The latest instalment of our series on Christmas planning by Mimi is wonderful; it includes index cards, notebooks and list-making!

Christmas planning part 4 - - stationery by subscription

Hello my lovelies, thankfully not late or missing in action this month! There is something to be said for scheduling….

it’s been such a long winter. There was a slow start to spring and then the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorm. It feels something of a surprise to find myself in May, with five months of the year gone. There are only another seven to go until Christmas.

I find a curious thing happens the closer to December I get. With each turn of the calendar, time feels as if it either speeds up or else seems to just melt away. When invitations arrive for parties or dinners, and dates are scheduled for nativity plays and carol singing, although these things are lovely in themselves, the available time for planning and creating Christmas diminishes just when we need it most. And everything seems to take longer to do with queues at the shops and the post office.

Tasks for this month

If you have been reading along with my series so far, hopefully by now you have some money squirrelled away. You’ll also have an idea of the kind of Christmas that you want to create. You’ll also have some plans for a December to savour and enjoy which will nourish you and bring you peace.

This month, we have just two tasks. The first is hopefully easy – carry on the good work you have done so far. Keep saving as many pennies as are realistic for you, and keep making diary dates with yourself to devote to your Christmas planning.

The second task is something which is going to make most of your other tasks a whole lot easier; not just this year, but every year to come….

In previous years, I have thought of this task as ‘Preparing My Christmas Lists’. They might be on a spreadsheet which I favoured for a year or two, or in notebooks (which won my heart for longer). There are two lists which serve several purposes.

Start with a list

The first list is likely to be slightly longer and is your Christmas Card list. Depending on your own approach, you may send physical cards or ecards, or even no cards at all. If you do send cards in some form or another, you need a list of people to whom you would like to send to. It’s also helpful to have the corresponding details of where to send them.

For a couple of years, I used a spreadsheet for this, but I can’t access the spreadsheet from my phone, and my tablet needs updating. And to be honest, for me, it is hard to get excited about updating a spreadsheet. So for the next few years, I started a notebook each year which would include my Christmas Card list. I would work from the previous year’s notebook, updating to reflect those who I had sadly lost or lost touch with, and happily add new friends on to.

Enter the index card box!

This year I have decided to use an index card box instead. At the front goes a kind of index to the groups of people I send cards to. So examples for me are family, friends, book club, work, WI, and so on. Each group gets one card. I jot down the names of the people in that group and then count up the names and write the number on the card. That way I can see at a glance how many cards I need to make.  Plus when it comes to writing them, they arrange themselves automatically into the groups. For example, I can pick up all the cards to give out at my book club meeting or all the cards that I need to take to the post office.

The best thing with this approach is that it can be easily used year in and year out without too much tweaking needing to it. I have also added an index card for each person to whom I post a card, so I have their addresses easily accessible and in one place. Somehow my address book always seems to go wandering when I need it most….

Onto gifts

Next, I create my Christmas Gift List. This is also now done using my index card box. I do the same thing to start with as I do with my cards, with a card for each group of people. I then have a card for each person. On this individual card, I use one side to jot down things that might be helpful in choosing or making them the perfect gift. I glean information here and there. Favourite colour or writer. If they have an Amazon list. If there is something I have heard them mention that they would like, or a new hobby they have taken up. It can also be useful to make notes as to allergies and dietary requirements.

Remember to remember

For example, I would want to remember to knit a gift using acrylic yarn rather than wool for a vegan friend. Or seek out soy rather than a beeswax candle. The other side of the card is to jot down what I have given for birthday and Christmas gifts in previous years. That way I can make sure that I have not had the same idea for two years running. If I buy a gift mid-year and tuck it away for Christmas I note it down. It also reminds me so I don’t go and buy or make something extra by mistake. (Easily done when preparing for Christmas early and throughout the year!)

Again, the advantage of using the index card box is that you don’t have to re-do the list each year. It really is useful to have somewhere to jot down the ideas and thoughts. As each person has their own card, it is very easily edited by adding a new one. If you decide to stop exchanging gifts for whatever reason, you can just remove a card.

A handy reminder

Are you are making and buying gifts throughout the year? Then you might like to think about having a divider. Once you have sorted out a gift you move it behind the divider. Then you can easily see what you have done and what you have left to do. If you prefer the ‘do it all in one day’ approach, then you can take the cards out with you in your bag. This reminds you who has a passion for purple, and who can’t stand the scent of lavender!

There is something really lovely about planning gifts. Writing something down, makes me feel confident that it will get done and that I won’t forget. So this month, treat yourself to some lovely index cards (I prefer the plain unlined ones). Add in some new ink for your fountain pen. Then settle down for an hour or so of making your lists. I’ll see you next month when I’ll be helping you get a step closer to having the December of your dreams….

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash