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Planning for Christmas | How to get organized for the holiday season

Are you becoming overwhelmed planning for Christmas? I can assure you that you're not alone!

It seems a long way off, then suddenly creeps up on you! You haven't thought about Christmas gifts, cards, or even how you're going to spend the holiday. To crown it all, the shops are overcrowded, there are long queues everywhere, and you can't find what you need anywhere.

Sound familiar?

If it does, you'll find this article a great help.

I've got some great tips on how to get organized for Christmas, including how to prepare an effective budget, what you should plan for and when, as well as eight handy Christmas planner printables for you to download.

Don't get stressed out. Let this Christmas be an enjoyable one!

You may skip to specific sections of this article if you wish:

Read on to learn more…

Planning for Christmas. Photo collage showing three people exchanging gifts next to a Christmas tree and Christmas planner printables.

Christmas Planner Printables

Before you start planning for Christmas, download your Christmas planner printables so you can plan with me as you go through this article.

The Christmas planner bundle includes the following:

  • Christmas Planner Notes Page: note your plans for the Christmas celebrations.
  • Christmas Preparation Checklist: this reminds you what you should do and when on the run-up to Christmas.
  • Christmas Gift Template: note gift ideas, and track what you've bought, and what's pending.
  • Christmas Card List Template: prepare your Christmas card list and track mailings.
  • Christmas Guest List: note who you have invited to the Christmas meal and keep track of the dishes your guests will prepare.
  • Christmas Menu Planner: create your Christmas menu and note the food supplies you'll need to buy.
  • Christmas Shopping List Template: plan your shopping for Christmas supplies.
  • Christmas Day Cooking Schedule: stay organized and on top of your final cooking preparations on Christmas day.

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    Planning for Christmas - 5 Tips for a stress-free holiday

    Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year! It still feels magical, and I love sharing the festivities with my family and friends.

    On the other hand, I know from experience that preparing for Christmas with a full-time job, family, and a household to manage can be tough to handle.

    To avoid becoming stressed and overwhelmed, start planning for Christmas early!

    This gives you sufficient time to do your preparations, and you can spread the workload and financial burden. It's much easier to squeeze in one or two small tasks into your busy schedule rather than trying to do everything at once.

    Check out the following tips for a stress-free Christmas:

    A family about to enjoy their Christmas meal.

    Tip 1 - Set your Christmas goals

    Decide what you want to achieve by asking yourself the following questions:  

    How would you like to spend Christmas?

    Decide whether you'll be preparing the Christmas meal, hosting a party or whether you will be celebrating in another household. If you are hosting the Christmas meal, determine how many guests you can entertain.

    If you have family in another city or overseas, you may want to spend Christmas with them or at least visit them during the Christmas holidays. Maybe they would like to come over to spend Christmas with you.

    What will you do for presents?

    Decide whether you'll be getting presents for everyone or just the kids.

    Playing Secret Santa is a practical solution for gifting at Christmas as it removes the headache (and expense) of looking for a suitable gift for all family members.

    Are there any special Christmas events you'd like to attend?

    Christmas is a great time to enjoy shows and theatre events with the family. Make sure you book these well in advance to avoid disappointment!

    Note the things you wish to do during the holidays on your Christmas Planner Notes Page.

    Two adults and a child at a Christmas market.

    Tip 2 – Create your Christmas budget

    As we all know, Christmas is an expensive affair, and it's easy to spend far more than we intend to. Decide how much you are willing to spend and check that this ties in with the Christmas plans you've noted above.

    When estimating the cost of your Christmas plans, take into account the following:

    Food and Beverages:

    If you'll be hosting the Christmas meal, plan your menu using the menu planner printable, and estimate your budget based on the number of guests you'll be entertaining.

    Consider asking guests to prepare some side dishes, or to bring wine. This will help to share the workload and the cost.

    If guests will be staying over, consider the cost of additional meals.


    Use your Christmas gift template to note the gifts you plan to get and the estimated cost of each item.

    Ideally, if you already know what you'd like to gift people early during the year, get these items in advance at the end-of-season, Black Friday, or Ciber Monday sales.

    Travel and Accommodation:

    If you plan to travel to see friends and relatives during the Christmas season, note the estimated cost of travel tickets, accommodation, meals, and activities. Use the travel preparation and travel-packing checklists to help you prepare for your trip.

    Christmas Activities:

    Note the cost of the activities you wish to do during the holiday season.

    Check your budget:

    Total the estimated cost for food and beverages, gifts, travel, accommodation, Christmas activities, and any other plans you've made for the Christmas holidays.

    Check that the estimated cost ties in with your budget. If it doesn't, review your Christmas plans and make the adjustments you consider necessary.

    Plan Christmas budget: Note paper, pen, calculator, and a piggy bank with glasses.

    Tip 3 - Check your inventory

    Check what you have before buying!

    How many times have you bought rolls of wrapping paper, only to find you already have unopened rolls at home? I certainly have!

    Before doing your Christmas Shopping it's good practice to carry out a thorough check of your inventory. This will save you time, money, and storage space.

    Check the following before creating your Christmas shopping list.

    • Dinner accessories: If you are hosting the Christmas meal, make sure you have sufficient dinnerware, glassware, linens, and other table accessories for the number of guests you will be catering to.
    • Decorations: Check whether you need to complement your Christmas décor with additional items.
    • Christmas cards: review your Christmas card list and determine whether you need to buy additional Christmas cards.
    • Gift-wrapping supplies: check your gift list and estimate the amount of gift-wrapping supplies you'll need.
    • Toiletry supplies: If you'll be having guests over you may need to stock up on toiletry supplies.
    • Kitchen supplies: check whether you have sufficient foil, plastic wrap, paper products, and freezer bags. You'll need them when you do your food preparations.
    • Food supplies: review the recipes for the dishes on your Christmas menu and check which supplies you already have in your pantry.

    Christmas tree and decorations stored in a wooden crate box.

    Tip 4 - Prepare your Christmas shopping list

    To save time and minimize the number of shopping trips you'll need to make, prepare a shopping list before going out to do your Christmas shopping.

    Use the Christmas shopping list template you've downloaded to prepare your shopping list.

    Aim to purchase your Christmas gifts and shop for non-perishable items well in advance to avoid the mad rush.

    Buy perishable items, such as fresh cream, ready-made sauces, and fresh vegetables nearer the time.

    Two women outdoors carrying bags with Christmas shopping.

    Tip 5 - Spread out your Christmas preparations

    Start preparing early 

    It's never too early to start planning for Christmas. Believe it or not, some people start preparing for Christmas in January!

    I must confess I don't start preparing that early, so I'll take note.

    Although it may not be practical, or desirable to start planning for Christmas at the beginning of the year, the earlier you start, the better.

    What if you haven't even thought of planning for Christmas until November? 

    Well, I can assure you that it's not too late to get everything organized, and still have a stress-free Christmas!

    Use your Christmas preparation checklist

    Plan your preparations using the Christmas Preparation Checklist you downloaded.

    Aim to carry out the tasks in the early preparations section of the checklist as early as possible and continue with the other preparations as indicated.

    When making your Christmas plans and preparations, keep the following in the forefront of your mind:

    • Remember that Christmas is a time of celebration! Don't get bogged down with all of the preparations. Share the workload with other members of the family.
    • Book time off work during the holiday period so you can relax and enjoy the festivities with your family and friends.
    • We all like to look and feel our best during the holiday season! Treat yourself to a new outfit, have a good pamper session, or get your hair and nails done. Remember to book appointments with your stylist and beautician at least two weeks before Christmas to ensure free slots are available.

    A couple sat on the floor preparing Christmas decorations.


    Christmas is just around the corner!

    Don't get overwhelmed with Christmas preparations, let other family members help.

    Download your Christmas Planner Printables and start planning for an enjoyable, stress-free Christmas with your friends and family.

    Merry Christmas!

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