How to prepare for Christmas early so that you can sit back & enjoy the holiday season.
Preparing for Christmas early is the best gift you can give yourself.
Rather than spending the weeks and days leading up to Christmas running around in a tizzy trying to get everything ready, prepared, and checked off your Christmas to-do list, thanks to these tips you’ll have everything done prior to Christmas so you can actually sit back, relax, and soak up the holiday season with your family.
(Without a long list of to-dos nagging at you.)
Here is a list of things you should do to prepare for Christmas in November.
(And if you don’t get to these by November, by all means, do them in December.)
After writing the post 11 Ways to Prepare for Christmas in October, I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt a little scatterbrained with the Christmas season approaching. Which led me to create a follow-up list to help you (and myself) get even more prepared for Christmas in November.
(This post may contain affiliate links. You can learn more here.)
The days are cold, the nights are colder, and everything is covered in a soft white layer of snow (I love the holiday season). Right now, I’m soaking up every moment of these beautiful snowflakes and air so cold it’ll hurt your face.
But, our winter seems to drag on for-ev-er, so I know in just a few short weeks I’ll be sick and tired of the cold and wishing for summer.
However, I’m going to try and hold on to this joy of the season at least until Christmas is past.
Whatever the weather is like for you during your Christmas season, it doesn’t change the fact that people. get. busy. (And moody, but that’s usually just an unfortunate side-effect of being so busy.)
Like a jack-in-the-box, we get wound tighter and tighter the nearer Christmas approaches only to blow up at any given moment thanks to the amount of stress we put upon ourselves.
Taking just a bit of time to prepare for your Christmas in the months leading up to December, rather than waiting until December 20th rolls around to realize you still have an endless list of things to get done, is a clever idea.
(You may be rolling your eyes right now thinking it’s too early… but it’s okay, you can thank me later for pushing you to get this all done now.)
With everything from:
- family photos (never mind the toys, dishes, and other miscellaneous items scattering the house behind your curtain back-drop)
- deep cleaning
…this season gets busy.
The best way to combat a stressful Christmas season is to start your holiday preparations well in advance. Spread out the load instead of leaving it to the last minute.
How to Start Christmas Preparations Early This Year…
So, since I know you’re busy, I’ll stop my chatting and get on to the tips – here are the best ways to prepare for Christmas early:
How to Prepare for Christmas Early
18 easy ways to get ahead of the Christmas rush before the Christmas rush gets ahead of you…
1. Make a Christmas Budget
Before you roll your eyes and move on to the next tip, hear me out.
Unless you want to ring in the new year with a substantial credit card bill, making a Christmas budget is vital.
And the earlier you can do it, the better.
Having a holiday budget in place will show you exactly how much money you can spend on all things Christmas without going into debt.
Plus, you can break the budget down even further so you know exactly how much money you have available to spend on gifts (for specific people), food, decor, and miscellaneous items.
My husband and I use the everydollar budgeting app to track our budget so we know exactly how much money we have to spend.
(If you’re more of the pen-and-paper type, this budget planner is a big hit. Plus you can keep it going well into the new year.)
More ways to save money on Christmas:
– How to do Christmas on a Budget in 14 Painless Steps
– How to do Christmas Cheap (without being cheap)
– How to Shop for Gifts on a Budget + Still Give Great Gifts
2. Buy Ingredients Now
The earlier you can make your Christmas budget, the sooner you’ll know how much money you have to spend on food items for Christmas.
And once you know that, you can start shopping for non-perishable items early, which gives you a better chance of finding them on sale.
Just make sure you don’t buy perishable ingredients if you’re not ready to use them yet.
For now, stick to buying non-perishable goods. If you plan on starting your baking already (and storing the baked goods in the freezer to keep them fresh until Christmas), now is also a good time to start shopping for those ingredients.
3. Premake Christmas Cookies
Checking one more thing off your list a month before Christmas? Count me in.
If you like to bake dozens of Christmas cookies to give out to neighbors, bring to church, or offer your guests around the holidays, premaking the cookies and squares is a good way to save time closer to the holidays.
It’s one more thing checked off your list.
Before you begin your baking bonanza, make sure you have space in your freezer to store everything.
(Christmas baking should keep in the freezer for around 3 months, depending on what you’re making. Check the recipe to ensure it’s freezer-friendly.)
You can either make and bake all your Christmas baking, or you can make the dough and freeze it, then pull it out of the freezer and bake it closer to Christmas.
Be sure you freeze everything in air-tight containers (this will keep them fresh). These are the ONLY bags I will freeze my baking in (I find they keep the baking tasting the freshest).
Bonus tip: If you freeze raw cookie dough, write the temperature and time that the cookies will need in the oven on the freezer bag or container to save you from having to rummage through cookbooks to find the baking instructions.
4. Be on the Lookout for Gifts
Now that you’ve got your holiday budget figured, it’s time to go out and get some Christmas shopping done.
(Make your Christmas budget BEFORE you go shopping.)
If you find you overspend when shopping for gifts in-store (and you definitely don’t want to go over your Christmas budget. This could be your first debt-free Christmas!), you can buy gifts online directly through specific shops, or through Amazon.
If you choose to go the Amazon route, you can get free, quick, shipping with Amazon Prime, which you can try for free for 30 days through this link.
Or you can use Rakuten to purchase your gifts (and find great discount codes). You can make a free Rakuten account and get a $10 cash bonus just for signing up through my link here.
5. Order Christmas Cards
If you like to send out Christmas cards, you’ll want to get those ordered right away, if you haven’t already done so.
This way you can use any spare time you have to prep the cards and envelopes and get them ready to send out.
6. Prep Guest Rooms
If you’re going to be hosting people over the holiday season, you’ll want to take some time to wash the guest bed sheets and pillowcases (and possibly the pillows too, here’s how you can find out if your pillows are due for a washing).
You can also clean the guest bathroom, and re-stock the toilet paper (I like the idea of filling this thing with TP and putting it on the top of the toilet to ensure your guests don’t have an awkward situation of running out of toilet paper) and towels.
7. Fill Out Christmas Cards
Even if you don’t plan on sending out your Christmas cards until December, it’s a good idea to get them pre-filled, stuffed into the envelope, and ready to go. (Just make sure you store them somewhere safe until they get sent out.)
Bonus tip: wondering, “when should I send out my Christmas cards?” It’s recommended to send Christmas cards 2 – 3 weeks before Christmas day, or sometime in the first full week of December.
8. Pull Out the Christmas Decorations
Whether you plan on decorating your house the first week of November, or you prefer to hold off until just a week or two before Christmas, it’s a good idea to find those Christmas decorations (and dust them off) so they’re ready to go when the urge to start decorating hits you.
(It may be a good idea to throw your stockings in the washing machine before hanging them up, too.)
Bonus tip: live Christmas trees should live nicely in your house for approximately 4 weeks, so you will want to hold off on putting a live tree up until the end of November at the earliest.
9. Wrap Christmas Gifts
As soon as you start purchasing Christmas gifts, bring them home and wrap them right away.
This way you won’t be caught a day before Christmas with a mountain of gifts to wrap. (Be sure you label each gift so you remember which ones are which.)
10. Make, or Buy, an Advent Calendar
If you’re feeling crafty you can learn how to make your own homemade advent calendar here. If you’re not feeling so crafty, buying an advent calendar works just as well – because nothing works to get you in a good old-fashioned Christmassy mood quite like watching the days count down.
11. Watch for Sales on Stocking Stuffers
If your family does stockings, you know that buying small knick-knacky things to stuff those stockings with can add up quickly.
So, to help you stay within your Christmas budget, you’ll want to watch for sales on items well in advance (there’s nothing quite as awful as facing crowds of people on Christmas Eve trying to find those last-minute stocking stuffers, never mind the jacked up prices of last-minute shopping).
12. Scrub Your House
At the end of November is the perfect time to deep clean your house one last time before the throng of Christmas guests starts showing up.
13. Break Out the Christmas Movies
(Did you really think this entire list was filled with things that weren’t any fun?)
Give yourself permission to sit down in the evening, cuddle up in your favorite cozy blanket with some hot chocolate and watch that one movie that ALWAYS puts you in a Christmassy mood.
Everyone has at least one movie that puts them in a Christmas mood. This one’s mine. What’s yours?
14. Make Homemade Gifts
If you have some gifts that you plan on making yourself, it’s a good idea to get started on them earlier than you planned to (because we all know that things don’t always go as planned with DIY).
If you originally thought you would need a week to get a project done, give yourself two weeks, just to be on the safe side.
15. Plan Appetizers
If you will be going to any potlucks or hosting guests at your house, it’s a good idea to pre-plan the appetizers and meals you will be needing. (And, when you go out to buy all your baking ingredients, you can buy the non-perishable ingredients you need for these appetizers, too.)
Remember that gift budget you made here? Be intentional about sticking to it.
A big part of sticking to a budget (any budget) is not getting lazy.
Laziness, aka, “I just don’t know what to get for this person and Christmas is just a couple of days away. Whatever. I’ll just get this thing even though it’s $25 over budget” is a budget-killer.
Getting careless with your Christmas budget will result in a much more expensive Christmas than necessary. Planning ahead will help you stick to your budget.
Looking for more ways to save money & be frugal? Check out our frugal living for families category, here.
17. Make a Christmas Playlist
This one of those behind-the-scenes things that many people don’t do.
It’s always nice to have Christmas music playing in the background, especially when you have visitors over around Christmas.
Find your very favorite Christmas CDs (this is my personal favorite. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without it), or make a list of your favorite Christmas songs on Youtube and create an album.
18. Make a New Family Tradition
One of my very favorite parts of Christmas is the Christmas traditions, and I love creating new traditions for my little family to do time and time again over the years.
A few of our favorite family traditions are Christmas tree hunting with friends every year, attending our church’s Christmas Eve service, and Christmas baking (now with the kids).
What are some of your favorite family traditions? Were they passed down over the years, or are they new traditions you’ve just started?
There you have 18 ways you can prepare for the holidays early. Did I miss anything? I’d love to know what you do to prepare for Christmas early.
How do you keep the holidays relaxed and enjoyable for you and your family? Feel free to share in a comment below!