Thursday, August 25, 2016


Since Christmas is four months away from today, I thought this would be a good time to talk about my Christmas planning. That, and the planning outline I'm about to introduce you to begins on Sept. 1. While I think about Christmas all year long in some aspect, September 1 is when I really kick the official Christmas planning into gear. 

Without looking back in one of my early Christmas Notebook binders, I am guessing I've been a part of the Christmas Notebook yahoo group for almost twenty years.

The Christmas Notebook was formed by Rhonda Coulter. I call her the Queen of Christmas. She has worked hard to fine-tune being prepared for Christmas BEFORE the holiday arrives. The concept allows you to enjoy the Holiday season seemingly stress-free. Like anything else, the Plan works when you Work the Plan. She provides the program and each participant makes it their own according to their family, traditions and how they want to celebrate the Christmas season. We learn to evaluate what works and what doesn't and how to enjoy the holiday.

Traditionally, Rhonda has us start with a 3-ring binder and tabbed sections. I've used a binder every year until this year.

While doing my pre-planning evaluation I had an epiphany. I do not need a big binder. For the most part there are only the two of us for the holidays. I put together Christmas packages for my daughter's family in Washington, I send out approx. 60 Christmas cards every year. Last year, with Bob on the boat, I finally took my sister up on her offer to spend Christmas with them. So on occasion that happens, I can still incorporate the gifts for her family in my new smaller version.

I still use this full-size binder to keep the weekly assignment outlines from Rhonda but the new Travel Journal is just for my personal planning. 

While taking advantage of the awesome clearance sale of the Bohemian Travel Journals, I picked up a red one. I also purchased some Christmas charms at HL (40% off). Add some stickers from The Paper Studio (50% off) and came up with this:

The concept behind the CNB Notebook as we call it includes the following:

To Do List - brain dumping all the things that come to us about what we need to remember in our planning.

Monthly Calendar - A place to track specific events as they come to you so they can be transferred to their Weekly Planning Page.

Weekly Planning Pages - A place to incorporate things from the To Do list into weekly tasks, insuring things are done ahead of time.

Room Pages - Where we take each room we want to decorate - one room at a time. Making a to do list of things that need done ahead of time for each room to be ready for the holidays. Everything from cleaning, to decorating. This may also include where decorations for each room are stored. Rhonda has over 120 Rubbermaid tubs. Each are numbered and she keeps an inventory of what is in each tub and which room they coordinate with. 

Gift Giving - Keeping track of who we need gifts for. This can include sizes/ color preferences, etc.

Food - Seriously. It's the holidays. There has to be food. Everything from cookies/ candy to meals for the big day. This may also include prepping meals ahead of time and popping in the freezer for those nights when you need a quick dinner, like church or school event nights. You can include tried and true favorites as well as recipes you want to try - ahead of time. 

For me.. I also included
Cookie List - I deliver over 30 cookie trays to area businesses each year. This is where I will keep my Gift Tray recipient list as well as a list of cookies/ candies I'll be making. I have a separate recipe binder just for the recipes.

The CNB travel journal is small enough to take with me when I'm shopping or want to sneak away to a coffee shop or lunch to work on my planning. And large enough to incorporate the the things about the holidays that are important to us. 


  1. LOVE this post! I love Christmas and it is always on my mind :)

  2. Oh!! And I love your journal that you made :-)

    1. Goofy twin! I'd have been lost several years without the Christmas Notebook to keep things moving.

  3. Excellent Idea Kelly. I love that your binder is red for the holiday. Good luck with all your planning. I really need to get started on Christmas cards.