Monday, November 12, 2018

Managing Holidays: Action Plans

Hey everyone.  I missed "seeing" you last Monday.  My whole blogging schedule has been pretty off since November swung into motion.  Life sort of hi-jacked my time to write.  Holiday season is in swing now and I suppose there are bound to be more impromptu time swallowings!

This month I thought I would swap out my usual "Keepers at Home" heading for a cozy evening snap-shot of my holiday mantel all lit up.  You might have noticed it in the back ground of many of my pictures this past month.  I'm slowly adding turkeys to the autumn decor as a nod to Thanksgiving in a TWO short weeks.

Managing holidays is an exuberant affair for me.  For as long as I can remember I have always loved to transition seasons and wrap myself up with gusto in each celebration as it came.  I'm certain it was my  mother's influence!  She made every season sparkle.  I feel like I honor her memory as decor dons every nook and cranny of my home and holiday place settings to accompany meals are plotted and planned from as early as I am able to start putting pen to paper!

It was in this process recently that I decided to work up some new printables based on my handwritten versions I have developed over the years.  Something I could share with all of you. One already appeared in my monthly newsletter, which, by the way, if you sign up for NOW, I will send you a link to November's issue with not just a dinner organizational print-out but also a Thanksgiving Bible study!  (Details are at the bottom of this article.)

I tend to cook and prepare all month long in order to make the day-of a little less chaotic.  However, I don't just barrel into my need-tos.  Nope, I make a list and get an action plan in motion. 
I keep a binder for the autumn season in order to track all of fall's festivities.  In my November section I tab off different segments for Dinner Plans, Recipes, Arts and Crafts, General To-Dos and so on.  Can you believe I have been tracking for over 18 years?!?!  I know I can't.  I kind of wish I had thought to track back when I first became a housewife over 26 years ago, I can only imagine what the even younger me would have recorded!!

(We disguise turkeys every year as a quirky craft/decoration.  Above is my template I duplicated back when my oldest was in elementary school.  With almost everyone adult age now, they STILL love the annual turkey disguise!)

 As I prep to make my dinner menu and monthly need-tos, I skim notes-to-self from previous years which I leave to myself throughout the month and as a wrap up after the Big Day.  This past week, as I began this annual process, I was inspired to make my next set of printables when realizing how I have a pattern of drawing out my menu and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  It is a simple method, really, and I thought it would be fun to replicate in a PDF so you could use it if you are needing the assistance in organizing your Thanksgiving plans!

click on image for FREE download
I use the large boxes on the lower half to plan dish prep steps, remind myself to iron linens and even to recall my need to sort out place settings and serving dishes during the more critical days leading up to Thanksgiving and then an hour-by-hour draft to field a basic overview of what needs to be happening and when (like, 9am "Turkey In") on the actual day.

The top half with the partial November calendar is used to pencil in general ideas of what pre-prep items can be done those weeks and any major events which I don't want to forget to accommodate as I am working and planning.

I also have a menu line-up and grocery planning list I lead-out with so I know what I am cooking and prepping for all month!!  A PDF of which is available in this month's November newsletter along with printable recipe cards which I will email to all new sign-ups until Thanksgiving Eve!

I believe a good plan in hand helps to save a lot of potential holiday chaos.  Delegating and doing various tasks ahead of time can also help defray the frazzles!

The other pages in my binder were done by hand with colored pens and thanksgiving stickers.  Once I achieved the design I liked I photo-copied with a color printer, keeping the original tucked at the back of it's corresponding section in my binder should I need additional sets down the road.  If you are interested in making your own, here is what you would need:
  • 1" 3-ring binder
  • Tabbed dividers
  • 3-hole punch
  • Fall or Thanksgiving themed scrapbook paper to insert in binder cover
  • Colored pens/markers of choice
  • Fall or Thanksgiving stickers (scrapbook isle at craft store or card isle in other stores)

You may need scissors and/or a paper cutter if you need to cut your scrapbook paper down to fit the cover.

I label my tabs:
Calendar/To-do lists

I use the "Memories" tab to record everyone's favorites from the year: old traditions, new traditions, craft/decorations, food, and favorite book (we had a TON of children's Thanksgiving picture books when my kids were growing up). 

Under the Menus/Recipes tab I will keep the Menu Worksheet (FREE printable in my newsletter). At the end of the season I tuck each completed one along with any notes on recipes and magazine or internet recipes (printed off) we tried and/or might like to do again. 

I keep all my old to-do lists under the Calendar/To-do list tab.  It may seem irrelevant when the holiday is over, however, they help me remember what worked and what didn't.  I also keep the printable in this article in this section.

My "notes to self" I actually store at the very front of all of this.  Seeing them when I first open my binder for the year helps me recall to sit and read.  (I can be seriously that forgetful!)

If you want to do a section for each month between September and November, the process is the same.  I use sheet protectors with relevant scrapbook paper inserted at the beginning of each monthly section so the divides are clear.  You could just make this for Thanksgiving though, which is what I have considered down-sizing my binder to since my kids are almost all grown and September/October hold much less planning need as a result.

I pray, however you choose to organize and celebrate Thanksgiving, that it is a blessed one and, regardless of your season of life, this season produces a multitude of gratitudes, even if only in the small things!


*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me. 

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