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DIY Holiday Planner

DIY Holiday Planner main article image
Posted on November 28, 2021 by Fernanda Rafagnin

Hello everyone! Today we will talk about getting organized on this deliciously chaotic time of the year.

It’s a time of getting together with family, exchanging gifts, and when you are the host, it’s especially easy to feel overwhelmed. There are so many things to do! Gifts to buy, to wrap, cards to send (and us crafters sure love to make them by hand), not to mention the meals. I come from an Italian family, so the dinner table is our favorite place to gather. There is a lot of planning to do, and getting organized is a must if you want to do everything on time without getting stressed.

Today we will make a project that has helped me get everything done. I love planners and writing everything out (and checking boxes) helps me so much when it comes to organizing my time. And as a bonus, we will make a Christmas Countdown board that can be useful in even more ways!

red notebook with christmas decorations

If you already own a planner, you can use these ideas as inserts. I will make them as a separate piece, like a bullet journal. It’s a style that will be great to adjust to exactly what you need. Crafting is exercising our creativity, right? Why not have fun while getting organized?

Of course, if you are familiar with software like InDesign, Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Inkscape, those are great to make planners as well. Even if all you know is Word, it’s still possible to make your planner to print if you don’t want to do it by hand. Use what you feel the most comfortable with, as this will take a bit of time, so we don’t want to waste any.

And if you don’t have too much time to DIY your planner, there are tons of printables available. Find one that fits your needs and they will be very helpful, although not as customizable as the one we will make ourselves.

Supply List

– Sketchbook, notebook, or printing paper

– Colored pens and markers

– Ruler

– Pencil and eraser (for sketching)

– Decorating material, such as stickers, washi tapes, scrapbook paper pieces, and strips

Where to start?

After you chose your base (notebook, sketchbook, paper that you will bind later) and decorate the cover, you will need to decide what exactly you will be planning for. In my case, the four big items are decorations, cards, gifts, and Christmas dinner. From there, we will figure out the sub-items and extras (like movies and other activities).

If you aren’t going to host dinner, this can be skipped, and you can customize the planner exactly to what you need. This is the biggest advantage of DIYing, you make it exactly as you need it to be.

I chose a small notebook that was really cheap, and I also used stickers. Lots of stickers on the cover. Inside, the stickers were mixed with pieces of scrapbook paper. Use whatever you have, be creative!

three pages of the Christmas planner about decorations

So I’ll start my planner with decorations. I left a page for ideas and separated it into three parts which are the outside area, the inside of the house, and the tree. I separated the three sections with the pattern strips. If you’re making rectangles by hand, it’s a good idea to sketch with a pencil first, to make sure everything fits on your page.

The second page is for writing all the things I have that I plan to use for decorating and also what I need to buy. It’s better to write everything down before going to the store, or we might forget something (or buy repeats that will sit in a box with no use). Next, a checklist for all the steps I have to take for decorating. Checklists keep me grounded. I also added a bunch of stickers to make the page more colorful. I hope this inspires me to check things off my list quicker.

three pages of the Christmas planner about cards and gifts

Next up, we’ll talk about cards. The first page I made was very simple, with names and addresses. I’m keeping my list very small, but you can use as many pages as you want if you like to send cards to lots of people. Here would also be the place to add specific things to remember about each person or family.

On the second card page, I again divided the page in three with the strips. First, I wrote ideas I had and even sketched something. I tend to forget things, so having somewhere to write down ideas is a must. And again, as I did with decorations, I used the two other spaces to write down what materials I already have and what I need to buy.

As you can see on the right side of the image above, I also made a page for gifts. There are actually more pages, but since they are all pretty much the same, I just took a picture of one of them. This is the page I had the most fun making.

Each of the gift pages holds two names. I used the stickers first and then drew the rectangles around them. Each rectangle contains a list of ideas and maybe places where the gifts can be found. At the bottom, squares to check when the gift is bought, if it arrived (when bought online) and if it’s wrapped. Just make sure your family doesn’t find your planner! That might ruin the surprise.

three pages of the Christmas planner about dinner

Now to the dinner part. This one was so simple. I had one page to write down the name of all the guests, and the second one to write who is bringing what, so we don’t have repeat dishes or something missing, and so I can see what I will need to make myself, which brings us to the third page, which is the grocery list. Easiest pages for sure.

three pages of the Christmas planner about activities and a checlkist

For the last pages, I chose some extras. The first one is a list of Christmas movies to watch (out of the new ones) and a list of movies that we have seen but like to rewatch in December.

The second-to-last page is for fun activities that we will do as a family prior to the Holidays, and on the day of. I’m still figuring it out. We don’t have that many traditions, but I’m looking to create some.

The very last page is an overall checklist because I live for those. It gives me peace knowing everything is done. This list will have everything I need to do until Christmas. Having it on the last page makes the list easier for me to find.

christmas countdown with an elf frame

As a bonus project, I made a Christmas Countdown, which can also be used as a board to write urgent tasks or to leave notes to your family. As a countdown, it can be really useful when figuring out the time you have left for tasks.

I could easily buy a small dry-erase board and just customize its frame, sure, and it’s a great idea too, but the board I’m making is a bit different.

Supply List

– A4 white frame with glass

Christmas Buffalo Plaid SVG Bundle.

– Cutting machine

– Red and green cardstock

– Double-sided tape

– Printer paper (for the inside)

– Printer

The frame I got is A4 size, but it can be larger if you want. Smaller sizes won’t be really fitting since we need space to write. It’s important that the frame has glass in front of it, because that’s where we will write with our markers.

For the frame, I chose a file on the bundle. I chose the elf design and resized the hat close to 10 cm (4 inches) wide to be on the top. I also resized the shoes to 5 cm (2 inches) wide and put them on the bottom corners. Then I cut some red cardstock into squares and glued them to the sides. All the pieces were glued with double-sided tape. Very simple to do. Do you like the results?

As for the inside of the frame, I made it using CorelDraw, but it can be done by hand as well. I just found the reindeer (from the same bundle) extremely cute and had to do this. I made a square where we will write (and erase) the days leading to Christmas.

The fonts used were “Welcome Christmas” and “Yellow Fresh”.

If you leave a white background on the frame (or some light Christmas pattern) your frame will be an easy dry-erase board to write a grocery list, reminders of errands to run and so on.

And the best part: after Christmas has gone by, you can use your frame to display a picture of your family during the Holidays!

I hope this helps you get organized while also getting creative! See you next time!

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