Sometimes at the Endpaper Blog we get the unique opportunity to offer a platform to creative journallers from around the world. We’ve recently partnered with Quynh Vu – a multitalented artist and bullet journaller who specializes in brush lettering and modern calligraphy. You may remember Quynh from her Instagram account @caliquynhletters or her previous hand lettering and planning tutorials here on the Endpaper Blog.

Today we’re excited to welcome Quynh back to the Endpaper Blog to share her planning tips for this highly unusual holiday season.

Holiday Planning

2020 has been an unprecedented year in so many ways. Thinking about the upcoming holiday season always brings me a lot of joy. I find comfort in knowing that our family traditions can still continue but may need some modifications depending on where we live and who we will be seeing.

Before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I like to start with a relaxed planning session early in the morning, alongside a warm cup of coffee. This planning session is important to me, because the holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for work, family and friendships. There may be work deadlines you are trying to tie up before the end of the calendar year, events that you are hoping to host or attend, and of course carving out time to spend on your family holiday traditions. Although this year may be different from previous, we can still make our celebrations amazing and memorable in their own way.

Step 1: Reflect

Photo credit: Quynh Vu

This header should inspire you to think of those things that you treasure the most about the holiday season. I start my planning by reminiscing about past holiday seasons and what memories stood out the most within our family. For example, when our kids were little, we would always save extra Halloween candy until Christmas time, since we used those candies to make our own miniature gingerbread houses. We would use a box of graham crackers, some icing and the candy we have at the house to decorate these fun, colorful and festive houses. Since these gingerbread houses were so small, they were easy to build. No instructions were needed, and we were able to be as creative as we wanted. Some kids made a single, tiny house. Others made a 2 or 3 story graham cracker mansion. We would then hold a contest at our house and vote on the one that the family liked the most. Each graham cracker was iced onto a paper plate to create a steady foundation for a candy-filled winter wonderland experience. This memory still brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

Reminiscing about gingerbread houses reminds me that I need to make sure that I prioritize and plan out these fun family activities to make sure they do not fall off our radar during this exciting time of the year.

Step 2: Categorize

Photo credit: Quynh Vu

Write out the categories you want to focus on in your planning session.


Your planning may include visiting close friends and family during this holiday time. We may need to be extra creative when planning out this category due to social-distancing measures and travel restrictions that may be in place. Virtual coffee or tea by video chat may be a way to connect with local friends you have not seen in a while or ones that have moved further away. Weekends are always busy, but looking at early mornings or weekday evenings can also be helpful when trying to synchronize schedules.

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Cousins
  • Best friends
  • College friends
  • Close colleagues


Although it may be difficult to have large gatherings like before, below are a few activities that you can continue to enjoy.

Due to the possible changes that may occur to businesses and travel during this time, it is good to have some fun activities that you can count on and look forward to with those in your household.

  • Donating food, clothes and other gifts to local families
  • Decorating the Christmas tree
  • Listening to Christmas songs
  • Reading by the fireplace
  • Building a gingerbread house
  • Lighting cozy candles
  • Making hot cocoa
  • Creating handmade cards
  • Designing personalized gift tags
  • Making wood slice ornaments
  • Writing to letters to Santa Claus
  • Finding fun places to hide your elf
  • Popping confetti
  • Swirling sparklers
  • Waiting up to midnight to ring in the New Year


  • Drive-through food drive
  • Adopt-a-Family
  • Cookie exchange
  • Virtual winter season school performance

Step 3: Assess

Photo credit: Quynh Vu

Size it up. For each activity you want to do or person you want to see, list out an estimated amount of time needed for that task.

For example, putting up the Christmas tree may take a few hours, but listening to Christmas songs while you do it would take no time at all. Seeing the bigger events alongside the smaller activities will allow you to adequately plan out your time and to make the most of this remarkable, but fast-paced time of year.

Step 4: Schedule

Photo credit: Quynh Vu

Connect with others. Now that you know how much time it takes, start talking to family and friends to find out their schedule and put it on your calendars so that you both have something to look forward to.

Step 5: Enjoy

Photo credit: Quynh Vu

Now this is the best part. After all of your planning and anticipation of the holidays, it is now time for you to relax and be fully present during this special time of year. Take photos. Save memories and keepsakes. Cherish this joyous time through the process of writing and documenting this in your own personal journal.

Watch the full tutorial on IGTV: Quynh (calliquynhletters)

Watch the full tutorial on YouTube: Quynh Vu

For a chance to have your holiday plans in your Paperblanks notebook featured feel free to tag @caliquynhletters and @paperblanks using #createwithcaliquynh and #peopleofpaperblanks.

Send Quynh an email at if you wish to be included in complimentary VIP benefits, such as brush lettering and drawing tutorials that will be sent out regularly.


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