Christmas is Over, time to plan

We packed up the last of the Christmas decorations today (don’t judge), pushed the armchairs back into their normal places, and sighed wistfully at the now naked staircase. Yes, my friends, Christmas is over. So that means…it’s time to plan for next Christmas! I know, I’m crazy. But I’m a big fan of the All is Calm Christmas and that takes some planning. I made some rookie mistakes this year and found myself needing to have a little lie-down every so often, so I wouldn’t get too stressed.

Not that having your daughter star as Clara and Fritz and having your son make Eagle Scout isn’t stressful enough, but throw in some holidays and birthdays and…excuse me me while I go lie down for a moment.

Ok, I’m back.

So I’m going to try some thing new this year and I would like for you to come along for the ride. There’s likely to be free planner pages in it for you!

AllisCalm4I’m going to start planning for next Christmas right now and sort of spread the thoughts and plans out over the year. My goal is to reach December in such a state of calm and collectedness that all I have to do is flip on the fireplace (it’s gas) and sit down with a nice cup of eggnog and listen to Christmas carols. Of course, whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but it sounds good, right?

Here’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to sit down and think back to the holiday season.  Then we’re going to write down the things that worked, the things that didn’t work and the things we wished we’d done better.

No beating yourself for not pulling off the Perfect Family Christmas, because that’s never going to happen anyway.

Look, here’s a lovely printable planner page to help you! Christmas in Review There’s 2 pages, the Christmas in Review page and a notes page.  Stick them in your home management binder or under C (for Christmas) or H (for holidays) in your A-Z file.  Or start a new Holiday Planner!  There will be more pages coming, including a cover/divider.


And here’s where I’m taking a risk. After you’ve filled out this worksheet, come back here and tell me what was the best thing that happened during your holiday season and what is one thing you wished you could have done better. Don’t leave me hanging with no comments, ok?  I’ll go first.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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  • bad was not budgeting or shopping early enough, and getting my cleaning done sooner.
    good was baking and candy making went great!
    and for next year i will decorate a little more than just the tree.

  • The best thing that happened is that everything really did get done. It was exhausting and stressful at times, but I think mostly everything went well. I wish I had done some things earlier – like take a family portrait for the Christmas cards and write our Christmas letter.

  • I had every intention of a calm Christmas this year, but then somehow it was here before I knew it. I barely got the tree up in time. And I ‘d like to better budget. I want to make a Christmas bucket list and I want to bake cookies. This year the hubs and I started the weekly savings account (we are each depositing twice, so we’ll have 4x the savings!) to use toward Christmas shopping – that will help a lot! Count me in!

  • OK this is going to sound really awful and please don’t hate ;). My family (Hubby, Daughter, 20 and sons 19 and 13) went on a cruise with 2 other families over New Year’s. Yes, it was AWESOME and I’d go again in a minute. BUT the deal was, if we decide as a family to do that, we cut way back on Christmas spending. All in the family agreed. I intended to do some small gifts under the tree but when it came time to money was tighter than anticipated due to a few unforseen things and honestly some poor management. So we really sort of skipped Christmas, didn’t visit relatives (in different states, so would have to travel) and didn’t put up much because didn’t want to get back and have to take it all down after a great vacation. Oh, and there was the “Mom, you’re the only one that cares about decorating for Christmas anyway” from my boys…..We did church and dinner with friends, etc. but I feel like Christmas passed me by this year. Anyway sorry for ranting, but I am not sure I would plan a big trip again over the holidays. Sounded like an awesome idea at the time though.

    • That’s a good lesson learned, Dolores. I do hope the cruise was fun, though. We’ve done some traveling around various holidays, too, and it really does make it hard – money is tighter, you have less time to plan, and sometimes even the post-travel let down puts a damper on the celebrations. Hopefully Christmas won’t pass you by next year.
      Lorri recently posted..Christmas is Over, time to planMy Profile

  • Had a quiet Christmas this year. I am in school full time, working part time and the family having flu week before Christmas we didn’t get our baking done, pictures done or cards sent out. I use to be very organized about Christmas cause it is my favorite time of year next to birthdays. Hopefully next year with the help of planners and your blog I may be on the ball.

    • Sarah, you bring up a good point – unexpected things happen and derail even the best of plans. My theory is that if I’m on top of things and get things done early, then no matter what happens, all will be OK. That’s my theory, anyway!
      Lorri recently posted..Christmas is Over, time to planMy Profile

  • Christmas kinda snuck up on me this year. I had all these grand plans with timelines of when I wanted to get stuff done, what I was going to buy, etc.
    Only, it was all in my head. I never wrote anything down.
    My Christmas cards are still sitting on my desk, waiting to be stamped and sent out. We never even got out decorations out until the 22nd! I never got any of my baking done. I did last minute shopping.
    I am already starting to make lists in my binder and have actually done a little shopping already. ( We pick names on my MIL’s side of the family, and for some of them, I can shop now!)
    Aside from finally getting down to visit my husband’s mamaw, Christmas wasn’t really that enjoyable for me.

    2014 will be different :)

    • I’m glad you’re along for this series, Sarah! Hopefully you can get things planned out in a way that will let you enjoy the holidays more.

  • I just would like an address of my very own by Christmas next year. Well, I guess I would share it with my husband and kiddos. 😉

  • I always make handmade gifts for my family and I waited WAY TOO LONG to start them. I was actually finishing up projects on the day of the party! I made a resolution that I would work on gifts all year and not wait. That was the one thing that stressed me this year. Also, we never really “budget” for the holidays and then go nuts as it approaches! We also put our tree up, which was a chore more than an enjoyment. Hardly decorated anything else. I promised that things would come down in better order but then I rushed to take down and just threw things in bins. Want to better plan for that as well. So you see Lorri, I NEED this Christmas binder. It will have it’s own special RED binder so I can be more prepared next year!

    • Handmade gifts are my downfall! It all seems like such a good idea at the time, but the reality is that I don’t craft well with a deadline. Sigh.

      One of the things we will work on over the year is decorating – planning before well before it happens in a way that will help get everything packed and labeled for the following year!

  • I spent way too much money this year… and every year I say I am going to begin in January and plan to make something every month, or buy a few gifts once a month, so we don’t get hit so hard.. I am looking forward to this year long planning! Thanks

  • Best – The ornaments were stored according to which tree they went on so it was easier to get the trees decorated. We put them away the same way for next year. :)
    What I need to work on – Being more organized in gift shopping and not waiting until the last minute. Also, having a plan to do more Christmas activities with the small people.
    TaMara recently posted..A Birthday Tea PartyMy Profile

    • Ah, the little ones who we are trying so hard to make a good Christmas for! We definitely need to find ways to slow down and help them enjoy the season as well.

  • This might sound too commercial or not ‘family’ enough, but one thing that worked great for us this year was that we went out to eat for Christmas Dinner. We went to our favorite Italian place on the 24th as our family dinner and did a usual lunch the next day at home. Everyone loved it. No one had to cook or clean up a big meal. We got dressed up and everyone got to eat what they wanted. I’m at an awkward phase where my kids are way too old for Santa, don’t care about decorating, and would rather watch Dr. Who than do anything ‘Christmas-y’. I think it will take a few years before our Christmas celebrations even out a bit as all of my kids enter young adulthood and figure out how they want to observe the day. We did go to church together on Christmas Eve and we put out the nativity set and Advent candles. I’m going to think about what I want to convey about the holiday to my future grandchildren and focus my celebration there. My kids will likely form their own traditions when they marry.

    • I don’t think that’s commercial at all! That’s the thing – our goal should be family happiness and peace. If that’s going out to eat, then there is value to that. We shouldn’t feel bound to traditions that the family doesn’t care about. It’s sounds like you’ve got a new tradition in the making!

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