6 Things to Track in your Family Christmas Planner is a guest post by Cate Brickell.
I love Christmas.
In fact, I’m that annoying friend who posts countdowns on social media, and can tell you that today there is 70 days left to Christmas.
This love of Christmas isn’t new; my mum was so good at hiding presents that I still believed in Santa until well into my teen years (18 to be precise)
But this Buddy the Elf-style of Christmas love comes at a price – it’s just about the only area of my life that is precision run and repetitive each year.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered since involving children in the joys of Christmas twenty years ago, it’s that you need a plan to keep track of all the things that make Christmas great.
For me, there are just six main things to keep track of over the next couple of months. If you can keep on top of these things, you’ll be celebrating an amazing Christmas this year!
What can you use a Christmas Planner for Families For
1. Keep track of your spending
Sticking to a budget can be difficult at Christmas time. After all, who doesn’t want to indulge their kids in every whim and wish?
But worse than sticking to a budget is getting to January first and you’ve done Christmas on a credit card.
The quickest way to not go over budget is to write everything down, even the small supermarket purchases that slip into the trolley at the last minute.
By writing it all down, you’ll see where all the money is going, and be able to determine what you might still need to purchase, and where you can trim some excess from.
2. Keep track of your gifting
Knowing who you need to buy gifts for, and what they actually want, eases the stress of last minute shopping trips.
It also helps to keep a list of online purchases, in case things disappear; and if you’re an AfterPay or layby users, keeping track of when payments are due means you won’t miss them and miss out on gifts.
3. Menu plan, menu plan, menu plan
My Christmas sanity hinges on this tip!
Creating a menu plan for every meal for the entire holiday period, from Christmas Eve right through to January 2nd, will keep you away from the shops and the stress of shopping with the rest of the world.
In fact, I go so far as to do my grocery shopping on my regular day, and add in this plan. With Christmas on a Tuesday this year, and my regular shopping day the Wednesday before, it’s entirely possible to not go near the aisles for over two weeks!
4. Create family time
Christmas is about spending time with our loved ones, but sometimes that can be forgotten in the rush of busy that can consume us.
As our kids are getting older and we’re learning to give them their space and ability to do their own thing, making plans to spend time together becomes more important.
I find that family time can work perfectly with the next point.
5. Keep track of the traditions
There are some things that I do with my family that my parents did with me (hello, breakfast before presents).
And there are things that are non-negotiable for my kids to be present at (hello, Santa hat photos and reluctant teenagers).
But these are the things that my kids talk about year after year when discussing Christmas plans with friends and family.
And now that we have a mix of believers and non-believers, it becomes even more important to make new traditions, and keep our old ones going.
6. Self-care for Mum
In the midst of all this planning for the perfect Christmas (which, by the way, doesn’t exist) it is vital to remember to take time to care for you.
Whether your thing is weekly soaks in a candlelit bath, or 12 hours away from home for a crafting good time (my personal indulgence) make sure that you put some alone time on your calendar before it gets crazy busy.
Related: Me-time for Busy Mums
Bonus tip – plan some downtime for the family.
Don’t fill every minute of your calendar with things to do or people to see.
As the year winds down and school and work commitments start appearing, it can be tempting to say yes to everything you’re invited to.
But that can lead to kid or mum meltdowns when it becomes overwhelming for everyone.
Try saying no to something at least every other day. White space on your calendar allows for space in the event that something unexpected appears.
If you follow these tips, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the Christmas of your childhood (our mums have a lot to answer for, making it seem so effortless!) but with a plan in hand Christmas can feel less about getting everything perfect, and more about the memories you’ll treasure for years to come.
About the Author
Writing at Life Behind The Purple Door, Cate really does live behind a purple door! A busy mum to five kids who are getting older every day, Cate loves the Christmas season, but doesn’t do stress very well. This year, she finally created a planner here that can keep track of all the things, and become a treasured keepsake in years to come.
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What will you track in your Family Christmas Planner? Originally published on Oct 15th 2018 and updated for now.