The holidays always come fast and with that, usually comes stress! In this video, I show you how to stay organized during the holiday season with my essential holiday binder and checklist that tracks and manages all of your card and gift-giving lists!
Download My Holiday Checklist Template Here: http://www.alejandra.tv/alejandras-holiday-organizer-download/
Hi, everyone. It’s Alejandra from Home Organizing. And I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. A lot of people have been asking me questions on how to stay organized during the holiday season. And so, I figured I would just do a video and show you guys a system that I use during the month of December to stay organized and stay on top of things. And let me show you or let me give you a sneak peek of what the system looks like.
It’s a binder. It’s a one and a half inch binder and it has everything I need to make sure that I send out cards on time, make sure I buy all my gifts on time, make sure I mail them on time, make sure I send out my thank you cards. It’s basically everything I need for like gift-giving to friends and family.
So before I get started and show you the system and what it looks like and how to get the same look inside of your house, I just want to say that this video is part of a YouTube playlist that myself and five other YouTube partners have put together to bring you holiday tips this holiday season. So at the end of this video, I’m going to post links to their channel. You can subscribe to their channel and watch their tips.
So let me grab the camera and show you guys exactly what my system looks like. OK. So this is the outside of my holiday binder. I’m going to show you inside in just a second. But basically, it’s a one and a half inch binder from Staples. It’s the Staples brand binders, the Better Binder. I always talk about these binders in my videos. They are my favorite. I love how they come in like 15 different colors and I love how they have a little window on the side so you can write a label and I wrote this in red because it’s Christmas and the binder is green because again, it’s Christmas. And then I just put a scrapbook paper in the very front of the binder to make it even more Christmassy.
All right. So let me show you inside. OK. So the first document inside of my holiday binder is my holiday checklist. Now, this is the most important document inside of the binder because it’s going to tell you everybody that you need to send a card gift and stocking stuffer to. So basically what I did was I created this checklist from Excel and then I just printed it and put it inside this binder. And I listed all of my family and friends in the first column right here.
And because this is going to be on video on YouTube, I created fake family members and friends because I just felt uncomfortable putting the real names down. So these were all fake friends here. But once I created the list of friends that I’m going to send thanks to then I created a card column which is the second column here and I made little checkboxes so I can just check off the box once I send or once I write out the person’s holiday card.
OK. So what I did here was I kind of grouped people in groups of five and I put a red box around them because I’m only going to want to write five holiday cards per day. If I write like ten holiday cards per day, my handwriting starts to get sloppy and then I don’t really want to send out a sloppy holiday card. So I figured if I just do five a day for 8 or 9 days, then at the end of 8 or 9 days, I have sent out 45 really neat and organized holiday cards. So yeah, so you can just see the dates right here. This is starting on December 1st. I sent out five cards. December 2nd, another five cards and so forth every single day.
And then something else I did was most of my family and friends celebrate Christmas with the exception of some of my friends celebrate Hanukkah. So what I did here was I put a little Star of David symbol by my friends that celebrate Hanukkah so when I’m writing all the holiday cards, I know to send them a Hanukkah card and not a Christmas card.
And then the next column here is the gift column. So I went through my list of family and friends and I said, “Who am I going to send a card to and give a gift to? Or who am I going to send a card to and not give a gift to?” So the people that are going to receive a gift, they have a white checkbox here so I can just check off whenever I buy them a gift. And then the people that I’m just going to send a card to and not a gift to, I shaded their box in black before I printed it so I know that I don’t need to buy them a gift.
And then the same thing with the stocking column here, anybody that I’m going to get a stocking stuffer for, I left the box white so I can just check off when I get their stocking stuffer. And then anybody who’s not going to get a stocking stuffer has a black box here.
And then the next column here is the deadline for the gift. So when do I need to buy and send their gift by? So, not everybody that I’m giving a gift to I’m going to see in person. Like for example, like Debbie and Anthony Eveman. OK. That sounds so silly because that’s not a real person but like for example, I need to send their gift by December 20th because I’m mailing their gift and I want it to get there on Christmas or before Christmas. So that’s why they have December 20th.
But for example, December 10th here, like I’m going to see Danny Philips and Carol Philips which I’m not really going to see but I’m going to see my pretend friends on December 10th so I need to get their gift before then. And then everybody with the December 23rd deadline, I’m going to see either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
And then the next column here is the gift ideas column. So I pretty much knew what I was going to buy everybody when I printed out this checklist so I just typed out what I’m going to get them before printing it. But if you don’t know what you’re going to get them then you could just leave this empty and then you can just fill it in as you come up with the ideas. If that’s the case, you probably want to create like a bigger cell or more room to write because this is not a lot of room to write if you’re just going to handwrite it.
OK. So that’s gift ideas. And then the last column here is the thank you card. So after Christmas, you want to send thank you cards to everybody who got you a gift or gave you something nice or whatever. So of course, I don’t know who is going to give me a gift yet so everybody has a checkbox column and after Christmas I’ll just go through. And I’ll just write a checkmark if they gave me a gift and I sent them a thank you card.
So again, I just created this checklist in Excel. I feel like this is a life-saver. This is going to keep me organized throughout the month of December because I’m going to know exactly who I’ve sent cards to, who I’ve sent gifts to, and who I haven’t.
And one more thing that I kind of thought of that is not included here is to create a budget column like maybe the last column here so you can kind of budget. Put like a limit to how much you spend for each person’s gift. So if it’s like $25 or if it’s $50, you can just include that in the last column here.
OK. So that is my holiday checklist. Oh, and just one more thing here. At the bottom of the checklist, you can see that I’m going to send out all of my cards on December 9th or I’m scheduled to finish writing all my holiday cards on December 9th. And once I finished writing them then I can just stick them all in the mail together and I’ll just go through and I’ll double check that everybody has a card waiting for them and then I’ll stick it in the mail.
So that’s my holiday checklist. If you guys want to use the same checklist, I will put a link at the bottom of this video where you can download this for free on my website and you can just change out the names and change out all the information and make it yours so you can stay organized this holiday season.
OK. So now that I’ve done my holiday checklist, I’m going to show you what else is in this binder. So the first section here is my sticker section which is kind of like stickers and stamps. It has all of the stamps in the first section. These are just 4 x 6 photo pages that I got from Office Depot and I just put all my stamps in here and I have Hanukkah stamps and I have Christmas stamps. They’re all Forever Stamps so I can use them next year when I’m writing more holiday cards because this is more stamps than I actually need.
Then the next section here is all of my stickers to close the envelopes. And I use – I put them in sheet protectors just like this. These are the sheet protectors that have a little flap at the very top so when you turn the page, nothing is going to fall out. OK. So yes, these are stickers that you use to close envelopes to keep these nice and protected in the sheet protectors so nothing gets wrinkled.
And then the next set of stickers, these are tags for holiday gifts. These are in another sheet protector.
Then the next section is all of my holiday paper. So this is holiday paper for writing like a Christmas letter or a recipe if you go to a cookie exchange. I feel like I always use this paper for some kind of holiday note or something. So I thought it would be convenient to keep it inside this binder. So I have two kinds here. There’s this kind, “Wishing you a year’s joy this holiday season.” And then there is, “Celebrate the season.”
In the next section here, I have all of my address labels. So the very first set of address labels is my return address label that I will put on all my holiday cards. And I like to type them up instead of handwrite them because it’s just like extra effort handwriting when you’re handwriting all your return address labels and all your address labels. So if you type them, you could just reuse them year after year. So yeah, so that’s just a way to save time and be more efficient.
And then in this section here is where I’m going to print out all of my addresses for all my friends and family. I don’t want to include these addresses here because obviously, I’m not going to create fake addresses and print them because I felt like that was a waste of paper. But yeah, I’m going to write my friends and family address labels here.
And then the next section has all of my tags. I felt like I wasn’t sure if I was going to include this in this binder. Like these were all these gift tags right here. But I felt like this is the perfect way to keep them from getting damaged and keep them organized. So I just put them inside of these baseball card sleeves and then I just stuck them in the binder. These are really cute. I got them from Target this year. I just thought they are really cute.
And then the next section here, I have a gusseted binder pocket that I showed you guys in my warranty and manual binder. I got this from Staples. It’s a binder pocket that goes inside of a binder that has a nice Velcro clasp. And I use this to store all my holiday receipts. So every time I buy somebody a gift, I’m going to put their receipt in here and at the top of the receipt, I’m going to put their name so I know who the gift went to.
So I’m going to use this for budgeting purposes like if I’m going to add up all my gift receipts at the end of the holiday seasons to know how much I spent or how much I’ve spent so far to know if I’m on budget. Yeah, I’ll save the receipts or if somebody needs the original receipt for a return or an exchange. If a gift receipt is not available then it’s good to always have the original receipt.
And then I’ll go ahead and I’ll get rid of these receipts in January or after the holiday season if I no longer need them. If it’s something that I might need or the person might need then I’ll keep it maybe for another week or two and then I’ll just get rid of it. But yeah, it’s a good place to keep all your holiday receipts.
And then the last section of the binder is where I have all of my holiday cards. I use another gusseted binder pocket from Staples to keep all my holiday cards nice, neat, organize and not bent or damaged. And then whenever I’m writing my holiday cards, I’ll take them out and then just start writing them and then put them back in.
And something else that I meant to put in here that I haven’t yet are my thank you cards. And I actually have not bought my thank you holiday cards yet. But when I get them, I’m going to put them inside of this binder.
OK. So one more thing that I want to show you guys in the binder is the dividers that I used. So I kind of had to search for certain kind of dividers because as you can see here, most dividers are not going to go past these sheet protectors that you get from office supplies stores because they’re extra wide. So I found dividers that had little tabs at the very top of the divider so I was able to just get these and put them at the top instead of at the side because if I put them at the side, you can see right here that you won’t be able to see them because the sheet protectors are in the way. So yeah, so they go at the very top. These are from Staples. They are Staples brand and I forget how much they were but you can get them on Staples.com.
And then I decided to use a red font on a white label because it matched the green binder for Christmas and I just thought it was nice and appropriate.
OK. So that’s the system that I use for the month of December to stay organized leading up to the holidays. I hope these tips were helpful if you decide to set up a binder inside of your house for December. It’s super easy to set up. It’s just a matter of gathering the supplies, putting it together in one binder, making your checklist, deciding who you’re going to send cards to, deciding who you’re going to give gifts to, and just tracking your progress as you go along so you know what you’ve accomplished and what you still have left to do in order to get everything done in time for the holidays.
So again, I hope these tips were helpful and I hope you have a great holiday season. And I will see you soon. Bye!