A Christmas holiday checklist can really take the stress out of planning for the holiday season. I’ve decided to share my own personal Christmas holiday checklist – of course it will need to be personalised to your needs. Just start a new file on your computer, and jot down everything Christmas-y throughout the year.
Christmas Holiday Checklist
Things to do in December
You didn’t really think that Christmas planning can start in December do you? Well it can – for Christmas next year! Planning for the holidays a little bit at a time is much less stressful then trying to get everything organised at once.
- Count how many Christmas cards you sent out. Make a list of the recipients, plus their names and address
- Make a list of everyone who sent you a Christmas card – and their addresses
- When wrapping presents, keep a tally of how many rolls of Christmas paper you use. Also tally all the sundry items, such as tape and ribbon
Things to do on Christmas Day
- Gather up all the ribbons and bows you can to recycle (if your family laughs, ask what they’d rather you spend your money on next year – ribbon or a gift?)
- Keep an eye on the presents. Did you forget to buy a gift for Auntie Maud? Misjudge how much you ‘should’ve’ spent on a gift for your next door neighbour? Make a note of it, if so.
- Relax and enjoy yourself!
Things to do in January
- While Christmas is still fresh in your mind, jot down everyone you plan to buy for this year. If you can, make a note of what gift they would like so you have some ideas when it’s time to hit the shops.
- Make a list of ‘Christmas extras’ that worked well – and those that didn’t. If making a gingerbread house was an utter nightmare – make a note of it. If your homemade gifts in a jar went down a treat – make a note to make more this year.
- Go shopping for Christmas paper, plus ribbons, Christmas cards, decorations and other sundries. You may not feel in the Christmas spirit, but you can collect some serious bargains!
Things to do Throughout the Year
- Watch for sales and buy gifts as you see them. This approach doesn’t work for kid’s seasonal must-haves, but it does work for adults who might like a coffee table book or a new set of towels…
- Consult your Christmas extras list and buy everything you reasonably can from it, as you can afford it. Making mulled wine? Buy red wine in July and put it aside.
- Make a start on homemade Christmas gifts as soon as you can to avoid stress at Christmas!
Things to do in September
Christmas can easily become way too expensive, so set a budget early – in September!
- Work out how much you can honestly afford to spend on Christmas. Remember – Christmas is about friends and family – not spending a fortune. If you only have a little cash to spend, it’s even more important to spend it wisely. Christmas spending can be divided into two categories…
- Gifts – Pull out the Christmas gift list you made in January, and revise it. Can anyone be crossed off? Does anyone need to be added? Next, group everyone into categories (i.e., siblings, neighbours) and make a mini budget for each. For example, you might choose to spend a maximum of $100 on your siblings. This means if you buy a $70 purse for your sister, you only have $30 to spend on your brother…
- Extras – Make a list of absolutely everything you’ll need to buy this Christmas, from turkey to sticky tape. You would’ve already bought Christmas paper and cards in January, and have gathered most of your handmade gift supplies. Once you’ve made your list, go online and get the prices for everything else – use today’s prices even though there might be holiday sales (if you overestimate, you’ll have a little extra money to ring in the new year with!).
- Add up the cost of the gifts, plus all the extras. Does it match your budget? If not, try crossing some things off your extras list, or making a few more homemade gifts for family rather than increasing the amount you plan to spend. If you’re hosting a meal, why not ask guest to bring their own drinks – and if you’re being hosted, why not offer to make a special dish in lieu of a gift for your host?
Things to do in October
Aim to get your Christmas shopping done and dusted this month. It seems early, but you’ll feel wonderfully smug by November.
- Plan before you shop. Make an action plan of which stores you’re going to, in which order to make the most of your petrol money.
- Buy like things together. Aim to get all the kids gifts in one day, for example, and all your in laws’ and aunties’ gifts in the next. Once again, you’ll be visiting less stores…
- Once you are really, really sure you’re done with shopping, pop on a movie and wrap all the gifts at once. It’s much less stressful to only have to hunt high and low for that roll of tape once a year!
Things to do in November
- Get crafting! Write a list of all the homemade gifts you’re giving this Christmas, with the recipient’s name, plus any special information (i.e., Hand knitted socks for Auntie Maud; hates the colour purple). Double check you’ve got all the supplies you need, and book out a few evenings or a whole weekend on the calendar – it will be much easier to find time if you calenderize it early!
- Spend an evening writing out your Christmas cards, complete with stamps and envelopes. Have them ready to pop in the post on December 1st.
- Post any gifts to relatives overseas (earlier postage is much, much cheaper!)
Things to do in December (Again!)
- If you make Christmas treats, like biscuits, egg nog or truffles, now’s the time to get in the kitchen
- Trim the tree and enjoy other family Christmas rituals
- Don’t forget that Christmas comes every year… complete the first December checklist at the top of the screen
- Enjoy holiday parties – knowing that your holiday ‘work’ is all done!
Things to do on Christmas Day
Relax, enjoy yourself… and start thinking about how to make next Christmas even more enjoyable!