Can you believe that we’re already in the twilight hours of 2022? I love this time of year. After the excitement of ‘spooky season’ and the pleasant chaos of Thanksgiving, my heart, mind, body, and soul are ready for the final boss: December.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through how I hit all the holiday highlights with the help of Evernote.
Makin’ a list and checkin’ it often
I’m a very visual person, and I love having the ability to see everything that’s going on, or needs to be done, in one place. Back in July when I started planning for the holidays (a joke!), the first thing I did was open up a note and break it up into sections for a bird’s eye view of my plans.
By pinning this note to my Home, I can be fully confident that no aspect of any holiday tradition will fall off of my radar. It’s also a convenient directory of all my links to recipes, notes, etc.
The gift of giving gifts
A big part of the reason this is the most wonderful time of year for me is the gift of giving presents to my family and friends. (I do actually start this process back in July.)
There are a couple of Evernote features that are absolutely integral to making sure I check everyone off of my list.
- The Gift Tracking Template: This is the ultimate collection of gift ideas I’ve been gathering throughout the year, thanks in part to the Digital Friend Profile, which helps me keep track of all the little details about my loved ones. When I’m ready to shop for presents, I mark all of the details here.
To make sure I order on time, I like to add a task below the table so that a reminder like “Last day to purchase Mo’s custom blanket” pops up in my Tasks view when the due date is approaching. This is great for next year when I find something cool for my Aunt Peg and wonder, “Wait, did I already get her this bread maker?” I can easily check the gift tracking from last year, see that I did, and buy her a monthly jam subscription instead. (Peg loves a homemade sandwich.)
2. Web Clipper: How many times have you seen something amazing out on the internet and thought, “I don’t know who needs this thing but someone does”? To make sure that incredible present-to-be doesn’t get lost in a sea of links, I’ll clip the web page to keep it handy.
Power tip: If the web page you’re looking at features a long list such as a gift guide, Web Clipper can screenshot just the item you’re interested in so you’ll remember what you were thinking when you saved it. Got a few friends in mind? Use the annotation tool to mark on the image which potential gift you’re thinking of giving to which friend.
Cookie swap ’til you drop
The star of any holiday season in my house is our annual cookie swap party. It’s an opportunity for my friends and I to be creative and get together to trade baked goods and recipes.
All of these details live in my Ultimate Holiday Plan note. At a glance, I can see who’s confirmed, what type of cookie they’re bringing, and any notes about them, such as arrival times or if anyone should omit an allergy item from their recipe.
Here I also store the cookie recipe I’m going to be baking for this year’s party—my Grandma Nell’s ginger cookies—plus any items I need to pick up from the grocery store before the event.
After the swap, I upload everyone’s cookie recipes to my Evernote in the form of digital recipe cards. I can tag each recipe with key ingredients and what year they were brought to the swap, which is super fun to look back on.
Power tip: Are you an aspirational party planner? Use our Party Planning Checklist template to keep track of all your celebratory to-dos.
Movies love company
Now that I have a smorgasbord of cookies to eat, I need something to watch! There are several holiday classics that my college friends and I enjoy together each and every Christmas, especially after we all moved to different parts of the world and started doing virtual watch parties instead.
To make sure I never have miss a second of a holiday classic, I’ve integrated my Google Calendar into my Home.
With my calendar at the top of my screen when I click into Evernote, I’m the first one online every time.
Not sure which movie to watch first? Here’s a curated list to get you started.
A tricky pickle tradition
My dad’s side of the family is German. For as long as I can remember when talking about the holidays, I’ve had this exchange:
Me: “We put a pickle on our tree.”
Other Person: “…a pickle?”
Me: “Yeah, whoever finds the pickle first in the morning gets an extra present.”
OP: “A real pickle?”
Me: “No, it’s an ornament.”
OP: “Okay, but why a pickle?”
And so it goes. There are many historical versions of ‘Why a pickle?’, but suffice it to say, it was a holiday favorite in our house growing up, and I’ve brought it to my own house as an adult— although my nieces and nephew are a lot better at finding it than my siblings and I were. Now that they’re a little older, I’ve started ramping up the challenge by hiding it around the living room where we put our tree. Each year means a new hiding place.
The first place they check is the other places I’ve hidden previously, so to help myself keep track of hiding places of old, I store a sketch of my living room in a note:
Every year I update the sketch with the new hiding spot to keep those pickle hunters on their toes.
Someday they’ll outsmart me, but 2022 is going to be a doozy! (Hint: It’s going on the ceiling fan.)
A time for reflection
Once all of the gifts have been unwrapped, the movies watched, the cookies devoured, and the pickle ornament found, I like to take some time to look back on my New Year’s resolutions from this time last year. Did I achieve all of my goals? What were my challenges?
Looking ahead, when I’m at the end of 2023, what do I hope to see?
This goal-setting template is a treasure for helping me gather my thoughts and map out the new year in manageable, monthly intentions. Then I break down each month as a separate Habit Tracker so I don’t feel overwhelmed by taking on too much at once. By pairing it with the Reflect & Correct template, I can look back on what might have caused me to lose sight of my goal and get back on track.
Power tip: Set a recurring task every day to remember to check in with yourself and fill out the details.
I hope I’ve inspired you to get more out of Evernote and make this the best holiday season yet. Happy holidays and happy New Year!