Holiday Planning: How to Prepare for Christmas Early 

Want to reduce holiday stress? Start your holiday season stress-free by learning essential tips and tricks to prepare for Christmas early. 

Taking inventory, making a list, and mapping out a simple holiday plan now will help you stay organized and prioritize what matters most to you during this most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas Decor on Kitchen Buffet

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I’ll let you in on a few little secrets – I love a good plan. I love to make a to-do list. And I love to do all the things.

But another little feature of mine – I can get a little overwhelmed by all those things.

And around the holidays, there are A LOT of things!

Christmas Decor Kitchen Centerpiece

Things to make, things to cook, things to decorate, things to clean, things to buy, and the list goes on and on.

You know that overwhelming feeling around the holidays when all the things seem to snowball?

And all the things can get a little overwhelming when you wait until December to start them.

So, today I have you covered!

I’m kicking off the Christmas planning season with a quick little Christmas brainstorm for you! I’m helping you map out all the things now, so that when all of the festivities kick into gear, you’ll be able to be fully present and enjoy the sights and sounds and wonders of the holiday season!

Tips for Packing Your Christmas Decorations

What Are the Benefits of Planning Ahead for Christmas?

Some people begin during the summer months preparing for the holiday season, while others love the thrill of pulling it all together to beat the clock at the last minute. I fall somewhere in between, and find that putting a plan in place early in November will greatly reduce holiday stress and help me prioritize the most important parts of the season.

A little early holiday planning helps ensure a smoother and more enjoyable Christmas season for me. 

By getting a jump start, you can also take advantage of discounts, have more time for creative DIY projects, and savor the joy of the season without last-minute rush and chaos.

Jingle Bell centerpiece on screened porch

The Best Christmas Preparation Ideas:

From decking the halls to planning festive gatherings and creating memorable family moments, these tips and tricks will help you streamline your holiday preparations and make the most of this special time of year.

​How to Plan Your Christmas Decor:

These tips will help you create a beautifully decorated home full of Christmas spirit. A simple decorating plan will help you create a festive atmosphere that brings joy to your space during the holiday season.

Classic Christmas Decor Christmas Home Tour - Red White and Gold tree

Pick your Christmas colors and theme for the year now.

Do you like to switch out your Christmas colors each year or keep the same colors year after year?

If you like to change colors and themes from year to year, start now and decide on your color scheme. Purchase Christmas ribbon, ornaments, and wrapping paper in your color scheme now.

This post is full of great Christmas theme ideas to help you create a festive look for the season.

Take inventory of your current Christmas decorations.

What needs to be tossed, repaired, refreshed or replaced. Can you repurpose or use something in a new way this year?

What decorating basics do you need to pick up?

Tartan Plaid Christmas Tree

Purchase realistic faux greenery.

There are so many pretty greenery options available that look so realistic. Stock up on those items now while supplies are plentiful. I share some of my favorite faux greenery here.

Or, if you plan to use real greenery and add it in December, you can prepare now by ordering it to be delivered on time.

Also, make sure you have a greenery preservative on hand to spray on your fresh greenery and keep it fresh longer. Of course, you’ll certainly need to wait until after Thanksgiving to use fresh greenery!

Get Ahead on Holiday Gift Planning and Christmas Shopping

Reduce the stress of last-minute shopping with these tips for buying Christmas gifts. 

Set a Budget for Holiday Gifts

Determine how much money you’ll set aside for gifts this year. Setting and sticking to a budget for gift-giving will certainly reduce stress when the bills come around after Christmas. 

Make your Christmas gift list and start gathering wishlists.

Create a list of everyone you’ll be shopping for. Set the budget, get sizes, and any special requests or wishlist items from those on your list. These gift ideas will make shopping so much easier. You can do a little bit of shopping at a time over the next few weeks taking advantage of all the good deals.

If you draw names for gift exchanges, see if names can be drawn early.

Christmas Coffee Table Decor Perfecting Places

Buy or make your gift wrapping supplies now.

Since you’ve already picked your color theme, buy gift wrap and ribbons in the colors that coordinate with your tree. 

Purchase plenty of tape, gift bags, tissue paper, and boxes.

Create a gift wrapping station in your homes, and try to wrap gifts as you buy them. 

Pick up a few extra hostess gifts or Secret Santa gifts to have on hand.

You’ll be so glad you have these ready to go when you need them.

Decide on Your DIY Christmas Projects

Are you planning homemade ornaments, personalized neighbor gifts, or DIY Christmas decor. Now is a great time to decide what you want to make, create your supply lists, and have those items on hand.

Here are a couple of favorite easy Christmas DIYs you can make and share:

Christmas Decor with Yarn

DIY Christmas Decor You Can Make with Yarn — Tassel Trees and Pom Pom Wreaths

Gold Leaf Letter Ornaments and Star Garland

How to Make Christmas Trees with Borax

Be sure to follow along for more Christmas decorating and DIYs throughout the season.

Planning Your Christmas Cards

Begin planning your Christmas cards well in advance to ensure you have enough time to design, order, and address them. Whether you hire a photographer or use a tripod to take your own photos, these tips will help you created memorable holiday cards your family and friends will cherish.

Family Photo Christmas Cards:

  1. Schedule your family photoshoot in advance to capture the perfect holiday picture.
  2. Choose coordinating outfits or color schemes for a cohesive look in your photos. 
  3. Choose a location with sentimental value or that aligns with your holiday theme.
  4. Include candid shots to add authenticity and warmth to your card.
  5. Select a card layout that complements your chosen photo(s) and allows for a personal message.
  6. Compile a list of recipients. 
  7. Select card designs that match your style and order the number of cards you plan to send. It’s always helpful to have a few extras on hand.
  8. Gather mailing addresses, and either address envelopes or print mailing labels.
  9. Check the postal service for delivery deadlines to ensure timely delivery.
Christmas Decor Dining Room

Plan Your Holiday Parties and Gatherings

If you host any holiday gatherings for family and friends, now is the time to start planning.

  • Compile a list of guests you’d like to invite, taking into account the size and capacity of your home or venue.
  • Choose a date and time that works well for your guests and consider the holiday season’s busy schedule.
  • Send out invitations well in advance to ensure your guests have ample time to RSVP and plan for the party. 
  • When planning your party menu, consider catering or potluck-style options for your Christmas party.
Blue and White Chinoiserie Christmas Tabletop

Plan your Table Decor and Seating for Gatherings

What will you use for a centerpiece? What tablecloths, table runners or napkins will you use?

Plan your place settings and make sure you have service for all attending.

Will you need extra tables or seating? Make arrangements to borrow or rent extra seating now.

What Tableware and Serveware Do You Need for Your Parties?

Decide the plates and glassware you’d like to use? Wash holiday dishes so they’re ready to use, or purchase plenty of disposable plates, cups, and utensils that are needed.

Do you need additional trays, platters, cake stands, or large serving bowls? Make sure to borrow or purchase anything you need ahead of time.

Christmas Wreaths on Dining Chairs

Schedule Special Events and Holiday Bucket List Activities for the Season

Get all the important events on the calendar now — school events, concerts, plays, church events, looking at Christmas lights, special parties, Christmas movie nights, or cookie exchanges. Determine if you’d like to host any special gatherings and start planning now. 

Do you have any holiday bucket list items or activities you want to prioritize. Make sure to make a list of these important activities and dates and schedule them on your calendar before it fills up!

Family at Christmas Eve Service

Plan Your Holiday Food:

Once all of our children arrive, I don’t want to spend all of my time cooking. A little planning and prepping now will mean less time in the kitchen and one less thing to worry about when our kids are home.

Create Menus for Holiday Meals and Family Gatherings.

Gather recipes of family favorites. If you’re hosting and others are bringing dishes, decide what you would like them to make. 

Start a grocery shopping list of things you need now, and purchase any non-perishable items ahead of time. Shopping ahead will help avoid those long grocery store lines full of last-minute shoppers. I love to take advantage of shopper services like Clicklist at my local Kroger.

If you’ll have extra house guests or adult children coming home for the holiday season, make a few casseroles or soups ahead of time and freeze them for company. It will make for easy meals to pull together during this busy time.

Wrapped Treats for Christmas Gifts

Decide on Christmas Treats to Make and Share

Do you love to spread holiday cheer by sharing Christmas goodies with neighbors, teachers, or special friends and family? Gather your recipes and shopping lists for your favorites or search for new recipes you’d like to try. 

You can pick up basic pantry staples now. A well-stocked pantry makes baking more fun when the baking bug bites!

Decide how you want to wrap or present any baked gifts and purchase those supplies.

Plan Holiday Travel Arrangements and Guest Accommodations

Make any holiday travel plans now.

If you plan to travel during the holidays, make reservations well in advance.

Layered Blue and white throw Pillows on bed

Prepare the guest rooms in your home.

Make sure you have enough bed linens and bath towels for your house guests. Do you need to refresh pillows? 

Gather a stash of simple toiletry items or other essentials to make guests feel at home.

Do a deep clean in your home.

Before the Christmas decorations come out, do a deep clean around your home. Clean the baseboards, dust the hard-to-reach spaces, and clean your windows.

Christmas Centerpiece with Blue and White Ornaments

Declutter your home

While this isn’t the best time for a total home declutter, at least focus on some key areas like your pantry, guest rooms, and kids’ toys. 

Toss or donate items that are expired, no longer used, or no longer needed.

These decluttered spaces will make you feel so much better as you head into the holidays!

Decide how you will keep the main thing the main thing throughout the Christmas season.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the stuff and fluff of the busy holiday season. Make a point now to make this season meaningful and a blessing to those around you.

Nativity at Night

Celebrate advent and create a sense of expectation with the focus on the Savior.

Find a way to serve or give and bless those in need.

Read a Christmas devotional throughout the season to keep your mind, heart, and attitude focused on the real meaning of Christmas.

This is one of my favorites to read and share with our family.

I hope this list is a great jumping off point to help you get organized and get ready for Christmas. Even if you like to wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate your home, you can do so many things now to be ready for all of the fun festivities later.

These tips might not create a completely stress-free Christmas, but they’ll give you a great head start on all of your Christmas preparations!

Happy Christmas Planning!!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Wendy! I also need to make sure I’m practicing what I preach. Make the lists and work the plan. We’ve got this!!

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