LIFE AS YOU LIVE IT: Organize: Holiday Binder/Christmas Binder Organization

Organize: Holiday Binder/Christmas Binder Organization

04 December 2016

Welcome to December! The month of everything holiday related and all of the craziness that comes with it! I thought it'd be fun to share my holiday binder and the system that works best for us when December hits our house!

I use the 1" Better Binder for most of my organizational binders. They do come in a variety of colors, however I prefer to stick to one color (white) so that it doesn't become to busy looking. I put a piece of my favorite Holiday wrapping paper in the front and in the window located on the spine with a label. I keep all of these "organizing" binders together so when they're lined up on the shelf, they have a seamless look but I am able to quickly differentiate them by the window.

I was pleasantly surprised that the pocket on the inside of the binder was enclosed and has a band that keeps it shut. I keep a handful of holiday stickers, labels and cards that come in the mail as well as extra holiday stamps here. We do send out personalized holiday cards every year, however, it's nice to keep some generic ones on hand in the event that we run out of the personalized ones or are looking to send a card to someone we don't know that well. This is also a great place to keep return address labels.

All of the pages that I used for this planner are apart of the Christmas Planner that I designed last year. I printed them all on shimmer card stock to make them even more durable. I am constantly flipping through this binder so having these printed on card stock has been a game changer. I considered putting each of the printables into sheet protectors but figured it would be a pain to keep taking them them in and out every time I needed to work on a page.

The first page in the binder is a running "to do" list where I can quickly jot something down and refer back to it later. This binder sits out in our kitchen for the majority of November and December so it's important that everything stays in one place and I don't have multiple sticky notes laying around the house.

Right behind that page is a calendar of December where I write in important dates and reminders. I tend to use the calendar on my phone the most however it's nice to have everything written out on one page to serve as a secondary reminder to make sure that we aren't forgetting any special dates!

I have five different sections in this binder, "general", "gifts", "cards", "decor", and "recipes". These dividers are the Avery white plastic ones that I covered in wrapping paper, labeled and then covered in a Scotch laminating sheet. I did this to help secure everything and make sure it stays together. What's also great about these is that you can jot notes down on the other side and then erase them as well.

In the general section I have the holiday budget sheet to help keep track of all of our expenses throughout the season. I haven't filled this in yet. Usually we end up charging everything and then crying about it later.

I have a holiday checklist that covers up to four weeks before Christmas. It includes a variety of tasks from purchasing stamps, cards and wrapping paper to charging batteries and clearing space on our memory cards. I usually end up penciling in a few extra items as well!

We don't have kids, however, I do keep this "letter to Santa" form in here as well. This is great for kids to jot down a few of their Christmas wishes including what they want, what they need, what they'll wear and what they will read.

In the gifts section I keep the gift list right up front. We write down everyone that we will be shopping for this season and then include what we intend to purchase them and the price. When that item has been wrapped I check the box, and then when it is given to the recipient it gets another check! If we are purchasing several gifts for one person, we will just write their name at the top and then list the items that we have purchased. This is great to help keep track of gifts purchased for children. This list is from last year, so all of these people have already received these gifts, however I do like to keep lists from past years around to refer to.

On the following page I have a list for stocking stuffers. Similar to the "gift list", we will write who the stocking is for, the item, price and then we will check it off when it has been purchased and wrapped.

Right behind the "stocking stuffers" page I keep this mini sheet protector filled with $25 gift cards. I like to keep a variety of different gift cards on hand in the event that someone catches us off guard with a gift and we want to reciprocate the gesture. Plus, who doesn't love gift cards!? They're one of our favorite items to receive because they're small, compact and you get to pick out exactly what you want. I cut some kraft paper to size to fill the sleeve so that everything looks neat. What's great is they won't fall out because of the flap on the page protector!

In the cards section I keep a list of everyone I send holiday cards to that year. Each sheet holds 20 contacts. What I tend to do is go through out master contact list and write names (or highlight) of whom we will be sending a holiday card to. I usually don't write the address because it's stored right behind it and I keep the addresses saved on my computer so that I can print the address right onto the card. When the cards gets sent out it gets a check!

Tiny prints has kindly gifted us with holiday cards for the past couple of years which is where we receive our personalized picture cards. I always order them in 5"x7" size so that we can frame them and put them out on display year after year for decoration.

In the back of this planner I keep an additional copy of each holiday card in this recipes page protector to refer to year after year as well. I love how every picture encapsulates our lives from that year. Our picture from 2014 was taken when we lived in Boston so we snagged a picture up on our roof deck with the skyline in the background. Even though we still lived in Boston in 2015, our picture from that year was actually taken at my parents house in our matching holiday sweaters!

For this year's card we moved out of the city so we posed in front of our house with Macy Cat. She's so photogenic! I love having all of our holiday cards from past years stored back here. They're easy to access and fun to look through! I can't wait to continue to add to this collection and watch how our little family changes. I keep these stored in the very back of the binder because the sheet protectors extend farther than the dividers and I did not want them to cover the dividers up.

Also in the cards section I keep a "Thank You" sheet for any gifts, baked goods or kind gestures that we might receive. We just quickly jot down their name, address, what they gifted us with and then check off the box when the card has been sent. If you want you can even take this entire sheet with you under the Christmas tree and along to all of your family celebrations to make sure that no one is forgotten!

The Decor section is the smallest section in this binder and that is probably for the best. We currently only have two Christmas tubs which is largely thanks to the limited space that we had from living in Boston. Now that we have more space to store items like Christmas decorations, I'm sure that number will multiply! Our two tubs are already bursting at the seams. I use the same weathertight containers to store everything. This includes camping gear, adventure gear, things from high school, ski gear, linens, wedding stuff, seasonal clothes... you name it! However, if you're staring at 6 Christmas tubs amongst a sea of other tubs, how are you able to differentiate as to what is where? I print off this inventory sheet, fill in the number of the box, where it is stored and the contents that it consists of. I then photocopy this exact sheet, cut the squares out and then stick them into a label pocket. (For the purpose of this post, I filled out all six boxes to demonstrate how this system works)

If I can't find the box that I am looking for, all I have to do is refer to the binder for it's location and contents. If I'm looking for something in particular (ornaments?) all I have to do is look over this page and see what box they are stored in.

The first page in the recipes section is the dinner menu! We use this to draft our Christmas feast and to ensure we aren't forgetting anything. I'll write the item that is being prepared as well as the ingredients that are needed. I can then take then this entire page to the grocery store with me and check all of the ingredients off the list to ensure I have everything.

Our kitchen turns into a small bakery throughout the month of December. We love to try new recipes and bring them to work functions or holiday parties. We will go through and jot down when there is a holiday party, what we plan on brining as well as the ingredients that are needed. In addition to preparing plates for holiday parties and events, we also like to put together little boxes filled with a variety of treats for our associates at work so those cookies are included on the list as well.

I don't know what the universal size of a recipe card is so I decided to draw up some of my own where I can jot down the ingredients and directions. I keep a couple of these blank cards in the binder so that I can easily cut them out and fill them in with the next best recipe.

I have several of these half page protectors that I use to store recipes. The recipes section is in the very back because of the size of the sheet protectors. I like to keep all of our Christmas recipes in one location which is why I opted to use those. I cut a piece of kraft paper to go in the back of every sleeve so that it is easy to look at and through. Each protector has a flap which prevents the contents from falling out. Whether I'm using a recipe card, a cut out from a magazine or a print out from Pinterest, they're all separated and easy to find. I don't have many recipes that aren't baked goods so I opted not to label the dividers. They are, for the most part, all desserts so all I have to do is flip though quickly until I find the one I'm looking for.

That is the end of my holiday binder tour. Everything is packed in and won't fall out, nothing in this binder is going anywhere! This binder does not get packed away with all of the other holiday decorations. It lives on the shelf with all of my other binders so that I can easily reach for it throughout the year!

Happy Holidays!!

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