Workin’ It Wednesdays:

It’s Workin’ It Wednesday!

The second Wednesday of every month, Erika and I host a link up where we talk about how we’re “workin’ it” in certain areas of our life (and then ask you to share your advice/tips/tricks on the subject too).

So far this year, we’ve discussed these topics:

January: Keeping our New Year’s Goals
February: Keeping our marriages strong
March: Balancing work and home life 
April: Spring cleaning
May: Planning/prepping for your summer vacation
July: What you do on your weekends
August: Back to School Traditions & such
September: Transitioning Summer to Fall Clothes
October: Making your home cozy

and today…

PLANNING FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

Yeah baby…they’re happening!

This made me laugh out loud!

Okay…I’m going to level with you.  I plan for the holidays like it’s my job.  You want to know what we’re doing at 12:35 PM on December 21?  Chances are, I already have something scheduled for that minute.  I plan like there’s no tomorrow.  I plan and I plan and I plan some more…and honestly, it can be my biggest downfall.

It’s a horrible quality in me and a beautiful one at the same time.

It’s beautiful because so far, I’ve:

  1. Already bought my kids’ Christmas pajamas.
  2. I’ve already scheduled our visit with Santa.
  3. I’ve already stocked up on lights for our tree (in case some went out last year).
  4. I’ve already sent off for our Christmas cards to be made.
  5. I already have my wrapping paper and wrapping supplies

But it’s horrible because I can be ZERO fun sometimes.

There.  I said it.

I’m not that friend you call when you want to go grab a quick cup of coffee at the last minute.  I’m not the one to spontaneously do anything.  Period.  I can be such a buzzkill.  (Insert that emoji of the monkey covering his eyes HERE.)

That being said, today’s topic is planning for the holidays, so we’re going to play to my “over planning” today, and I’ll share some of my favorite tips 🙂 .

1: Start making your lists.

Friends, I’m the type of person who makes lists for her lists.  It’s a compulsive habit that I just can’t shake.  Here are some lists I have going on right now (all inside my Erin Condren Life Planner)…

Here are my current working lists:

  1. Supplies I need to buy for the house (both interior and exterior) for the holidays.
  2. Christmas gift ideas for my kids.
  3. Christmas gift ideas for everyone else in my family.
  4. I have a list for each party I’m hosting this holiday season.  On each list, I have down the people whom I’ve invited, the menu, the party favors, what I need to buy, etc.
  5. Andrew and I wrote down a list of everything we want to do this holiday season (and then I’ll cross them off as we do them).
  6. A list of miscellaneous gifts I need to buy (teachers, therapists, etc).
  7. I have a list of things I need to purge/clean/sort before we have overnight company this season.
  8. I have a big old random list of things to remember to do (like buy tights for the girls’ recital in December)

So, as cliche as it sounds, my number one tip for planning for the holidays is to make a good list.  Or two.  Or eight.  This keeps me so organized!!

2: Do a good job after the holidays making notes.

Every year when we take down our Fall and then our Christmas decorations, I make a list in my phone of things I need to buy/fix/repair the following year.  By the end of Christmas, some of the lights in the garland won’t be working, I’ll need more extension cords, etc., so I’ll make notes of that to help me the following year.  This way, I can get those items before we start pulling out all of the decorations and we’re good to go.  I also take pics of everything so that I can either remember to do it that way again the following year, or if I don’t like something, I’ll take a pic so that I can remember not to do it like that again.

A few weeks ago, I told you that I had started using the Evernote app on my phone, and I love it because you can insert pics with your notes, so that will make this year’s post-holiday organizing so much easier!

3: I schedule in down time.

Is that an oxymoron?

My parents were sure that I would marry some boy who would chill me out a bit…but no.  I married a boy even more organized, particular and scheduled than me.

My mom often chuckles and says that she never thought I’d be in a marriage where I look like the “relaxed” person.  Ha!  We’re like the energizer bunnies over here.  That being said, Andrew and I are BIG on family time and down time.  We get that we like to go 90 mph, but we also understand that it’s the small moments that make the best memories, so we’re really particular about our time, and we make sure there is plenty of chill time at home by the fire, watching movies, drinking hot chocolate and just relaxing.  BUT we have found that it’s best scheduled in or else we don’t do it enough.  We really commit to have a lot of time at home during the holidays where it’s just the six of us.

4: We live off of traditions.

My dad is BIG on traditions.  Our family is rich in them, and they’re always the memories I recall the most often.  I think prioritizing our favorite traditions helps us not feel like we’re missing out on things/forgetting things/etc.  We love adding new things in, but we always plan out our favorite annual traditions first and foremost.  Like…

…framily night with the Slaughters.  Erika and I scheduled that in like September, so that it wasn’t missed this Christmas 😉 .

5: Shop smart.

I try to have all of my Christmas shopping done by December 1.  All of it.  I want it done, I want it wrapped and I want it under the tree.  I almost exclusively shop online for my gifts.  As much as I love strolling through stores, I have to budget my time, and online shopping just simplifies EVERYTHING for me.  I make a list (haha!) and then as I shop, I write down the item and price next to the person’s name, so that I keep track of everything.  Then when it arrives, if I’m not ready to wrap, I hide it somewhere in my house (if it’s for one of my kids) and write that down too (because I’ve been known to forget my hiding spots).  Now, some of you techy people probably use fancy spreadsheets for this stuff, but I enjoy markers too much, so I just write it all down in my colorful handwriting and call it a day.  Online shopping has SAVED me from hours of crowded malls/stores during the holiday season.

6: Have gifts on hand.

I have a little gift stash at my house for those last minute gifts.  I usually keep a couple of bottles of wine, some candles, a pretty notebook, some yummy smelling lotion and such in there for last minute gifts.  I’ve even been known to keep fuzzy socks and a scarf in there.  I also keep pretty Christmas sacks, ribbon and tissue paper with that stuff, so that I can easily wrap me a gift if I need one.

7: Remember the reason for the season.

The MOST important thing I plan during the holiday season is how to make sure my kids know THE REAL REASON we celebrate Christmas.  Andrew and I love to do a devotional at dinner this time of year.  This year, we’re going to do this one

…it’s an advent, so we can do it every night in December.  How precious is that?!  Along with devotionals at dinner, we are constantly reminding the kiddos why we celebrate, we always serve in some capacity with the kids, we take them to the local food pantry, we donate toys, we assemble shoe boxes, etc.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “fluff” of Christmas and lose sight of the real reason we celebrate, so we really make a conscientious effort to do that as a family.

Okay, what are you doing to plan for the holidays???  Please share your tips, tricks and wisdom with me today!!!

Next month on Workin’ It…KEEPING YOUR SANITY DURING THE HOLIDAYS.  Yes!  We all need this, right?

If you blogged today, link up below!

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108 Comments

  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog November 8, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I love the Christmas season! That said, my holidays are a bit of a mess. I definitely need to take up your tip on just… planning more. It’d make the season that much better. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Reply Amy at Suburban Soiree November 8, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Oh, I love a good list too. I also make “end of season” notes to myself. I have a fall binder and s Christmas binder… how nerdy is that?! 🙂

    http://www.suburbansoiree.com

  • Reply Sarah November 8, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Your holidays sound so fun!! I love that you schedule in down time; that’s perfect!! We have a few traditions but they are really simple – hot cocoa while watching a movie, driving around looking at Christmas lights, baking yummy treats, and having a few parties in the neighborhood. We don’t live by family, so it’s definitely a little more low key over here than when we lived by everyone.
    Hope you have a great day today!! 🙂
    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Reply Bethany November 8, 2017 at 5:08 am

    I am a huge planner or I thought I was till I read this post! 😉 This is our first Christmas together as a family, so I am so excited to start all of the fun traditions!

  • Reply Laura November 8, 2017 at 5:09 am

    This year I’m cooking my first turkey… any tips on that would be greatly appreciated!!! 😬 My two tips I would add to this list: I work at a food pantry/backpack program/hunger relief nonprofit for children. We are always SO happy to give kids a tour and talk to kids when parents like you bring them in and explain to them what hunger is all about and how they can help! My other tip is that I always have a running list of what I’m waiting for from Amazon/online shopping so I make sure all my packages arrive 🙂

    • Reply Lindsey November 8, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Fry it! You won’t go back to roasting…ever again.

    • Reply Amy Azza November 8, 2017 at 8:09 am

      OMG Laura that is a great tip on a running list of what you are waiting for from Amazon/online shopping- I need to do that!

    • Reply Valerie November 8, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Use a cooking bag–your turkey will cook faster and is golden brown and delicious every single time! It makes it so easy!

    • Reply Sara Wolf November 9, 2017 at 1:27 am

      That is SUCH a good idea! Sadly, the police in my neighborhood just posted a video to FB of a man stealing several amazon boxes off a porch nearby. It’s a good idea to know what’s coming & keep an eye out on delivery days.

  • Reply Beth November 8, 2017 at 5:17 am

    I love List people! 💛
    I have lists on my phone and on Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Do you use Google Docs or Spreadsheets much? I would say Google Docs sounds similar to Evernote, but I’ve never used Evernote.
    I make lists all year long so that I can be ready to go come the holiday season!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 5:29 am

      I am seriously not techy enough. Hahahaha!

      • Reply Victoria November 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

        I love google docs. So easy to use and you can share word or excel type docs with other people Useful for packing lists, budgets or meal planner as you can both input. For shopping lists and household tasks we use Wunderlist.

  • Reply Eileen November 8, 2017 at 5:20 am

    YES! I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. I do every single one of those things. Making that list as you’re packing away last year’s stuff is sooooo helpful. I’m glad I’m not the only person who likes it all done before Dec. 1 so I can enjoy the fun of the holidays!

  • Reply Lauren Morris November 8, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Yes, lists for the win! I have been planning for the holidays for a couple of months now. I keep a google sheet with who I need to buy for and then when I make a purchase I list the item and price. I also keep a list of things we want to do and traditions. This year I’m adding what may become a new tradition. My kindergarten daughter asked to have a sleep over with friends so we compromised on a pancakes and pajamas party. I’m excited and I think the kids will love it!

  • Reply Sara November 8, 2017 at 5:30 am

    As I’m reading your blog post today, I can’t help but think that sounds so much like me! I’ve already bought my kids’ Christmas pajamas, ordered our Christmas cards, have my wrapping paper, and purchased my kids’ Christmas gifts. I shop for Christmas gifts year round because we buy for every person in my family, factor in step parents/siblings, husband’s family, gifts for friends and miscellaneous exchanges, and that’s a lot of gifts! I keep a spread sheet where I write name, the item and the price so that I can make sure we stay on budget, and I like to have it all done by black Friday! The 23rd through Christmas Day are super busy because we try to make time for all of the grand parents (three sets of them), and we host my mom’s side of the family for Christmas dinner! By hosting, it allows my two small kids to have more of a relaxed day at home without running around and they can play with their toys.

    5.I already have my wrapping paper and wrapping supplies

  • Reply Elspeth Mizner November 8, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Wow! Lots of great tips!! Something that i do to help stay organized is talk to everyone in my family and write what they all wnat to do for Christmas fun to make sure we get all the activities in! I’ll be using some of your tips this holiday season!

  • Reply Stacy November 8, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I need some of your organization in my life!!! I will say this year I have been on top of getting holiday PJ in plenty of time my Christmas PJ for my kiddo are bought washed and ready for wear–😉😊

  • Reply Erika Slaughter November 8, 2017 at 5:40 am

    I thought I was a good list person but I only have two lists. I’m pretty sure that makes me a “beginner”. Hahahaha!! And I’m so glad we’re friends because of all your lists you’re not forgetting a thing. But something could easily be left off my two!

  • Reply Sarah Shaneyfelt November 8, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I’m like you when it comes to buying gifts for everyone. On my list, I write down a budget for everyone and then when I buy it, I write down what I got them next to their name. Then I either mark out the amount if I spent that entire amount or cross it out and write down how much more I have left to spend on that person.
    MeetTheShaneyfelts

  • Reply Lesley McFarland November 8, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Oh my goodness….I️ just got allll the holiday feels!!! I️ just love the holidays. It’s insanely busy but I️ love it all…Jesus, shopping, giving, the food, the people, the traveling….EVERYTHING!! I️ wish we could do all again in May.

  • Reply Jen November 8, 2017 at 5:51 am

    This was so fun to read! I’m glad I’m not alone in my excessive planning and lists. Haha! Great tips

  • Reply Natalie November 8, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I love lists!! You mentioned above that you make a list of party favors for all your parties. Can you share that list? We need some fresh ideas this year.

  • Reply Narci November 8, 2017 at 5:55 am

    I just love this link up every month!! You really are the best planner and these are some awesome tips!! 😍

  • Reply Megan November 8, 2017 at 6:06 am

    List people are my people! I aim to have my shopping done in November as well and I just picked up our holiday jammies this week.

    Lettinginthelightblog.com

  • Reply JJ Mercer November 8, 2017 at 6:18 am

    We LOVE the Ann Voscsmp Christmas devotional. We bought the additional corresponding Christmas ornaments and have a tree dedicated to them. The boys take turns putting them on as we read it each day. ❤️

  • Reply Cassi curry November 8, 2017 at 6:19 am

    I may already have my tree up, and some presents wrapped under the tree 🙈 I Love a good list!

  • Reply Brooke Richardson November 8, 2017 at 6:36 am

    My problem is staying prioritized! I’m good with the lists and crossing things off but then it’s like, Squirrel and then all of a sudden I’m doing something else. (Sigh) I need to stay more focused and finish one thing at a time. The good news is, I have lots of room to improve on this! Hahaha! Great Post!

  • Reply Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams November 8, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I think it’s awesome how organized you are! I have started using lists in my phone and it’s help me stay on top of even minuscule things. I loved the little tidbit about your parents thinking your husband would mellow you out and Andrew is the opposite!
    xo
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Reply Lisa D November 8, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Lists are key to good organization! Now that my three kids are grown and out of the house, I think back to those hectic holiday times with a huge smile. I always write down what we give and how much we spend, even now that my lists are ‘short and sweet’. I’ve kept my lists….. I could tell you what I bought my daughter for her birthday 15 years ago! But it’s so easy to get all caught up in the activities of the holiday time and miss Jesus so my tip is just to slow down and be intentional about the memories you make with family and friends. Another tip is that not everyone needs to be gifted! The fun of exchanging gifts can be in coming up with creative ideas that cost zero in dollars but are priceless in thoughtfulness — gifts of the heart. One more tip — be thankful year ’round. 💜

  • Reply Christy Latimore November 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Ah! I can’t wait to read all of the comments on this post and feel better that I am not the only “crazy planner” in the world. And I’ve never found a term for my boring, stick to the plan personality, but you might have hit it spot on with buzzkill! #typeAforlife 😁

  • Reply Staci November 8, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Shay, you’re my favorite! Just curious, when do you start decorating for Christmas? I’m itching to start!!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 7:00 am

      TOMORROW!!!!!

  • Reply Lizzie @ This Happy Life November 8, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I love your honesty Shay! We also schedule down time because I can’t do something every day of every weekend for 2 months straight!

  • Reply Amanda November 8, 2017 at 6:46 am

    I’m all about lists but my husband is the complete opposite and flies by the seat of his pants. Drives me mad!

  • Reply kristen November 8, 2017 at 6:49 am

    i am a total list maker! i have my kids’ christmas jammie’s purchased too and i am about halfway done with my shopping. a few little things and stocking stuffers then i am done. i like to be done by dec 1st and just enjoy the season. i was giggling at your comment about randomly going to lunch or coffee. that is so me! i am all about a plan and i am not great about adjusting to be spontaneous.

  • Reply Connie November 8, 2017 at 6:50 am

    I love how organized you are! I make lists too. But not as well as you. I need to get better at writing in my planner more though. Sometimes I’m not ready for Christmas and it makes me crazy! I always say I’m going to be ready for Christmas this year and then nope! haha! I love everything about Christmas! It’s nice to just be ready and enjoy it all with my family without feeling rushed and doing things last minute. Thank you for sharing! I just love your blog! 🙂

  • Reply Tara G. November 8, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Your #3 is not weird but healthy & ought to be a normal in every person’s life. {Ever read Margin?} I shop all year round & if I’m organized enough, I can drop wrapped gifts off in person when we travel – I left stuff at my patents’ house this summer. I do not like store shopping in December – strolling through without the pressure of getting something is fine but I’d rather be done shopping early.

  • Reply Kelly November 8, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Shay I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again… I LOVE how organized you are! I wish I had a smidgen of your organizational skills! Thank you soooo much for this post. It was such a great reminder for me to schedule in a local Christmas concert that I very often have missed cause I wait too long and forget about it til it’s too late. I just scheduled it!! Yay! Thank you!!! 😍

  • Reply Gina Ireton November 8, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Making lists is my jam too, I t’s something I’m very good at and take pride in it. I’m known to do my lists in excel and highlight, if I’m using paper and and a pen I’ll use highlighters, I love things that stick out.

    My sister-in-law started having Christmas wrapping parties, all girls of course, yummy munchies, warm beverages and Christmas music. She provides all the wrapping paper and such, I bring all my gifts and leave with them wrapped. The great thing about it, is I’m all done with shopping and wrapping early. Plus, us girls have the best time, when some girls are done first we start helping each other. 😉

  • Reply Stef November 8, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Great post! I love lists! I recommend the Santas bag app. All the gifts I’ve purchased in one location.

  • Reply Claire November 8, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I feel like you were describing me to a T when I read the beginning! Lists are my jam and I can totally relate on the “schedule time to relax” because otherwise I’d never do it! I also prefer to have all my gifts bought and wrapped under the tree by December too 😂 Love reading how you do things for the holidays!

  • Reply Jenn November 8, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Hi Shay! Where in your planner do you keep your lists? I find myself carrying around an EC notebook for all my running lists and research.

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 8:31 am

      In the back on the blank pages and in the margins during the week.

  • Reply Alexis deZayas November 8, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Loved reading this! We have a gift closet and wrapping station that we use for storing gifts and wrapping 🙂 We always shop early too so we’re not running around at the last minute looking for gifts! Love the idea of making post holiday lists 🙂

  • Reply Belinda Horton November 8, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Shay, this post had me laughing out loud. It could totally have been written about me. I don’t care how far technology advances, I will never give up my hand written lists!

  • Reply Erin Port November 8, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Great list and it’s always a balance for me to be fun and organized :). But I hate to be frazzled so organized it is! xoxo ERIN

  • Reply Erin November 8, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Shay- this post is literally me to a T! I love to go go go, but then I LOVE to sit and do absolutely nothing and I always “plan” for my downtime. I will even joke with friends when we go on trips that I have “planned” to be go with the flow for the weekend haha. Planning is half the fun for me, but I do sometimes feel like I can be no fun when I cant spontaneously go do something!

  • Reply Vali Burkenstock November 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Can you share christmas pj’s you’ve found? Specifically you’re little boy…I’m struggling with mine. And when do you plan to post gift ideas?

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 8:31 am

      From Gymboree!!

  • Reply Whitney Pegram November 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I LOVE this!!

  • Reply Laci November 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Wonderful tips and ideas to stay stress-free over the holidays!

  • Reply Kaci November 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Oh, Shay, I’m glad I’m not the only one. I have an entire binder devoted to Christmas lists (insert eye covering monkey emoji here). EVERYONE makes fun of me, but you know what, I am not frazzled or half as stressed as everyone. I can tell you what and when a gift was ordered, when it was delivered, original price, sale price, etc. Nothing’s better than a good list.

  • Reply MelanieL November 8, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I just love this! It’s fascinating to see how others plan and do for the holidays. We go to Christmas at the Zoo (Indianapolis) the first Sunday in December every year to see the lights and animals and take our picture with Santa. It is one of our favorite traditions!

  • Reply Tricia November 8, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Oh man, I LOVEEEEEE planning and lists too! I mean, love them. I’m pretty sure I’m a buzzkill at times too, haha–at least to my non-planner husband! 😉 Thank you for these ideas. I’m implementing some. I use the Notes app in my phone (that the iPhone comes with) for Christmas lists, to-do lists, weekly menus, etc. What would be the benefit to switching to Evernote? Also, have you ever considered hosting a podcast? You would be so good at it! 🙂

  • Reply Erinn November 8, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Who do you use for your Christmas cards? I am looking to try something different this year!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Andrea at Slightly Askew Designs!

  • Reply Heidi November 8, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I can be spontaneous but im a planner too. Christmas pjs are bought and wrapped. One thing that saved me sanity was wrapping as I go. If I buy a gift I wrap it right away, that way I wrap it nicely and it’s not stressful. I used to do it all together and I would stress out . Also when it comes to stocking stuffers I grab a garbage bag or tote and have one for each kid so I know what’s it there are what I need to buy. I also lock my gifts in luggage so no snoppers get in there.
    I’ve already bought a few of our fav treats from Costco and I’ll bake too. I really loved that devotional book , another book I highly recommend is , A Christ centered Christmas, by Emily belle freeman. I love this season but I also need to be prepared !

  • Reply Kathleen Tibbetts November 8, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Hi Shay! What’s your go-to teacher’s gift? Hoping for some inspiration!

    • Reply Jennifer November 8, 2017 at 9:16 am

      I’m a teacher — we never say out loud but we LOVE a good gift card, even for $5. Teachers are always spending their own money on their classrooms/students, and raises are few and far between. A nice gift card for $5 for coffee or $10 for a quick lunch at a local restaurant are always so appreciated – and simple for parents. Honestly, having taught for 20 years, it’s my favorite thing to get. 🙂

      • Reply mary November 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        Thank you for the advice! First year with a kid in school. That makes it easy for us!

  • Reply Jennifer November 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I loved this post so much! I’d also love to know your go to holiday foods, specifically at home with your immediate family. We’ve tried meals that have just become too much work (fondue anyone?) I don’t want to spend the day prepping and cleaning up (like every other day of the year!) but I DO want to create some fun, memorable traditions with our kids. Any ideas?

  • Reply Brandy November 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Here’s something funny for you…we had to schedule our Santa pics in February!!! The photographer we used last year became so popular for his Santa photos, that he sent out his schedule in February for this year and was sold out in 2 days!!! And he has hundreds of appointments! It felt so weird already checking off a Christmas item when we had just gotten done celebrating!

  • Reply Casey Holter November 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Oh my this post made me so happy! I ran to the store and bought a cute Christmas notebook to start my lists in!🙈 I love lists!!!
    Do you have a list you would share of all the fun things and traditions you do for some ideas!?

  • Reply Jen Huegel November 8, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I take pictures of the decorations like you do, but then I have bins for each room and everything for the room goes in that bin and I put my picture on the front of the bins so I know what room to take the bin to! I do this for fall stuff too!

  • Reply Susan November 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

    How many parties are you hosting this year? Would love a post on those!

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Right now, three :).

  • Reply Kacy November 8, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I now have that Ann Voskamp Advent book in my cart! I’m so excited!

  • Reply Amanda @ That Inspired Chick November 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Ok, I am officially feeling stressed out now!! I have one very small list in my phone of potential gift ideas. And that’s it. And remember yesterday when I said I’m hoping to get to decorate this weekend? I have no idea if that will actually get done. I need some lessons, friend. If you are Type A, then I am somewhere around Type J. hahaha. And unfortunately, Craig is like, Type R. 😉 How we ever get anything accomplished is beyond me! That Inspired Chick

  • Reply Angelique Dale November 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

    There are so many of my #momgoals in this post. I’m a huge Evernote fan but mostly just because it helps me keep my thoughts in one place (and they aren’t that organized there). This weekend I strive to get my life in order and this post will be my textbook. Thanks for the inspiration!

    http://www.FOURPOINTSMOM.com

  • Reply Kayla B November 8, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Love all the lists! I’m a list maker and planner as well. I understand that that can get in the way of some spontaneity, but I also think that it does help me to relax because I know the stuff that needs to get done has or will get done… because it’s planned ;). I use Google Docs/ Sheets like my life depends on it. Every penny I spend goes in there, lists for every person, etc. I love it cause I have easy access to it on both my phone and computer. I’m also decorating for Christmas tomorrow!! Can’t wait to see your photos.

  • Reply Kelly November 8, 2017 at 9:29 am

    A girl after my own heart! If I don’t make lists and better yet, use them! I will surely forget something and it also helps to keep my mind from running when I should be sleeping!:) You always have the best ideas, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Taylor O. November 8, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Gahh I love lists and love that you love lists! Thanks for the great tips!

  • Reply kellie carrara November 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Oh girl, I, too am a list maker…and live by my lists, come the holidays!
    And I come from an extremely type A list-maker mama, too — she already has a couple trees up, with a couple more to go.
    I have a GIFT LIST/MENU LIST/ENTERTAINMENT LIST… with everything that I need to get and do, then change its color once it’s done.
    I theme each year — not ALL the decorations come out (there’s no room and it would look like every Christmas store threw up!) When my daughter was small — everything was baby pink and white, then it evolved to primary colors, then bright neons (yes, NEON PINK! yikes…God Bless my husband), then sparkle, the red and gold, last year was red and burlap and plaid, this year we’re sticking with red/white and galvanized metal. Tree goes up this weekend.
    I have my wrapping station set up in the basement, and a big ole tote where the presents go…for stocking stuff I have everyone’s name on a bag and fill as I go (dogs included! cause Santa would never forget a hound!)
    Our tradition is one night of cocoa and Christmas lights and one big event like a concert or a play…
    One weekend is dedicated to baking.
    I work full time and commute near Boston, so I don’t have a lot of time at night and NO time in the morning, so I try to take a couple days off in December just to get my house in order and wrap. I MUST have a clean house and laundry done so I can relax on Christmas Day and the week after.
    Since our family is spread out (in laws in VT; parents and siblings in TN) we always end up at an “orphan Christmas party” on Christmas night with folks in the same situation. I always bring little gifts for the kids, then the adults snack and have cocktails. It’s really a fun time.
    I love all your tips… oh and we read Christmas stories every night. One that’s one of my favorites from childhood is called Petunia’s Christmas. Check it out!
    https://www.amazon.com/PETUNIAS-CHRISTMAS-1st-roger-duvoisin/dp/B00220RAVS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510156248&sr=8-2&keywords=Petunia%27s+Christmas

  • Reply TAMRA November 8, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I love the Advent calendar/ devotional. I am much like you, Christmas is organized and carried out with precision. My house is decked, gifts are purchased early, the calendar is full. Until this year! Two of our sons are getting married during the holiday season. One is in MI over Thanksgiving weekend and one is in WA on Dec. 16. I can’t even keep up with all of the prep, showers, rehearsal dinners, dresses and travel! I have written on December 21… Make Christmas Happen! It is a lot of celebrating and fun but I may have fallen over by Christmas this year. No organization or planning prepares for this!

  • Reply Patty November 8, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Wait…making lists isn’t something everyone does? I LIVE by my lists! And I also try to do as much as I can before December so we can focus on the Reason for the season. I’m also really, really good at saying “no” to as many social things as I can without offending anyone. By the time CHRISTmas arrives we’re relaxed and ready to celebrate without much stress. One thing I learned to do with 3 daughters is to either color code each person’s gifts with wrapping paper choices or mark them with a tiny X,Y, Z or some such thing so they didn’t know who each package was for until I told them on the 25th. And as our girls were growing up we always focused on serving others, not just in December, but all year long. Now that they’re adults, they’re so good at continuing to do so.

  • Reply Tina November 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I love lists AND list people!😉 I make lists of lists, too. I’m going to check out the Evernote app today! Right now I am hooked on my “Errands” app. It allows me to make those lists of lists, place them in different folders (I have a folder with a list of gift ideas for each family member and add to it all year.), set reminders for days, weeks or years on out, check things off (because that’s the list maker’s favorite part, right?☺️). It can also be backed up to iCloud. I’m not techy at all! So, you might want to check into it. But who knows…I may like Evernote even better.🙂 I still write down lists, but love having the app to keep it all together. As for being a planner to a fault, it used to drive me crazy that my best friend was such a planner. Now that I have more than one kid, I’m becoming more like her everyday!☺️

  • Reply Tina November 8, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Btw…the errands app is “Errands To-Do-List”. I just went to the App Store to make sure I had the name right and it has over 3,000 reviews and 5 stars.😳 Guess I’m not the only one who loves it!☺️

  • Reply Michelle O November 8, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I’m a pen and paper list kind of girl also!! I have one Christmas notebook that I use every year with my list of goodies I want to make, grocery lists, dinner menus, etc. Then I have lists for gifts, decorating and my daily “things to do” in December. I just LOVE September thru December!!!

  • Reply Sheaffer Sims November 8, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I sure am feeling festive and in the Christmas spirit after this post!!!!

  • Reply cassie {hi sugarplum} November 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

    I love this post, and all your great tips!! I’m the same about being a buzzkill…need to be better about that!! Let’s schedule a pie date this season! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Katie Stuen November 8, 2017 at 10:44 am

    And I thought I was the only person left that loved using fun markers with fun colors. Yay! My friends always make fun of me when I pull out my Erin Condren life planner! But I love it and keeps me more organized than my phone ever did.

  • Reply Carole November 8, 2017 at 10:46 am

    You have mentioned in past posts that your strong faith comes from your father. Was Andrew strong in faith before meeting you or did that develop over time?

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

      He was! Andrew has incredible parents who brought him up to know the Lord.

  • Reply Anna S November 8, 2017 at 10:54 am

    My favorite holiday tradition is on Christmas Eve we have a party with our family friends, go to church, eat dinner, and have a cake with candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It always makes me so happy. Our family has grown so much that we now exchange names: we each give a gift and receive a gift. It’s made everything much more simple. We also started the Christmas PJs tradition which I love!

  • Reply Lisa Klein November 8, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Oh dear, I am SO far behind!! Do you think my kindergarten class would notice if I sat in the corner making lists while they work today?!?

  • Reply Lauren M November 8, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Hi!
    I love this post! I am definitely getting in the Christmas spirit as well
    I was wondering where you get the Christmas pajamas from? We are having our first annual pancakes and pajamas party this year and I’m looking for cute matching Christmas pajamas for my husband and i!

  • Reply Wendy O. November 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Oh, Sweet Shay, thank you for sharing this. List Makers unite!! Since I am almost old enough to be your mom, please let me remind you when you told us about the Zoo Monday with your kids and how much you didn’t really want to do it and it turned out to be the best day? Remember when a girlfriend says “drop everything and let’s get coffee” this could be one of the best girlfriend moments. I am trying better to do this myself. When I am looking at my to-do list I am living in the future and not enjoying the present. You just never know what a blessing it can be for you and her:):) Not trying to be bossy but I totally get it with a family your size you definitely have to stick to a schedule! Love your Blog!!!

  • Reply Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World November 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    OMG, you just described me to a T. I have been the list making queen since I was tiny. I currently have about 20 different lists going right now and I LOVE IT. It makes me feel like I have my ‘ish together even when I don’t! Haha.

  • Reply Brittany November 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I love this post and I love making lists!
    Where do you get all your energy? Do you drink
    Lots of coffee or a certain vitamin that helps? You’re such an inspiration! 💖

  • Reply Christina November 8, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I love this post and all of your suggestions! My husband and I hosted a Haunted Housewarming/Halloween Party this year and he took pictures of our decorations so we would remember for next year. As I type this I’m downloading the Evernot app so we can store the pictures he took there. 🙂

    Where do you keep all of the gifts you have on hand along with the wrapping supplies to go with those gifts?

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      In a piece of cabinetry in my family room!

  • Reply Heather November 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I bet you’re like me though. Too busy and scheduled to be spontaneous but I’ll drop everything for a friend in an emergency.

  • Reply Katie November 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Love this post, as crazy as it can be this is truly the best time of the year!! Curious, are you planning on sharing gift guides this year…specifically for kids? Things on your kids wish lists or things they have and love?

    • Reply Mix and Match Mama November 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Yes!! I sure am!!

  • Reply Leeann T November 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Sigh. I love reading your blog and in doing that I get to dream a little. One day the holidays will be fun and not so stressful. For me as a single parent with five kids…not so fun and I’m probably a bigger buzzkill than you. Ha.

  • Reply brandy November 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I love that you have a list of lists! LOL!! I am also a list-person and fully relate. And now I feel compelled to write a list of the things which I do not have lists for…it’s a sickness! Haha. 🙂

  • Reply Michelle November 8, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    OMG you are like my twin! I have my wrapping stuff bought, kids Christmas PJ’s ordered, cards are done, stuffed, stamped and ready to be mailed, I have my lists made and our Christmas lights outside are already up (but I live in Iowa and it gets really cold so we put them up early and leave them off) and love to have all my gifts bought by the 1st so I can relax and enjoy December…you know bake and watch cheesy Hallmark movies. I save a lot of my vacation time so I can take off 2 weeks to enjoy the season. Counting down to the 15th when I start my time off!!!!

    Seriously I have to save your post to show others that I am not the only crazy person:) Happy Holidays to you and your family!!!!

    • Reply mary November 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Love that you save your vacation time for two full weeks! That’s awesome.

  • Reply Maryellen Azarian November 8, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I am a planner also. Love lists – love to plan and love to cross off things accomplished. I think of it as a gift. My family teases me about it but look who they call for dates and phone numbers and addresses and “oh no I forgot that” issues hah

  • Reply Laura Fredlund November 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Such a fun post! Thank you for the tips!

  • Reply Kathy November 8, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    When our children were younger we had an advent wreath with a candle to light every week leading up to Christmas. Every night we had a family devotional time by the fire, and the lit tree. After the devotional time the kids would enjoy a chocolate from their advent calendar, and choose a Christmas book to share from the Christmas book basket. It was always a nice way to slow down and spend time as a family celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Love Ann Voskamp’s books! Love all of your ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply mary November 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      This is perfect. I love this idea! The books, the wreath and devotional! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Angela Ellingson November 8, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Love this so much! You always inspire me.

  • Reply Jay November 8, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    This is so fun to read! You and I are polar opposites. I have no idea what we’re doing for Thanksgiving much less Christmas except that we’ve decided we aren’t traveling for Thanksgiving. But when will the college kid be home and for how long? Can we take a pic at Thanksgiving for the Christmas card since that might be one of the few moments of the year that all of us will be in the same zip code? When will the high school kid be finished with finals before Christmas? What are our siblings’ plans (we live in 4 different states)? I’m not a planner by nature which I think at this stage of life is a good thing since so many factors are out of my control. I’m very happy to just roll with it and see how it shakes out. 🙂

  • Reply Sara Wolf November 9, 2017 at 1:46 am

    As a mom of four, Christmas has sometimes been a very stressful time for me. I feel like it’s up to me to make sure my family has “the perfect Christmas” but that pressure takes away from the spirit & reason for the season. Last year, I set a goal to be done with shopping by Dec. 1. Then i made more of an effort to spend time with my family in Dec & make memories . It wasn’t perfect by any means but planning ahead & pacing myself made a huge difference. And my lists kept me from over-doing and over-spending. I just ordered our Christmas pjs and holiday cards are next on my list. Oh, and i also ordered an Elf on the Shelf kit that has pre-made activities for our elf for ALL of December! I’m so excited to have that all taken care of too. Moving that elf around every night stresses me out! Anyway, it’s so helpful to hear so many tips and ideas on making the holidays less stressful and more fun. Thanks!

  • Reply Deanna Zehr November 9, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Nothing beats a Christmas list written in green and red felt tipped pens! Happy decorating tomorrow…mine are going up on Sunday!
    http://www.fromheretozehr.blogspot.com

  • Reply Elizabeth November 9, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Speaking of sharing gift guides… are you planning to share one for teachers/therapists? My son has his regular teacher, a speech teacher, an OT teacher, several therapists, after school care teachers, and the list goes on! Any help on gift ideas would be much appreciated 🙂

  • Reply Samantha November 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Love your blog Shay, look forward to reading it every morning!!! I’m in the same boat, total list person. I make one for everything! Will you be doing a post on Christmas presents for kiddos? We have our sweet little three year old boy and I always wonder how people decide how many gifts they purchase for their children.

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