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I'm Allison and I love planning for Christmas. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the holidays, never having enough time to enjoy the season, consider a new approach.

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What's a Christmas Journal Anyway?

The holidays are complicated. Shifting plans, too many plans, too many of our own plans and not enough down time. That's enough to make anyone have negative feelings toward the most wonderful time of the year.

But, it doesn't have to be that bad! It will take some work from you on the front end, but I promise, you too can be excited about and enjoy the holidays again.

Around 2000, I began hosting a New Year brunch for close friends. They would start at 10 a.m. and run until 10 p.m., sometimes later, always ending with pizza, a movie or a bar outing to see a band. It was so much fun, but so exhausting. The amount of planning that went into the day was incredibly intensive. I would start cleaning two weeks before, plan the menu, make sure everything matched, cook and by the time the day rolled around, I was so tired it was hard to keep my eyes open. I had to quit.

I learned something though. Planning and scheduling was the only way to keep this monster on track. I began a holiday journal around that time. I kept timing details in it from the year before as well as information on themes, ideas for menus and of course, the guest list.

Fast forward to the days of my newly-blended family, and keeping all of this information (and more) in one place became necessary again. The book I now call "The Christmas Journal" was born.

Working in design, we're always thinking several months ahead of schedule, even sometimes a year out. We need our holiday cards to top the year prior, so it's important to gather ideas while they're hot. I'm scoffed at when I mention in August, "What are we doing for Christmas this year?", but I'm actually serious!

I've found being planful and taking care of the grunt work with a goal of BY THANKSGIVING has served me so well that I can enjoy the holidays again, rather than shopping and running errands.

This requires a shift in thought though. And you man not like this. You have to shift your thinking to NOVEMBER 1 being the first day of Christmas. I know, I know. But what about Thanksgiving?! News flash, it will still happen. And you will like it even more! Think of Thanksgiving as the day your freedom begins instead of the day you enter Christmas jail.

Now, Black Friday morning, you wake up, and you are free to spend your days "Christmasing." What does that even mean anymore?!

Stick with me and you'll find out.

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