Raise your hand if you’ve ever been getting ready for bed late on Saturday night and you realize that your long-distance bestie’s birthday is tomorrow. And you forgot to ship her a card/present. And now there’s no way to get her something “on time” unless you buy her an edible arrangement (ugh) or a digital gift card (god, no). Come on, I know I’m not alone here! So, what’s the solution? A perpetual celebration calendar – let me explain to you what this is.
Inspired by Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner and the Martha Stewart way of life, I created my first perpetual celebration calendar 5 years ago, and have been editing the same one ever since. First, you need to decide on a scheduling/calendar situation that works for you. The options are endless (planner, desk calendar, wall calendar, Google Calendar, your phone’s calendar, etc.) but the important thing is that you pick one and stick to it. I use Emily Ley’s Daily Simplified Planner – I can’t recommend it enough!
Your perpetual celebration calendar will be a mix of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other special days that you want to remember. So, let’s get started!
Turn to the monthly calendar view and simultaneously log on to Facebook. At https://www.facebook.com/events/birthdays, you’ll see a list of all of your friends and their birthdays. Now, don’t go crazy and start writing down everyone’s birthday – that’s what Facebook is for after all! In this list of friends, select the 10-20 most important people in your life. The ones you would like to send gifts or hand-written cards to. Write down their birthdays on their respective monthly calendar view. If you’re using a digital calendar, set it as an all day event.
Don’t forget grandparents, little ones, and fur babies! They’re probably not on Facebook, but just as important to you. Add their birthdays to the calendar. If you don’t know their birthday off the top of your head, just ask and tell them what you’re doing! They will be flattered that you’re thinking of them and that they are special enough to make it onto your planning.
Write down all the anniversaries that are the most important to you – wedding, engagement, dating, even a work anniversary if you want to celebrate it.
Chances are that whatever calendar format you’re using has the major holidays written in already, and it’s not like you’re going to forget to get Hannukah or Christmas presents each year. But, think about the holidays that you really love to celebrate – I’m talking National Donut Day – that might not be on your calendar. You can look through a long list of fun holidays here or here but remember – don’t get crazy. Just write down the ones that you want to do something special for.
Other special days.
Think back on the last year. Do you have any super fun memories of a celebration that we haven’t listed? Do you know when the first day of school will be already? Do you run a business and want to do something special this year for everyone’s work anniversary? Or for your business’ own birthday? Add those in!
Dates not set in stone.
Now that you’re in the zone finding all the important dates in your life, you might start thinking about family vacations or reunions or parties like friendsgiving and galentine’s day. Yes, it’s a good idea to have those in mind in your perpetual celebration calendar, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to set a date right now. If you have printed calendar, use the space for notes that’s on the monthly page to add a bulleted list of these celebrations. If there’s no space for notes, make a list inside one of the empty date squares inside the monthly grid. If you’re using a digital calendar, add these ideas as a month-long event so it will catch your eye and simply adjust the dates once you’ve confirmed.
Awesome, now you have a full calendar of color-coded events (just kidding, you don’t have to do that!) and nothing’s really changed. How often do you look at the monthly view anyway? Here’s the second part to setting up this calendar and how to put it into use.
For Printed Calendars and Planners.
Using the monthly view as a guiding tool, start adding reminders for each celebration either two weeks or one month out. For example, my mom’s birthday is August 10. So on August 3 (Martha Stewart’s birthday by the way), I write down “Buy mom’s gift.” I find that two weeks give you ample time to shop for the perfect gift, try to find coupons, order something online, wrap it thoughtfully, and most importantly not freak out. There are a few things that need more notice though. My anniversary is June 8, so on May 8 I write “Make anniversary plans.” This way, if I want to book a flight for a long weekend getaway, I still have a chance!
For Digital Calendars.
Start in the month you’re in and begin editing each event you just added. Set a reminder for yourself via email two weeks our one month out. While you’re at it, set your events to repeat annually – but be aware of holidays that change dates from year to year.
Now you are totally set up for gift-giving and celebration-planning success! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and tell us what is your favorite made-up holiday to celebrate!