Holiday Planning
November 12, 2016 Katie 0 Comments

Like most of us, (myself included), the holidays can be a very stressful time and without an action plan things can fall apart quickly. That’s where a little holiday planning can come in handy…

This is probably the one time of year when I throw all planning into the wind and decide, however subconsciously, to put everything I need to do off until the last minute. Of course this always results in pure chaos! So this year I am making a conscious choice to have a plan, get organized and be ready for the holidays.

Here are 6 ways to get organized for the holiday season with some super simple holiday planning:

1 – Plan your Menus

It’s never too early to do this. Create both your Thanksgiving and Christmas menus at the same time (or do your Christmas one right after Thanksgiving). Here’s how I did mine, I Googled “Thanksgiving Dinner Menu” and found some recipes I liked. Then, I bookmarked them and wrote down on a piece of paper their titles. After that, I went over the menu with all family members involved (at least in cooking/planning) and KABOOM menu planned! It took all of 15 minutes.

2 – Planning Your Shopping

Once your menu is done get your shopping list together based on the recipes you bookmarked and go shopping no more than a week in advance. I do the shopping sometime the week before, at least for the items that spoil or get yucky within a few days. As long as you have your list ready shopping will be a breeze.

3 – Make a complete list of everyone who is coming

This is important, be aware of who is going to show up, even if it’s just a maybe, you want them on your list. You want to make sure you know who is going to be there, if they are sleeping over at your house, etc. This is essential in planning and reducing holiday stress. Keep this list with your menus in a special place, such as on your desk.

4 – Get a Holiday Timeline together

This is where you will ask yourself all the important questions to reduce the stress of cooking, shopping last minute, etc. The timeline should include:

  • What time dinner will be served
  • What time you need to start cooking to make that happen
  • When you are going shopping for ingredients
  • When people will start showing up (you might want some appetizers out – I’m doing a Spinach dip with toasted baguette.)
  • Where everyone will sit for dinner, do you need extra chairs, a kid’s table, etc.
  • When will you start clean-up and who is helping you?


Use past experience to judge what else you might need on this list.

5 – Christmas Shopping

There is nothing I hate more than trying to get my gift shopping done last minute, yet year after year this is typically what happens. Last year, I did something amazing and ordered all my gifts online. What a wonderful thing it was! They got delivered to the house and all I did was sit on the couch after Thanksgiving and order a bunch of stuff. It was blissful and I cannot recommend doing this enough. If for some reason this isn’t your deal than I recommend shopping NOW. Make a list and then go and get a few things each week until you’ve got everything on your list.

6 – Organizing Your Notes

You can either type these out on your computer and save in a special file or write them by hand in a special notebook. I prefer writing them by hand and keeping them all in one place where they won’t get moved by someone else.

For me it would look something like this: (To make it super easy you can download my Holiday Planning Free Printables HERE!)

  • A special notebook or binder I can temporarily use for the holidays
  • First page will be my Holiday Timeline for Thanksgiving
  • Second page will be Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Shopping List
  • Third page will be my Guest List
  • Fourth page will be Holiday Timeline for Christmas
  • Fifth page Christmas Dinner Menu and Shopping List
  • Sixth page will be Guest list


This planning will make next year a breeze, you will already have ideas and questions to ask yourself so planning will be easy-peasy!

How do you get organized for the Holidays? I would love to hear what your holiday planning looks like!

Don’t forget I’ve made it super easy for you and created all the pages I listed above as Printables you just download and print! I created one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas.


Event Planning Free Printables

CLICK HERE to download!!



Katie Smith, Professional Home Organizer in Canton, GA


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