It’s never too early to plan Christmas. ‘Tis the season for spending money, hosting people, and having the best time ever. But ’tis also the season for some serious planning. Without a plan for gifts, wrap pickups and drop-offs, travel and activities, you’re likely to go slightly mad with the stress of it all. Want some stress-relieving tips? Here are a couple to keep you feeling zen throughout the holidays.
The best remedy for holiday stress is action, so take a deep breath and use this super easy checklist to stay ahead of all your holiday plans and ideas.
SHOP THE STORY
1. EARLY NOVEMBER
START MAKING PLANS
So the first step in any good holiday plan is to nail down your dates. Get your Getting Stuff Done Planner out and start marking important dates on your calendar.
Get your plans for the holiday set in stone. Do a ring around and find out when people are actually arriving at yours. Make a note if you’re picking people up from the airport, or going to visit. This will also help you plan out when you need to put your Christmas decorations up (before people arrive).
Make a note of dates like Christmas markets, last days to shop, and other important dates in your holiday plans before you start getting into the details.
Get ahead by making a plan of what you’re actually doing in December and check the box below when you’ve achieved that.
CHECK IT OFF:
2. MID NOVEMBER
THINK OF LOGISTICS
This is my favorite part. Once I know the dates, I start to think about the plan. For example, picking up foreign family members from the airport means I need to have the house clean, organized and decorated before then. It means I need to have ideas to entertain them until Christmas, and meals that we’ll be eating in the meantime.
Don’t leave logistics until the last minute. If you’re hosting holiday events, think about who’s arriving, where they’re sleeping and what you need. People often overlook things like bedsheets, towels, and meals! You all have to eat in the run-up to Christmas, right?
So, what I do at this stage is go into full planning mode. I’ll plan Christmas dinner based on how many of us there are and add it all to my basket (I order it all mostly prepared from CookFood to save a headache I will never have time for) and I start thinking about the ‘theme’ I want to go for so that my house looks uniform and pretty when people arrive. Putting it all in your basket now also helps you with stage three, budgeting.
CHECK IT OFF:
3. END OF NOVEMBER
CREATE A BUDGET
Knowing the important dates for your holiday plan (when people are coming and going and when food deliveries etc are happening) is just stage one. Now you need to do some recon.
Start creating orders online and make a note of the prices of things. You need to know your budget in advance. Isn’t it better to start paying for things slowly than to make a huge dent in your December paycheck?
You might have been ambitious with stage two and put the entire home collection of a store in your basket, but now you need to be realistic. How many gifts do you need to buy and do you have an idea of how much you’re going to spend on each one? Create a card and wrap budget too, and then use what you’ve already learned about your Christmas meals and any other meal prep to create a realistic budget for Christmas.
CHECK IT OFF:
4. BEGINNING OF DECEMBER
START BUYING THINGS
Book your Christmas tree delivery slot, order your decor, schedule a pick up for your Christmas meal and reserve any gifts you know you need to buy. The earlier you start chipping away at your Christmas budget, the better. Set yourself deadlines and start getting organized (read: paying for things or preparing things!).
I know from experience that whenever I plan Christmas, I like to buy themed towels, tablecloths, and other bits for the sit-down meal, and you probably do too! So keep that in mind too, small details make a huge difference. The earlier you can get everything, the better.