If you need some help on how to get ready for Christmas this year, then this is the ultimate TO DO list for you! Everything you need to get done to have the best Christmas ever – all in one place.
Every year around November (or even early December) – you’ll start to hear people stressing about getting things sorted out for Christmas.
Worrying whether they’ve done enough prep already, whether they’re already behind, or whether it will be a good holiday this year.
It’s overwhelming to say the least, and nothing is more so than the worry of whether something’s been missed along the way.
The best idea I’ve ever found is to have a really detailed Christmas TO DO list, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
I hope that some of these things will give you ideas and inspiration for your own list – and help you to not forget much (if anything) this year when you’re prepping for the holiday season.
TIP – If you want to have them in a countdown checklist – so you know what to focus on first this year, you’ll definitely want to check out the Christmas Planner. It has EVERYTHING you’ll need to get organised, all in one place. Never miss anything again!
Get Ready For Christmas This Year – The Ultimate TO DO List
PSST… If you’re looking less for the TO DO’s that aren’t fun – and more for the exciting things to tick off your list in the run up to Christmas, then you’ll want to check the Christmas Bucket List post out…
#1 – Decide on where you’ll spend the holidays
This is one of the first things to get sorted out because it can affect so much of your other planning and TO DOs. After all – if you’re celebrating at home you’ll need to plan for home related things as well as gifts and cards etc… – and if you’re going away you’ll need to prep travel, things to take for the host etc…
#2 – Decide on what events you’ll be going to
Larger things like parties, concerts, school events etc… will all have specific dates that can’t be moved. As such, these need to be looked at first so that everything else can be fitted around them. This *should* help stop double booking.
#3 – Decide whether you’re hosting anything this year
A party or event that you are hosting will add an extra need for planning and more TO DO’s.
#4 – Book tickets for pantomime / theatre etc..
This is so that you can get the dates and seats you really want – and hopefully work with your budget more easily than having to go with only those that are left nearer the time.
#5 – Create Your Christmas Budget
Don’t forget about anything, your Christmas budget isn’t just about presents, cards and decor! It’s always best to write as much down as possible so you don’t over spend.
#6 – Set Expectations
Talk to friends and relatives about gift expectations / budget etc… If everyone has the same idea then there won’t be any embarrassment when presents are exchanged.
#7 – Create your gift list
Important for many reasons – including to know what to get for whom, the budget for gifts, and where to buy things from.
You could also keep your gift list year on year so you know what you bought people in the past – make sure you never duplicate!
#8 – Create your card list
Ideally have your card list split up into sections.
Firstly for hand delivered cards, secondly for cards to be posted, and lastly for cards that will be posted with gifts (to save on posting them separately and wasting money).
#9 – Decorate the inside of the house
This can be a lovely family activity, as you can all do your part together one afternoon…
#10 – Decorate the outside of the house
Even just a few lights make all the difference to making your home feel welcoming and more festive. Put them on a timer so you don’t have to worry about turning them on and off each day.
#11 – Buy gifts for all your loved ones
This includes your partner, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, aunts and uncles, cousins…
Don’t forget work colleagues too – a little something to show your appreciation goes a long way.
#12 – Write your Christmas cards
It’s worth doing a few a day to make the job less time consuming.
If you’re sending out a lot of cards it may be worth considering getting them professionally printed.
#13 – Post all the cards that need posting
Check on the last dates for posting to different countries so you don’t accidentally leave it too late.
#14 – Hand deliver cards
To local friends and family – always nice to add the personal touch!
#15 – Post gifts that need posting
Remember to think about the postal deadlines, just as with card posting.
#16 – Hand deliver gifts that you can
You could even organise a present swap night if you tend to buy for friends and lots the same group do it too.
#17 – Create wish lists
Have one for each member of your family, in case you’re asked for ideas, or to help you with your own shopping.
#18 – Buy all wrapping paper and postage items
Have them sorted out ahead of when you need them – so you don’t have to wait for anything (especially important at this time of year when things can go out of stock due to high demand).
TIP – Worth buying Christmas wrapping paper in the January sales as this will be the cheapest you’ll get it.
#19 – Declutter your kids toys
Ready for any new ones they’ll receive. Why not donate older ones to charity – so others can benefit from them?
#20 – Declutter the rest of the house
This will make it feel lighter before the decorations go up. Decorations can feel like they’re adding to clutter that’s already there – so it makes sense to minimise your things before adding to them…
Related: Things To Declutter Before Christmas – And Why It’s A Good Idea
#21 – Clean the house thoroughly
Definitely worth scheduling time to clean thoroughly before the decorations go up – as they will make cleaning take much longer (and make things less accessible too).
#22 – Buy a Christmas Tree
If you have a real one, make sure you give it plenty of water so it lasts longer.
You could also buy an artificial tree which can be used year after year – meaning eventually it will work out cheaper than buying a real tree each time.
#23 – Decorate the Tree
This is usually a family activity that everyone enjoys – especially little ones.
Related: Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas For Inspiration This Year…
#24 – Book an online food delivery slot if you need one
They can get booked up very quickly at this time of year, so make sure you’re organised and don’t leave it too late.
#25 – Do your Christmas Baking
Another lovely activity to do with the family.
TIP – Make extra and freeze it so you have some for last minute events or unexpected visitors.
#26 – Get your Christmas Planner ready
If you like to be organised, a Christmas planner can help you keep track of all the different things you need to do.
#27 – Get guest bedrooms/beds ready
If you have people staying over, make sure their room is clean and tidy and has everything they might need.
This includes spare towels, bedding, a hairdryer, toiletries etc.
TIP – If you’re short on space, consider using an air mattress or futon for guests to sleep on.
#28 – Create your Christmas music playlist
Whether you’re having a party or just want to get into the festive spirit, make sure you have a playlist of all your favourite Christmas songs ready to go.
#29 – Buy all drinks
Wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, mixers… make sure you have everything you need so you’re not making last minute trips to the shops (or running out!).
#30 – Buy all food
Again, make sure you have everything you need so you don’t need to make any last minute trips.
TIP – If you’re short on time, consider buying pre-prepared food such as veg boxes, ready made meals etc.
#31 – Check postal deadlines
For all countries you need to send to this year – so you don’t miss them.
#32 – Buy stamps
Ready for posting all your cards. Much easier to have them ready to go than to have to queue up at the post office nearer Christmas (long queues just waste your time).
#33 – Put any toys together before wrapping
This will ensure all pieces are there and to give you some rest on the day instead of having to build everything then!
#34 – Check your Christmas decorations
Are they all working OK? Are any broken? Do any baubles need new thread for hanging on the tree? Make sure they’re all ready to be used.
#35 – Replace any decorations that are damaged
So you don’t have to search for replacements at the last minute.
#36 – Know your kids school event dates
And what they need for each (the Christmas season is a REALLY busy time for the kids).
#37 – Book time off work for holidays / events
If you want to take any time off over the Christmas period, make sure you book it well in advance so you’re not scrambling for last minute holidays.
TIP – Check your company’s policy on booking holiday – some have strict deadlines that are much earlier than others.
#38 – Book travel if you’re going away
Whether it’s by car, train or plane – make sure you book your travel in advance so you can get the best deals and don’t have to worry about it closer to the time.
TIP – If you’re driving, check for traffic updates and plan your route accordingly to avoid any delays.
#39 – Check the car
If you’re travelling over the holidays (fill up with petrol, check the oil and tyre pressure, add in emergency supplies etc…).
If you’re doing any longer journeys then you may find it useful to get the garage to give the car a check before the holidays just to be safe.
#40 – Plan your outfits for Christmas
No one wants to be scrambling for clothes at the last minute, so plan ahead and have everything ready to go.
When planning what to wear – remember that this has to include shoes, accessories etc… – have it all ready to go.
#41 – Buy any clothes you need
For events you’re going to over the holidays.
Do you have any parties with specific dress codes that you need to adhere to? Maybe a new Christmas jumper, or specific colour ball dress, for example.
#42 – Check any loyalty cards
For cash/vouchers that could be used for Christmas Shopping. Christmas is expensive, so any savings you can make will be very welcome.
#43 – consider a cash back credit card
If you’re planning on big spends – (only if you will pay it back immediately)
#44 – Send out invites
For any parties/events you’re hosting. Get these sent asap so that you aren’t competing with too many other events as this is a popular time of year for parties, and you want as many people as possible to be able to come.
#45 – RSVP to any invitations
You’ve been sent. This is polite as it means your host can make their plans more easily when they finalise their numbers.
#46 – Stock up on home essentials
For over the holiday period. We often forget the boring stuff, but these can become crucial on Christmas Day to avoid stress.
For example – if you don’t have batteries for that new kids toy you gave them, they may not be able to play with it…
#47 – Batch cook some meals and freeze
Ready for easier catering over the holidays. You can still make homemade without being in the kitchen the whole time.
#48 – Buy extra gifts
Just in case you forget someone, or have extras that you didn’t know about. Maybe someone will pop over that you weren’t expecting.
#49 – Book hair cut
If you like to have this done before the holidays. Appointments get booked up quickly so it’s best to be organised.
#50 – Book any beauty appointments
Nails, wax, facial, etc… – just as with hair cuts – these will fill up really quickly so get yours booked fast.
#51 – Decide on your plan for Christmas Day
Are you doing lunch or dinner? Hosting or going out? Make sure you have a plan so that you know what needs to be done and when.
TIP – If you’re hosting, make sure you delegate some tasks to others to help lighten the load.
#52 – Decide on your plan for Christmas Eve
This is often a busy day with last minute shopping and preparations. Make sure you know what needs to be done on Christmas Eve, and when to avoid any stress.
TIP – again, delegate where possible to others to help out.
#53 – Work out what you’ll be doing for New Year’s Eve
Are you going out or staying in? Hosting a party or going to one? Make sure you have a plan so that you can enjoy the night.
TIP – If you’re hosting, start planning early to avoid any last minute rushing around.
#54 – Do Elf on the Shelf for the kids
If you have young kids, this can be a fun activity to do in the lead up to Christmas.
TIP – There are lots of Elf on the Shelf ideas online, so have a search for some inspiration. It can be fun for you to do as well!
#55 – Plan what you’ll be doing with the kids
They have quite a long time off for the school holidays, so it’s good to have some ideas of things to keep them entertained.
TIP – Try to mix up indoor and outdoor activities, as well as active and passive pursuits, to keep them (and you!) from going stir-crazy.
#56 – Clean the oven
If you usually do this before Christmas (I tend to do it after though, as Christmas cooking means it’s worked overtime and got pretty messy!).
#57 – Get the kids to write their letters to Santa
If they haven’t done so already. It’s good to get this done early so they can post it to Santa and you can plan what you’re buying…
TIP – if you have younger kids, you could help them with this or even write it for them (there’s a great template in the Christmas Planner if you want to grab a copy and make it easier for them).
#58 – Organise your Advent Calendars
For whoever you tend to buy them for. This of course needs to be done pretty soon on the Christmas timeline because it will be needed on 1st December.
#59 – Make any homemade gifts
You’re planning on giving (this is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit as well, as it can be made into a whole day or weekend of fun!)
#60 – Make Any Homemade Decorations
You’re planning on making. This is a great way to add a personal touch to your Christmas and get into the spirit of things.
#61 – Get the table items ready for any meals
This includes any serving dishes, cutlery, crockery etc. that you’ll need. It’s good to get this all sorted ahead of time so you’re not scrambling around looking for things when you’re trying to cook and entertain at the same time.
#62 – Take any photos to send in your Cards
Some people like to take a special photo for the front of their Christmas cards, but others like to include a snap inside the card along with a letter of what the family has been doing over the past year. If you like doing either of these, then you need to arrange for the photo shoot – however it’s being done.
#63 – Make sure all tech is ready
For Christmas Day (spare batteries, chargers etc…)
#64 – Organise a visit to Santa
To wish him a Merry Christmas and tell him whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year!
#65 – Sort out a letter from Father Christmas
Or a video, or arrange to watch him lead the reindeer in the skies online on Christmas Eve etc…
#66 – Light an advent candle each evening
In the run up to the big day. This is a nice alternative to an advent calendar.
#67 – Book food / flower deliveries
If you’re gifting any perishables – these need to be ordered so that they get to the recipient in time for Christmas but not too soon before!
#68 – Order your turkey
Or whatever you’re having for your main Christmas meal. This needs to be done in advance so that you can be sure to get the size you need, and also to give it time to defrost properly (if it’s a frozen one).
#69 – Decide on your Christmas table décor
For Christmas dinner and buy what you need. Check that you have things like place cards, mats, charger plates, crackers etc… to make it extra special.
#70 – Check you’ve got enough Hosting Items
Chairs, glasses, cutlery etc… for any parties/hosting you’re hosting.
#71 – Have a fantastic Christmas
Don’t forget amongst all these TO DO’s to actually just have a great time over your holidays. Christmas is very special – and really, it doesn’t matter much if you forget a few things. Try your best, and have fun!
And there you have it – 71 things to get ready for Christmas – all in a quick checklist for you to use.
I hope it helps you get into the festive mood a little, and gives you ideas of ways to prepare for Christmas this year.
Don’t forget to grab the Christmas Planner if you want help for the full 10 weeks up to Christmas – it’s an invaluable tool that you won’t know what you did without!