Welcome to the holiday season! I get so giddy with excitement this time of year thinking about all the fun and excitement that lies ahead. I’m excited to share some ideas with you today about how you can use free online tech tools like Pinterest and my free Holiday Planner Trello Board to help you get ready for the upcoming season.
Holidays are wonderful and magical. But here’s the bottom line: as women, we have way too much to do during the months to come.
Who is it that does the baking, wrapping, list making, decorating, meal planning in your house?
Mmm hmm. You. You have a lot on your plate.
In addition to the mile long holiday planning to do list, there’s another sneaky soul sucker that seems to rear its ugly head this time of year: guilt.
If you’re anything like me, the hardest part of it all is the expectations you set for yourself for things to be perfect for your family.
“No pressure or anything, my inner voice says, “but you’re responsible for crafting your children’s happy childhood holiday memories.”
Sheesh. That’s feels heavy!
At the heart of it, though, this is the most precious time of the year. There are so many opportunities to connect, make memories, and enjoy spending time with the people we love. When we strip back all the trimmings and trappings, that is the core of the season. I, for one, am hell bent on finding ways to stay focused on those goals this year instead of letting the nuts and bolts drag me down.
As we start the slow march toward the end of the year, it can be daunting to face that mile long to-do list. I know , because mine’s just as long as yours.
Luckily, I’ve got a few holiday planning tricks up my sleeve. And I’m here to share them with you.
Oh, and if you’re not a techie…
I’ve created short tutorial videos for you on how to use this tech for holiday planning. Watch these short videos about Trello and Pinterest if you’re not familiar with how they work (or want a refresher).
If this is totally foreign to you and you feel a little overwhelmed, pick one (I think Trello will give you the biggest bang for your buck) and go from there.
My top 3 holiday planner tech tools
1. | iPhone Tools
Why I love this: Your Phone is with you everywhere you go!
You’re already pretty familiar with your iPhone, but here are a few ideas for using its built in features to make your life easier when you’re holiday planning.
- Notes: You can use this feature to create all the lists you need to make for the season right on your phone. You can even have Siri add things to your notes via voice command without a single tap. Ask her to add things to your gift list, items to your shopping lists, etc.
- Alexa App: If you’re an Alexa user, make sure you have the app downloaded. I ask Alexa to add things to my lists (grocery, gift) when I’m in the kitchen and something crosses my mind. You can also ask Alexa to set reminders for you, schedule things on your calendar, etc. Then, when you’re at the store, open your app and access your list!
- Calendar App: Essential for holiday scheduling. You know how it’s always a last minute scramble to invite people to the holiday office party or your kids’ Christmas program? It doesn’t have to be. Enter those dates now, and invite people to the calendar event. It will show up on their calendars for them to add easily, give them an option to RSVP yes or no, and you don’t have to think about it again.
- Reminders: What is your toughest time of day (bedtime, carpool, first thing in the AM)? When do you need an extra reminder to be intentional and look for the positive? Set a reminder daily for that time with a meaningful phrase to keep your mindset positive. Some ideas might be: “look for joy”, “enjoy them while they’re little”, “this moment is a gift”, or “I am calm and in control”. This daily reminder can serve as a tool to reset your outlook if things are getting crazy.
- Wallet: Did you know that in addition to your credit card info, you can use this to store coupons, event and airline tickets, gift cards, and store rewards program information (goodbye, keyring tags!). This is a feature I haven’t fully taken advantage of, but it is a great way to keep track of all those holiday coupons for Jo-Ann that you’ve been stuffing in the bottom of your purse.
2.| Pinterest Boards
Why I love this: Pinterest eliminates the need for loose papers and cutouts.
My Top Tips for Using Pinterest boards for Holiday Planning:
- Secret Boards (unlimited): Use these to create gift lists. You can also share these with specific individuals to collaborate.
- Board Ideas: Recipes, Gift Ideas, Outfits, Traditions, Books to Read, Decorating, Hacks, Inspiration
- Keep a list of your favorite recipes to use year after year… if they’re in a cookbook, google the recipe (most can be found online somewhere) and then pin it to a “Favorite Holiday Recipes” Board. This makes it easy to quickly share with people who rave about your egg sausage. casserole because you don’t have to search.
- If you see an email from a store with something you want to buy, copy the link and then go into your Pinterest board and pin it to your gift giving board.
- See a display of decor you like while out and about? You can take a photo with your phone and upload it directly to your decor board through the app. You can create your own pins (they don’t have to be from another source on the web).
- Follow stores you like on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration
(You can do something similar using the “Collections” feature on IG if that’s where you spend most of your digital time; make collections for various categories and save Instagram posts you like to the respective collection).
3.| Try a Holiday Trello Board
Why I love this: It’s easy to create an all in one, master document with everything you need for holiday planning.
Imagine not searching for that recipe (you’ve got the link right here!).
Imagine knowing exactly where to check which gifts you’ve purchased.
Imagine having all of your events + obligations listed in one place (that you can access anywhere) so you don’t have to store all that information in your brain!
If that sounds amazing… you want Trello.
This is the tool I’m going to be leaning on the most heavily as my holiday planner this season. In fact, I’ve already created my master Holiday Planner Trello Board, and guess what? I’m sharing it with you for free!
You can use it as a template for your own list. Delete what you don’t need, add what you do. It’s easy so easy to change things and make it your own.
Some things you can do with Trello:
- Create a category list for each area that requires your holiday planning. You can also make separate boards if having it all on one screen feels overwhelming.
- Under each list, you can create cards for tasks that you need to accomplish and ideas you want to execute. These can be dragged, changed and deleted easily.
- The biggest benefit of this system is the ability to attach things to cards (links, photos, notes, due dates).
- Each card can be color coded using labels. You can customize your labels to suit your needs. Label gifts by price range, label to-dos by priority, or label events by family member. Up to you!
- Delete things as you complete them, and watch your list get shorter and shorter. So satisfying!
These ideas may seem intimidating (I know, it’s taken me awhile to get the hang of them too). But since I’ve already done the creation for you, I think you’ll get the hang of things pretty quickly! Just in case though. I’ve created a mini-course of tutorials to get you up and running using the holiday planner Trello board. It’s a 5 video series that shows you exactly how I use the board as my digital holiday planner.
So, those are my top 3 tools for using tech to help you nail your holiday planning this year. I’m soooo excited to share with you, and I truly hope that you are able to choose one of these tools to help you make the upcoming season your best yet.
I don’t want you to arrive at year end feeling frazzled, stressed out, and wondering where the magic was. I want more for you… and I know that a little planning goes a long way toward finding time to stop and smell the pine trees.
Stay tuned over the next few months… I have more holiday time savers heading your way.
The best holiday season you’ve ever had… starts now.