I love to know what is going to happen all the time and Christmas is no different. Having a Christmas to do list is defiantly a must for me.
BUT I want to encourage you to create a to-do list and be flexible at the same time. I know, I know that sounds counterintuitive. But hear me out.
Start with the things that are most important to you and work your way down the list to the least important.
This way you are able to let some things go if you don’t have time for everything.
Christmas is a time of family, friends, and fun. But sometimes it can be hard to know what to do. This list will help you make the most of your Christmas.
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This post is all about creating a Christmas to-do list that brings you peace to your holiday season.
Take Stock Of Gifts And Décor (July)
Whether you want to buy fresh decor or start shopping for gifts early you will save money if you know what you have already. AND you will be far more intentional when purchasing new Christmas decor when you see what you have and know what will flow well together.
Create A Gift List
Create a list of gifts you need for everyone. Whether it is people in your family, white elephant gifts, gift exchanges, or even small goodie bags you want to give to people.
Make sure to have space for the name, gift idea, budget, what you actually spent, and if you wrapped it already.
DIY Christmas Gifts
Handmade presents are always the best. They show how much you care about the person you are giving it to. These are often a great option to do for the person who has everything already. DIY Gifts can be far more personalized.
Make sure to start your DIY plans early because you don’t know when life might get in the way and if you are not able to finish the gift you have time to buy something if it doesn’t work out.
I love DIY decor but be careful not to make the list too big assuming that you will want to do all of those things.
Sometimes buying your favorite thing on sale is cheaper than spending the time making everything.
Give yourself one or two projects each holiday season and start early. You will enjoy them more if you do that instead of making a HUGE DIY list and end up feeling rushed doing it all. It’s supposed to be fun. Not a chore.
Create A To Decorate List
Make a list of the things that are more important to you to decorate.
If there is a new space that you haven’t decorated before make sure to add it to the list because when Christmas comes around you will go back to the same habits and not get the things done that you had hoped.
Having your decoration list will also help you when you are shopping for a new decore. If you see something you love you will be able to see if you have a space you could put the new item.
This is another area where you need to put things in the order or most important to you. Life gets busy and if you can’t decorate everything that’s ok.
Pro Tip: People don’t know what you planned to get done if you don’t tell them. So if time runs low just let it go.
Create a Christmas Budget (July Or Sooner)
This is so important. The holiday season brings with it a lot more spending than the rest of the year and if you create a budget in July or august that allows you to put a certain amount away each month. Spreading the amount out over 4-6 months rather than having to come up with the full amount of money in November and December.
It’s much less stressful putting $50 away each month than having to come up with $600 in November and December.
If you are starting early decide how much each month you can afford to spend on Christmas and divide that amount up between everything you have to buy for Christmas INCLUDING GIFTS.
Shop For New Decor
Places like Hobby Lobby will have good sales right before the holiday. Otherwise shopping for Christmas decore after the season is over is going to get you the best deals. Buuut you may not get exactly what you want.
Whenever you decide to go shopping for Christmas decor make sure to have pictures on your phone or a list of what you already have AND what you would like to decorate this year so you are intentional about what you spend money on.
You don’t want to buy something because it’s cute but not have a good spot for it. Then it just sits on a shelf and never brings joy to your home.
Christmas Season Scheduling (Early August)
Scheduling out your Christmas season is going to be the key to not having a stress-filled holiday. Stress happens when we don’t know what is going to happen and what is expected of us.
When you try to do things without any sort of plan you end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
But when you make a plan and have clear actions that need to be done. You are confident in what you have to get accomplished.
The earlier in the year you can start the better. You can schedule the most important things and work the things that don’t “have to” be done in around the family get-togethers.
Check Your Calendar
This should be done in august or September at that latest so you don’t start scheduling things like Doctors’ appointments or plan on getting big projects done around the same time as your family get together. When those things on the farm that COULD be put at another time.
Look at what you have planned and see what is already on the calendar. Hopefully nothing or very little.
If you have a lot scheduled in December wait to talk to family first but be willing to move things if needed.
Don’t schedule too much for that time because having a full schedule will cause you to feel stressed as well. You will feel the pressure of “having to” get all these things done and your mind wont be on the important things.
Get With Family
Set the dates for your family get-togethers and build around that. Some family members might give you some pushback for scheduling so early but they will start to see the light. If you can’t get them to decide early just plant a seed and ask again at the end of September or early October…
I had to train my new inlaws that they either schedule with me early or we may not be able to be at the family get-together at a particular time. Because I am now coordinating with two families, not one. Funny how each side forgets that you have two sides to keep happy.
Not to mention chores to do on the farm before you leave and Church obligations.
You don’t have to get specific times but at least a day and even a ballpark time would be great.
Mark those days in your calendar. Here is one of my favorite planners.
Block Of Dates
Next block off any church services or events you know tend to happen during that time of year that you MAY want to go to. Things like Christmas craft sale events or holiday parades. If there are things that are a maybe I would mark them in pencil or a different color in your planner.
You don’t have to go to all of them but if you know when they are you will be able to go if you want.
Make Time For Fun Things
If you want to do DIY projects or a fun movie night you have to schedule it. Time will get away from you and you won’t make time for it. These are often the sweet memories we remember. All of the regular to-dos seem to blend together.
Create a Bucket List
Create a list of fun activities you would like to do this fall and winter season. Put them in order of importance. The ones you would like to do that would bring you the most joy.
Having a space to put location/travel distance and total cost if there is an entrance fee.
Remember the low-key surprise adventures are the ones that will create lasting memories.
Start Christmas Card List
This is a lost art but everyone loves getting Christmas cards. If you want to keep the budget small since stamps seem to continue to go up. Make a list of the people you want to send cards to and let the rest go.
You don’t have to write 50 Christmas cards. Even sending 5 cards out to different people will bring joy to people.
Or just write a few generic ones and drop them on the doorstep. You don’t even have to know the person. Here are some of my favorite Christmas cards On Amazon
Again stick to the budget. But whether you are taking food somewhere or hosting, creating a plan will help you know what to tell others to bring as well as help keep you from overspending.
Bringing buttered bristle sprouts is far cheaper than sweet potatoes. Choose wisely.
Fun food Additions don’t have to be hard.
Simply making cinnamon rolls from a can on Christmas morning can make it special. Even if you have to run out the door to someone else’s house your family will remember that extra fun thing you had for them.
If you start baking early (like September or October) this will bring the holiday spirit on early. And spread out the sweets so you can enjoy them longer rather than having 8 different desserts you try to force yourself to eat so they don’t go to waste. This will help with feeling sick and bloated as well as keeping the holiday pounds off your waistline.
If you notice your baking list is getting pretty long and you don’t know what to cut you can make half batches if you want to make lots of different things.
Start collecting the recipes of the things you want to try or the things you know you will love. If you have them printed out you will have easy access to them and be more likely to bake them.
Wrap Gifts As You Buy Them
I love to wrap gifts as I buy them because that adds more decor to the house making the tree look beautiful.
Make sure to label them either on the back of the package or somewhere it will be hidden from view if you don’t have pretty gift tags.
Take A Family Christmas Picture
Like the annual family photo? Taking a family Christmas picture in a similar or same place is a great way to document family growth.
To take a family photo make sure to plan the date to make sure all your family members know where they need to be, especially as kids start to have their own schedules. Take the time to plan the outfits. Whether you want to pull what you already have or buy new tops.
Find At Least One Nice Thing To Do For Others
This is something that sounds nice but is easily forgotten because of how busy we get.
It doesn’t have to be hard. Make a few dozen cookies, put them on a disposable plate, cover them with plastic wrap, and put them on your neighbor’s doorstep. They don’t even have to know who did it.
The only thing I would do is put a sticky note with what potential food allergies there could be in the cookies. IE gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, ext…
That way they know and don’t get afraid to try them. Food allergies seem to become a big issue these days.
Christmas Eve Plan
Make Christmas Eve FUN!!!!!! Whether you are the only one in your household or you have kids that would enjoy the time with you.
Do things like watch a Christmas movie, wrap the final presents, stuff the stockings, and make some fun finger foods. Let bedtime go by the wayside.
Just have fun with it.
Get a Tree (November)
A real Christmas tree is a must for many people. It’s a tradition that brings happiness and joy to many families.
Buuut if a real tree is a little on the messy side a faux tree is a great long-term option. I love to have the tree out about a month before Christmas.
Decorate the Tree
There is something about decorating the tree that just brings happiness to everyone involved. It’s a tradition that should not be missed.
If you have a lot of hands that aren’t quite as good at decorating you can get the tree further along in the decorating process and leave the last few layers for everyone to help with.
For example. Put the lights and classy bulbs that bring some cohesiveness to the tree on yourself. Then leave the random ornaments and garland for everyone to help with. (you can also go around the next day and make a few tweaks if you want. No one will notice)
Fill Christmas Stockings ( Christmas eve)
This is a fun Christmas eve activity. While you can fill them earlier in the holiday season you run the risk of temptation being too much for young eyes.
Remember that stockings are meant to be fun little trinkets. They don’t have to be full of expensive gifts unless the stocking is going to be how you give your gifts.
I have seen people do stocking gift guides and everything is $10 and up. That could cause stockings to be as expansive as the gifts.
Christmas Day Dinner
Christmas is not complete without a big feast. Keep in mind that if you are already going places you don’t have to do another one at your home unless you want to.
Creating a Christmas to-do list is very important in order to maintain peace of mind, financial stability, and mental health during the holiday season. Taking the time to plan out the items you need to accomplish as well as making memories will help ensure a stress-free and enjoyable Christmas.