100 Days of Holidays: Day 24: Let's Get Planner Organized for the Holidays

Okay here's your scary rundown of the holidays:

Halloween....21 days away.
Thanksgiving...45 days away.
Christmas...76 days away.
New Years...83 days away.

Are you ready for all the holiday get together events?  More than likely this answer is no.  Unless you are a phenomenal planner and have been working on that Thanksgiving menu since July.  If so, then you either have no kids or you have mad skills.  Either way, you go with your super organized planner self.  I actually feel that by even thinking about planning for these events, that I have accomplished something.

The one thing I feel that I need to get started with holiday planning, is a good planner.  I have tried several different set ups over the past few years, and I have either found myself with multiple planners and notebooks, or I have created my own planner and added pages to support this.  The only holiday I really have to do all the cooking for is Christmas, and it consists of all three meals plus desserts, for both my family and my husband's.  There are all sorts of holiday planners or guides out there to use, so I thought I would give a brief review of a few for you and let you know what I ultimately decided on.

Here are some basic options:

Printable planner pages.  You can print out just the pages you need to organize your holiday.  You can find pages such as:

  1. Menu planning
  2. Gift giving
  3. Budget
  4. Decorations
  5. Travel accommodations
  6. Bucket List
There are many to chose from that are free and some for a small fee.  A simple Google search will bring you many options.  One great free printable I found was at Living Well Spending Less.  Simply sign up to receive your email, and you will get a link to download a fantastic planner that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  You can print the entire packet, or just chose what you need.  If you are looking for a more personalized printable, check out Etsy for a great variety. 

Create your own.  

That Thing Called Life...A Day in the Life of a Crafty Mom:

This is a calendar I have been using and working on for over a year now.  After searching and searching for the perfect planner, I found some interesting things on Pinterest that showed how some people created their own planners...by actually drawing/writing them out.  While time consuming, this is one of the best calendar options I have ever done.  I added pages where I needed for birthday party planning, vacations, seasonal cleaning lists, you name it.  The only downfall to an actual bound notebook is that it is hard to make it too far ahead, if you feel you might need to add something later.  I tried many different week/day layouts throughout the fifteen months I used it.  Here I did all the days of the week on one page, and checklists for the week on the other.  When my months were busier, then I changed to a two page spread for the week.  The possibilities are really endless, but you do need a lot of patience.  Here is where my original idea came from for it.  

Now for the do-it-all planners.  I have researched these for quite some time, and finally found one that suits me perfectly.

First I researched the Erin Condren planners.  I had already heard about these and then I saw a friend with one.  It's like planner crack.  They are gorgeous in design and are durable.  There are many extras you can get to go along with the planner, like stickers, post its, zipper pouches and on and on,  I spent more than an hour one night just clicking every little item on their site.  The one thing Erin Condren planners have that others similar to it do not, is three different weekly layouts to chose from.  You can go with vertical, horizontal, or even hourly.  Typically these come in one year planners, but you can do a six month expansion pack add on if you wish.  I absolutely fell in love with this planner and had my heart set on buying it, but the price took me back a little bit.  $55 for the planner alone.  On the plus side though, there are usually 25% off coupons you can find online or advertised on their site.

Next on my list of searches was the Plum Paper Designs.  These have almost the same options as the Erin Condren planners.  Lots of covers to chose from and many, many add ins.  They also give a breakdown on the listings of how many pages you can add to a planner.  If you have the 18 month planner, you can add 36 extra pages, where as if you have a 12 month planner, you can add 75 additional pages.  Plus, you can start these planners at any month you chose.  These are around $35 and the add ins are a little less than Erin Condren.  

Finally, the one that sold me almost immediately.  The Happy Planner.  Same features as the above two have.  The basic planner has a two page month view, and vertical page layout for day of the week.  It also gives a place to write in your goals, plans, and notes for the month in advance.  Pages can be added as well and they come in 12 or 18 month versions.  Online these run from $30-$40.  Here's what ended up selling me:  HOBBY LOBBY.  $29.99 in store and online.  Best part?  40% off coupon.  Final price: $17.99.  This was for the 18 month planner!  I am really happy with it as well.  I purchased a pack of lined/graph pages and inserted extra pages for the holidays so I can plan my meals, crafts, gift giving, sales, you name it.  Here are some photos of the one I bought.

I could have spent half the day going through all the add on items they had in the store!  I plan to go back and use another 40% off coupon to add a few more items to my calendar.  I even pulled out my scrapbooking stash to find some stickers to add as I go along.  

I feel like I am already getting myself more organized, just by having everything in one place.  I am so excited to start using this planner.  I have already started working on my Christmas goodies baking list.  I want to start buying up items now, instead of spending a ton at once.  

Do you use any of the above planners or methods to organize your life and holidays?  Are there others that you love even more?  Please share in the comments below, I would love to check them out as well.  I hope this post has inspired you or at least provided more information if you are in the market for a planner.

Until next time, 

Amy ~ The Dixie Diva


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