Christmas planning goes in my Project section of my planner, since it is an active category this time of year. After Christmas, I'll file the pages with December's weekly spreads and use them to create a new project next year.
The Christmas project contains the following pages:
*Christmas Shopping List
*Bought - a simple running list of each person and gift as I buy it
*From Others - a list of what the kids are expecting from other people so that I don't buy the same things
*Ideas - for my kids, my husband, and other people (as three separate pages)
TIP: I keep my own list on Amazon. That way, my husband can just click and order!
I don't keep a decorations list because all decorations are in the same boxes.
NORTH POLE PRO TIP: Keep Elf on the Shelf with the Santa wrapping paper hidden separate from the decorations. And use only paper with a picture of Santa on it for Santa paper, and all other paper for Christmas wrapping in general.
I keep Elf on the Shelf ideas on Pinterest.
A note on your planner every November, reminding you where you hid the Elf, is quite useful. Guess what Giftie forgot to write in her planner? Awkward! Let the great Elf quest begin!
I also just write parties on the calendar so I don't forget about them and actual tasks on my weekly pages so that I can do them along with everything else.
Of course, all those things can go on your project pages, if you would like, but for me, they work much better within my normal system. My project pages are for the thinking and deciding part of planning and the logging of what is accomplished (like writing down which gifts have been purchased). If I need more Christmas wrapping paper, putting it on my regular shopping list assures that I will buy it. If I have a Christmas festival on Saturday, writing it on my monthly calendar makes sure that I don't double book Saturday. Putting any of this stuff on my project pages might mean it does not get accomplished.
But within the Christmas project, the Christmas Shopping List is the real key to making sure that I keep track of Christmas gifts. I used to write a scribbly list, full of notes about what I might get and what I did get and whether it was wrapped or delivered. It got messy and complicated.
I still note all those things, now, but most of it goes elsewhere within the Christmas project. My Christmas Shopping List is quite simple.
On the left column, the day of December when the gift must be given or delivered by is listed. I include December birthdays, parties which require a gift before Christmas, gifts exchanged on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day gifts. I simply write the digit that corresponds to the date, so December 24 is translated as 24.
The next column includes the recipients' names and a note if I am putting in with someone else to buy something.
Next are the bought and wrapped columns. They get a dot if the gift is partially purchased and a check once it is purchased. As I give away each gift, I will highlight the entry.
Keeping the list simple and using other pages for notes and reference means that I don't accidentally forget someone or buy two gifts for one person.
NORTH POLE PRO TIP: Make an unyielding rule that, even if you don't have time to record WHAT you bought at the store, you always check off that you bought something. Otherwise, chaos.
NORTH POLE BONUS TIP: On December 23, each child gets an ornament reminiscent of this year, wrapped under the tree. It lets the kids unwrap a gift early, and when they move out of the house, they can bring them with them to decorate their first tree. On December 24, they unwrap Christmas jammies to wear on Christmas Eve night, so their pictures are adorable in the morning.