Monday, November 3, 2008

Christmas Organized

This is my Christmas Organized binder. I've been using this little binder for several years now, and it really does help me to stay on top of things during the holiday season. And more importantly, it helps me remember what I did last year including what worked and what didn't.

I like to use binders in organizing, especially when I have a theme like this. I think it's the teacher in me that makes me do this. I probably have at least 100 full binders if you count all my teacher binders.

For my Christmas Organized binder, it's really pretty simple and you could easily create one for yourself in as little as 20 minutes. And you will be rewarded with that amount of time saved ten-fold if you actually use this binder.

Enough of that, let's talk about what's in the binder and why I think it's so great.

My first section is labeled HOLIDAY CARDS, and this is where I keep my Christmas card list, in excel spreadsheet format. This way it's easy for me to make changes, and I can print my mailing labels directly from this list so it does double duty. Oh, I know it's not very personal, but I am very much of the mindset Embrace Technology and Make it Your Friend.

And if you don't like that, you're going to love this. I keep track of who I receive cards from and when I decide my list is getting too big, guess who I axe first? Hey, postage ain't cheap.

My next binder section is HOLIDAY BAKING and this is some pretty serious stuff in my world. In this house, we are all about the holiday baking, and if you don't believe me, check this out.

Stick around and you'll get to watch this whole production line play out. We're so serious about our baking, that we start buying our ingredients in September and stockpiling them. We have another spread sheet with every thing we make on it and how much of each ingredient we need, then those ingredients are all totalled so we know exactly how many pounds of butter and white chocolate, etc., to buy. Fun stuff.

We also keep track of who we give the treats to so we don't forget anyone from one year to the next. And we don't cut people from this list for not reciprocating either. In fact, we prefer they don't because we don't need it, and for some reason, we love to spread the baking love.

Lastly in this section, are the recipes, all of which I will be sharing with you this holiday season.

My next section is labeled GIFT IDEAS and this section has a pocket divider. That pocket is very important because this is where I keep all my gift receipts so I can put my hands on them right away if I need to.

In this section, you've probably guessed, I have another spread sheet. I love me some spread sheets, that's for sure. Of course on this spread sheet I have the names of all the people we gift, along with any ideas that I have, what amount we've budgeted, etc. I include everything on this spreadsheet. It's basically my Christmas budget as well as a detailed shopping plan. It's fun to look back and see what we got people from one year to the next.

I have another section in my binder labeled PARTIES and in this section I mostly keep ideas for parties, holiday activities for kids, and teacher gift ideas that I've collected throughout the year.

My last section is labeled DECORATING and it is simply that, ideas for decorating. Mostly it's stuff that I pull out of magazines. I tend to run a few years behind on my magazines, so it's not uncommon for me to be reading a holiday issue in July, thus the need for a place to collect ideas.

And that's it. You could add more or fewer sections to fit your needs, but believe me, it's a big time saver.


  1. Oh my gosh!! You and I must have been seperated at birth. I am the queen of the binder and spreadsheet!! (Please!! For my wedding, I had Volume 1 and Volume 2!!) I just pulled last year's binder out yesterday to start planning my Thanksgiving menu :-)

  2. awesome idea!! I have a notebook where I keep track from year to year the gifts I buy so I don't duplicate and I can keep track of what I spend and what I've already bought, I really ought to go one step further and get more organized. Great job!

  3. Are you still teaching in addition to all the other things you do? You are going to have a huge laugh as I document my baking adventures this holiday season. Stay tuned later this week for the first installment....

  4. Uh-oh, even if I don't send cards, you will get one. I do not want to get cut off from the holiday letter!

    (Peeps and Madam say meow!)

  5. WOW girl, you are just too organized for me...I wish I had just a teeny bit of the organizational skills you have!!!

  6. All I can say it Wow! I absolutely love your organization skills. So impresive and fun.

  7. OMG thank you so much for sharing this idea! I had to tell you that I was so inspired I made one today as well. This is going to be a HUGE help for me this year!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing! You can check mine out [url=]here[/url] if you want.

  8. Oh wow, Jill - you are seriously organised LOL

    Glad you enjoyed the pic of the desk :)

    Marcia from Organising Queen

  9. I was just thinking about compiling all the gifts given, party games, etc... Thanks for helping me out with your super fabulous idea. You're an amazing organizer!

  10. That is amazing...I'm gonna have to do that! I always leave notes here and there, haha. I've actually started a gift idea spreadsheet though so that's a start ;-) And I did start making some Christmas tags today, yay. I love your ideas, thanks for sharing.

    Jamie :)

  11. Wow! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas! I would love to see a sample of your spreadsheet for your baking. I'm a pastry chef and tend to over-do it on the baking every year. It'd would be nice not to have to make 15 trips to the store because I ran out of butter/eggs/flour etc... Would you be willing to share? Thanks, ~Danielle

  12. @ChefBabyCakes, I would be happy to share my spreadsheet with you if you would give me your e-mail address. It is not attached to your Blogger profile and I have no way to contact you. :(

  13. I would love a copy of your spreadsheet, too. I try to stock up, but it still seems like I have to make several trips to get it all. I have a Christmas Binder that contains recipes we have made, recipes to try, along with crafts we have made and new ones to try. It' s not very organized, though.
    my email is bjr1115 at comcast dot net.

    1. Barb, Your e-mail address isn't attached to your Blogger profile so I have no way to contact you. E-mail me at Jillderbeast@me. com if you still want this spread sheet.

  14. Once all the decorations are done, I take pictures for my notebook. This way, I know where everything goes year to year. It's also helpful if you have helpers, you can just hand them the picture and it's done exactly as you like it.

  15. I've had a Christmas binder that I've used for several years, and one of my favorite sections is my kids' wish lists. I've had them write them out by hand each year, and I store them in the binder. They are 21, 18 and 17 now, and it is so much fun to go back and look at the lists from when they are little!