30 Things to Do Now to Prepare for the Holidays: Get Ready for Christmas!
Updated: Mar 1
End of year stress can catch up to you. Fast. Visiting family and friends, last minute shopping, baking cookies and treats, finding time for rest, decorating, and more finds us running around for those last precious weeks (and months) in the year to get ready for Christmas.
This blog post will help you create a master list of those things to keep track of and to do to get ready for Christmas and prepare your home and heart for the holidays this year! A stress-free Christmas may be possible with this list!
In this blog post, you will find:
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No matter how much we prepare in October and November, the big day approaches quickly. The looming resolutions of a new year, making sure each special person in our lives was remembered at the holidays with Christmas cards, holiday gifts, baked goods, cash, or even a simple thank you, and the endless running around make for a fast close to the year.
Let’s dive into how to simplify your life and create a master running list to be ready for Christmas!
Simplify Your Life with a Master Christmas List
As each year passes, I seek simplicity more and more. Preparing in advance for the inevitable holiday rush invites simplicity to appear when that rush finally does hit. One incredible, great way to do this is to build a master list.
You will find a free printable checklist below to get ready for Christmas. It also includes blank spaces for you to use as a running list of things to get done.
Another idea is to section a page in your printed calendar (yes, I still use a printed calendar), keep a digital file, or simply grab a piece of blank paper and start writing your list.
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A list of the most important things to do, gift ideas, favorite Christmas music, family photo plans, and more will probably work best if it’s continually accessible from now until the holidays. Something you can keep in your purse and reference when shopping or look up in your phone easily.
#23 from the list below is to do a Pre-Christmas Declutter and let go of items from your home to make space for new gifts and the Christmas tree. This year, I shared that step in a video and showed you the items I’m decluttering before the holidays. Here's a link to that video:
In the next section, kick off your master list with these 30 things to do to get ready!
30 Things to Do to Get Ready for Christmas
Shop and buy the matching those holiday pajamas so you have them when you want them (if matching PJs are one of your holiday traditions). Do you need them for photographs, holiday parties that run late (all the kids end up in pajamas Christmas Eve at my sister's house), or on Christmas Day?
Write down your holiday traditions (and potential ones you might want to start this year). Note what you need to buy/do/prepare to get the traditions ready (research Christmas lights shows and dates, plan advent calendars, pollyana gift purchaess for a work Christmas party, make a holiday bucket list with your kids).
Simplify your traditions (we make breakfast for dinner every New Years Eve).
Buy materials for your wrap station such as wrapping paper, gift tags, and tape.
Make a list of people to buy Christmas gifts for this year. A game plan to tackle your Gift List will give you a head start.
Extend those lists by adding gift ideas for each person. Ask family members for gift ideas. Remember to include teachers, neighbors and services crews (mail service, trash service).
Suggest traditions instead of gifts with friends. Some ideas include meeting up at the town tree with hot chocolate and marshmallow, board game night, and cookie swap.
Buy gifts. Shop your gift list early to find sales, comparison shop store to store, and avoid the last minute shopping stress.
Simplify gifts (bake cookies for neighbors, cash for community helpers)
Unpack and declutter Christmas decorations.
Wrap and ready gifts that need advance shipping so you can take it to the post office early December. The most wonderful time of the year does not have to be at spent in the lines at the post office. In fact, maybe include your local mailman and postal workers on your gift list. They work very hard this time of year. Also, Christmas Stamps are now available for 2022.
Plan holiday meals and ingredient lists. Advance meal plans will help you shop, stock up, and prepare.
Simplify baking. Try some no bake pudding pie or peanut butte pie. No bake recipes are an easy way to involve children in holiday preparations.
Simplify gift receiving. When someone asks what you want, offer consumable suggestions like gift cards to local small business coffee shops. Experience gifts like passes to museums or the zoo can simplify shopping, gift receiving, and stay withing your holiday budget.
Practice saying no. This one is hard! It's one of the most powerful words we can learn to say.
Meal plan healthy meals at home to balance out the meals away from home. Family gatherings are wonderful but may be loaded with unhealthy (but sugary delicious) foods.
Ask for help and recognize the holidays can be a joyful and depressing time of year for many no matter how far in advance you prepare.
Holiday celebrations may still need to be held on Zoom. Make it fun! Send gifts in advance to the call and both parties could have hot chocolate ready that day!
Write out packing lists for each trip - even the day trips. Make any long distance travel arrangements in advance.
Shop early. Shopping online can help you take advantage free shipping. Shopping local saves time and supports small businesses! Many places still offer curbside if you ask.
Plan for guests. Do you need new guest towels or new pillows in your guest bedroom?
Declutter items from your home to make space for new gifts such as toys and games, and clear (and declutter!) the space you’ll need for the Christmas tree. Each year, we rearrange furniture in our living room to make space for the tree. It's a great time to clean and declutter this room.
Set and keep a budget for gifts, baking, special meals, donations, and those matching pajamas (why are these so expensive?!)
Organize your Christmas card list and addresses.
Order your holiday cards.
Set dates for a family bubble. For us, Dec 25 and 26 are at home, uninterrupted, and spent in pajamas for 2 straight days.
Remember your stress points from last year and try to avoid them this year. My biggest stressor is all the driving this time of year. Try to think of ways to make it a little easier on yourself. Notice what is giving you stress this year, so you can minimize that stress next year.
Give yourself space and grace.
Pray. Pray again, Pray often.
Reconnect with gratitude and remember the reason for the season. Christmas Day is a day of celebration!
Print a Blank Master Christmas List
Click here to print this a blank to-do list. Customize your list using these 30 ideas and add your own.
When should you start preparing for Christmas?
October is the perfect time to start preparing for Christmas if you want to spread out the tasks and the preparation. If your to do list is short, then knocking it out Christmas Eve may work for you. October leaves you with plenty of time to get ready.
What should I do to get ready for Christmas?
The 30 things suggested in this blog post will get you started. Writing down a master list helps keep you organized and helps you prioritize what to do next for the Christmas season. Your list of Christmas preparations will differ from my list.
How do you get ready for the holidays?
One day at a time! October may seem too early to prepare for Christmastime, but the to do list can be long this time of year. Getting a jump on easy tasks leaves time for the harder, more time consuming tasks as the holiday approaches. You could insert this list into your existing Christmas planner, or use the list to jot down great ideas in your current calendar or planner.
What do you do to get ready for the holidays? Leave me a comment below with more ideas and let's help one another get ready for the holidays this year. Merry Christmas!
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