, inside your mum planner. Add planner stickers that are colour coded to separate lunch from dinner.

Décor:
Is there anything you need to buy to get your home looking festive? Do you need a new Christmas tree? Has the tinsel lost a battle with the cat one too many times? Will there be enough plates and cutlery? Think about those small miscellaneous items that need to be purchased, and write them in the décor section of your mum planner.

House plans:
When you’re playing host for Christmas, it’s important you work out a house plan for where everyone will sleep. Draw the layout of your home, and draw rectangles with the names of your guests in them, to represent beds in each room. This will enable you to plan blankets, sheets, and other necessities in advance. Remember to stock up on toilet paper and bathroom essentials as well!

There are so many things you can add to your planner, including planner inserts for more ideas you come up with. The best part is, your special planner can be used year after year. If everything runs smoothly with all your thoughts and plans written out, why change it when you don’t have to?

Christmas has long been painted as a stressful time of year. We agree that it can be, but there are ways in which you can gain control over the silly season without it putting a strain on the household. Remember, Christmas is a time for family, happiness, and celebration. Get your stress in check, have a plan in place, and it will all fall together nicely. Trust us!

Have you used a mum planner? How did it work for you? Did you build it yourself? We’d love to hear your secrets, tips, and tricks for how you got Christmas to go off without a hitch.