These Christmas planning tips will help you get organised early for the holiday season, minimise stress and help you enjoy your time with family and friends a whole lot more! Getting organised early for Christmas has always been one of my best methods towards achieving a simplified Christmas.
Why You Should Start Planning Christmas Early
Christmas is a time of year that seems to build up for months (especially now that Christmas decorations are in the shops before Halloween these days).
There is no denying this one day or week of the year can take a whole lot of effort, planning and preparation… before it is over in a flash for another year.
Sometimes the very thought of how much we need to organise before Christmas can feel overwhelming and almost make the effort seem like it isn’t really worth it.
Yet most of us jump back on that Christmas planning horse year after year, hoping to create the perfect festive family occasion for our loved ones.
Personally, I love Christmas. I love hosting it at our house with all of our family. I love planning the menu and creating small extra touches each year to make it extra special. And yes, I love giving and receiving gifts.
What I don’t love is feeling overwhelmed, stressed and disorganised!
These Christmas planning tips will help you avoid those icky feelings so you can enjoy the festive season.
Christmas Planning 101
While some may argue Christmas is just one day, why go to so much effort, most of us can’t help ourselves.
And this can mean a total panic at the last minute trying to get everything done.
So my biggest tip of all is to start your Christmas planning in November!
In fact, there are plenty of ways you can start planning for Christmas as soon as the last Christmas ends.
But at the very least, starting the month before will give you plenty of time to create your Christmas planning checklist and work through the items leisurely!
Need extra help? Get my mammoth printable Christmas planner:
So what can you do to ensure an organised Christmas from November? LOTS! Read on to find out:
Plan Where To Spend Christmas
Decide where you will be spending Christmas this year, whether it is at home hosting or if you will be visiting friends or family, or perhaps travelling interstate or abroad.
Where you are going plays a huge part in your Christmas planning.
If you are having Christmas at home, it’s time to start thinking about what you need to do around the house to get it ready for accommodating guests.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do we have enough room?
- Do we have enough tables and chairs?
- Do any of our guests have special needs?
- What do we need to do around our house before we can entertain?
If travelling for Christmas, make sure your car is serviced or your tickets are booked and that you have everything that you will need for your trip.
Christmas gifts can be so expensive, especially if you leave them until the last minute.
Personally, I like to start months ahead, picking up items throughout the year that I see on sale or that will be perfect for a certain family member. This is especially the case with my kids since we do Secret Santa with both families now for the adults.
Secret Santa is a great way to reduce costs for Christmas gifts, by each only having to purchase one gift. If this is something you think might work, November is the time to lock that plan in and work out how you will be drawing names so everyone can start shopping.
Plan your Christmas gift list by deciding who you will be buying gifts for, what your budget is for gifts, and working out some ideas for each person.
Start shopping now so you can break the costs up a little across several pay cycles, rather than doing it all at once.
Or if you consider doing a handmade Christmas, make sure you work out what handmade supplies you need and start creating.
Here are some gift guides to help with your Christmas gift planning:
- Gifts for active kids
- 101+ non-toy gifts for kids
- Teacher gifts they actually want
- Gifts for people who love to cook
- Last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas
- DIY Father’s Day gift ideas
- Last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas
- DIY Valentine’s Day gift ideas
- Older sibling gifts from new baby
- New mother gifts
- Non-chocolate Easter gifts
- Unique stocking stuffer gifts under $15
- Gifts to give a whole family
- Gifts for men who have everything
- Clutter-free gift ideas
- Gifts that keep on giving
- Subscription boxes for families
- Experience gifts for kids
- Class gifts for kids
Back in 2012 after the arrival of our first daughter, we did a completely handmade Christmas with every gift being handmade, to save money on gifts while on a single income. This can be stressful if you don’t typically love DIY though so think hard before committing to a handmade Christmas!
Create a Budget
Speaking of spending, before you do anything, a Christmas budget is essential.
Work out how much you want to spend and how much of that budget you want to put towards each part of Christmas – food, travel, gifts, etc.
A great tip to save money on Christmas expenses is to check any rewards programs you may be a member of and cash out gift vouchers with your rewards points if you have accrued enough. These are great for purchasing Christmas groceries or gifts or giving as gifts. They can take a while to arrive so do this ASAP so they arrive before Christmas.
If you have a new addition to the family, consider what you may need to get – a new stocking, a sentimental decoration. You can find newborn gift ideas here.
You might also like to check out these baby essentials if any of your family or friends is expecting around the holiday season.
Christmas cards were once a big thing for most people, but these days fewer people are sending and receiving Christmas cards.
This is a little sad because getting some actual mail in the letter box is always lovely in amongst all the bills and junk mail.
If you are planning to send Christmas gifts, November is a great time to buy or make your cards, write them up, address them and stamp them, ready to pop in the post box on December 1st.
The same goes for any class gifts your kids plan to give out since the school year breaks up before Christmas. Check out these cute candy cane cards we made for the kids’ classmates one year.
If you know you need any new decorations or Christmas-related items, grab them in November before the big rush begins at the shops.
Christmas shopping is hectic during December so get as much as you can now to minimise those December shopping trips.
And don’t forget online shopping is an option to reduce stress.
Less time spent in and out of shops trying to find what you need is always a great way to reduce stress!
If you are at home for Christmas and you will be putting on a feast, or if you plan to take food elsewhere, plan the majority of your menu early in December.
A simplified Christmas can be achieved if you don’t have to spend your days leading up to Christmas slaving away in the kitchen.
Make lighter work by knowing what you will need and purchasing any non-perishable items now. Also keep an eye out for specials such as turkey or ham, so you can cut your costs.
Some Christmas cooking can also be done ahead of time.
I like to make rum balls a few weeks before Christmas and freeze them. In fact, in Queensland it gets so hot, we keep them in the freezer all through the Christmas period, making them a very refreshing treat. They defrost in no time at all!
To ensure you are keeping on top of all the must-do tasks in your pre-Christmas lead-up, a planner, diary or notebook may be the best option to help you keep on top of your Christmas planning.
Keep track of things such as:
- Budget and costs
- Christmas gift purchases
- Shopping list
- Menu planning
- Christmas card list
By starting your preparations in November, your Christmas period can be organised and stress-free, giving you more time to enjoy the day for its ultimate purpose – as a time to spend with loved ones.
Hopefully, these ideas help you with your Christmas planning so that when December arrives, you are already well on your way to being organised!
December Christmas Preparation Ideas
One of the best ways to prepare for Christmas is to print out a blank calendar for December (and November if you have a lot of important dates to remember).
Use this calendar for your Christmas plan of what you want to do on what day.
This will give you a better view of your available time and help prevent you from forgetting anything important.
Add in any unrelated special dates and unavailable times as well so you can see your schedule easily. You can also do this in your everyday planner too.
Then once all the important dates and events are added, start adding to your Christmas plan:
- When you will put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house
- When you will do your shopping for Christmas dinner
- When you will start baking
- When you plan to go see Christmas lights with the family
- And any other important dates and activities you want to fit into your December.
Christmas is a time when people want to spend time with family and friends. By planning Christmas early, you will enjoy the holiday season with less stress and be able to really focus on the things that matter most – your loved ones!
Do you have any Christmas tasks you always start early?
Need more Christmas inspiration? Check these out:
- DIY advent calendar ideas
- Advent calendar fillers for kids and adults
- Free printable Santa gift tag
- Fun Christmas games
- Photo Christmas cards with candy canes
- What to put in a Christmas Eve box
- Advent calendar activities for families
- Christmas gift ideas for families
- Clutter-free gift ideas
- How to make a no-glue bauble wreath
- How to make Christmas crackers
- Funny Christmas jokes
- Christmas colouring pages to print
- Pom Pom Christmas baubles
- How to simplify Christmas for your family