A Holiday Planner Project + a gift for you!


This is going to be the year that I (Katie) finally take the holiday season by the reins nice and early! After working on the travel journal project a few months ago, I knew I wanted to use a similar idea to help prepare me and my family for a happy holiday season. I’m so excited to share some templates and “ingredients” with our readers! Just click on the image above or this link for your free download. 🙂



I learned a great lesson when I put together a travel journal BEFORE our Alaskan cruise – a little preparation goes a long way! Our travel binder became a map and guide to our vacation, and it reminded me to collect memorabilia and information throughout our journey. A standard size 3 ring binder was the perfect choice for this project because it is portable, yet fits nicely on a shelf when not in use. It also holds standard size papers which is nice for collecting menus, newsletters, flyers, etc. I also loaded mine with several extra page protectors for collecting smaller loose pieces like postcards. The same format should work nicely with a holiday planner so all the templates and paper in this download are sized at 8.5 x11 inches.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, I knew that this would be the perfect time to put together a planner. I’ve always wanted to do this and I’m really excited to use this as a tool for both planning and celebrating a festive season. For me and my family, it will be used for the Christmas season. For others it might be helpful for Hanukkah, or another important holiday. However you choose to use it, there are plenty of ways to customize and complete your own planner. The best way for me to explain how to do this is to show you how my own project turned out.


Included in the download are several pieces of wordart (made with the Fontologie Haphazard Font), a piece of digital Kraft paper, a dotted border, and four layered templates. I also used the Haphazard font to create additional titles, and chose SF Rachel (a free font from Sugar Frog Fonts) for the journaling font. I decided that I wanted to use felt pieces for my page accents so I chose the Merry and Bright collaborative kit by Kaye Winiecki and Kate Hadfield and a special delivery kit by Kaye.

merry and bright by Kate Hadfield & Kaye Winiecki special delivery


Then I went to my local office supply store and picked up a binder, some standard size page protectors, and some stick on index tabs to divide my planner into sections. I was hoping to find a cute patterned binder or maybe even a Kraft colored one, but no such luck. So I went with a basic view front binder in light blue.

2010 008


I put together a cover page to slip down in the viewing plastic on the front. I even used some adhesive to mount it on some larger cardstock. Does that count as a hybrid project? lol! 😀



My goal right now was to put together the structure of the planner so I can simply add things to it throughout the next several weeks and during the actual holiday season. I decided to make a page for each section and then insert blank page protectors behind each category.


I started off with our “Holiday Favorites” so that I could be sure to plan for the important things that help each person in our family feel like it’s a great holiday season.


I interviewed my kids and my husband at dinner the other night and asked them to each name 5 things that they love to do, eat, watch, or experience during the holidays. I had to do a lot of prodding to get the information out of my son and husband. My daughter could have listed 100 things. That’s one of the challenges I have when it comes to planning for the holidays. She wants to celebrate each and every day possible, where my son and husband don’t really like all the hustle and bustle. By considering each of their personalities and desires, I feel like I have a better idea of what to put on our calendar. That is why I started my planner with the favorites page.


Here’s my “title page” for the calendar section.

ornament2 copy

In my binder, I put a copy of our personal calendar for the month of December right after this title page. I printed out our own calendar from the scheduling program I use (Microsoft Outlook). I didn’t do a lot to decorate the calendar page because I want to be able to print out new copies if there are changes (and there will be) to our schedule. Even though I carry a smart phone where I can access my calendar at any time, I still want a hard copy in my planner so I can consider our schedule when making plans for meals, activities, and other festivities.


Next comes the wishlist section.

TDD_holiday_template_wishlist copy

I thought it would be fun for each of us to pick at least one thing we would like to put on our holiday list of wishes. I also included a small list of other ideas for each person. I always tell my kids that I like to have several suggestions from them so that they will be surprised at what we get for them. They do not expect everything on their list. I like having all the ideas right in my planner because then I can have that information for birthdays or if they want to later save up their own money for a purchase.


A big message I try to emphasize for the holidays is that giving is what it’s all about. Having a section about what gifts we want to give, and the cards we want to send is an important part of this planner.

tree copy


I also like to keep a log of “gifts received” because it helps me keep track of who I want to give gifts to, and it’s a great planning record for years to come.

presents copy


Food is one of my favorite things about the holidays (and any day for that matter!). I love to collect recipes to try out and of course there are the tried and true favorites that we must have each year.

TDD_holiday_template_recipe copy


One of the best practices we have in our family, is taking the time to review and reflect upon major events. Scrapbookers are very good at this! When we finish a big project, we like to make a list of what went “right” and what could “be improved”. I’m going to include a “DO and DON’T” page right in my planner to keep track of these tidbits of advice pertaining to the holiday season. I already have quite a few filled in from previous years.

basic copy



There are plenty of other pages you could include in your own planner. I like the idea of setting out a sheet of paper (decorated digi style of course!) for guests to sign when they come to visit. Then this could later be added to the planner. You could do the same with visits you make, just take your planner along with you and have your friends and family write small notes to you in it.

The planning binder is a great place to store memorabilia that you collect throughout the season. Programs from musical performances, recipes from magazines, party invitations, and even colored pictures from your kids can all be kept safe and wrinkle-free in your holiday planner.

Feel free to make this project work for you by customizing the templates, ideas, and ingredients to your own needs. I’d love to see what you do with your own planner so please share yours in our flickr group, or leave a comment (and link if possible) here on the blog. I will share mine again in a “Funtastic Friday” post in December so you can see how I’m using my own system. It would be fun to also include links to some planners made by our readers as well.

P.S. If you need some holiday ideas to get you in the festive mood, be sure to check out last Wednesday’s post on Christmas in October!