Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas

Getting ready for Christmas is a time of fun and festivities for some and a time of stress for others. I tend to err on the side of fun and festive. I love this time of the year and all of the anticipation that is wrapped up in it, but I also keep it simple. Today, I’m sharing simple ways to prepare for Christmas.

a living room decorated for Christmas

As a child, I remember my mom bringing out all of the Christmas decor the weekend after Thanksgiving.

She always made us wait until the turkey was eaten and then she stuck her Elvis Christmas cassette tapes in the cassette player and we decked the halls.

I love thinking back on those fond memories. The decking doesn’t wait until after Thanksgiving for us, though.

Christmas music begins filling our home the moment I flip the calendar to November.

While decorating and playing Christmas music might be something that you wait until after Thanksgiving for, it’s never too early to begin planning.

I’m going to share a few ways that I plan for the Christmas season so that it is enjoyable and not rushed.

I thoroughly soak up every last minute and I am always trying to make things go slowly so I can enjoy it even more.

Planning ahead is one way that I am able to keep my head on straight, even with all of the joyful hustle and bustle.

easy dried orange ornament

Preparing for Christmas with Lists

Lists are the number one way that I keep my head on straight during busy times, not just during the Christmas season.

I make several lists for Christmas and keep them in a binder, or folder, so I can find them and access them easily.

A few of my lists are:

  • Gift ideas- I start this months in advance as I hear my family mention things they are interested in or wish they had.
  • Christmas Festivity Dates– parties, picking out a tree, driving to look at lights, etc.
  • Baked goods and meals I will need to plan for– Whether it be family dinners or Christmas breakfast here at home, I like to have everything listed out with what I plan to make so that I don’t spin my wheels the day of.
  • People to take Christmas Cookies to– Every year, we take cookies to our neighbors and it has become one of our favorite traditions. This list also includes which cookies we are baking and the recipes.
  • Gifts I’ve ordered or bought– This is important because I tend to forget what I have actually purchased and what I have just thought about purchasing. This takes all of the guesswork out of it.
  • Clothes I need to have for the kids for church, parties, etc.– We have a church music concert where kids and families can perform Christmas tunes. Our kids all wear their Christmas best for this performance.
target christmas gift basket gift guide

Preparing Gift Ideas for Christmas

Gifts are one of the hardest parts of preparing for Christmas for me. I made a bunch of gift guides for you in case you struggle with this, as well.

My goal is to have my list of gifts jotted down by November 1st. This year, I bought everything in October, which is a first for me. I typically start shopping in November.

Gift Buying

If you start shopping in November, getting your ideas for gifts down on paper in October is a good idea. This will allow you to shop with ease when it’s time. Turn on some Christmas jazz and go to town (whether in store or online) buying the special tidings for your family.

We do 3-4 gifts for each child, plus their stocking.

They get one “larger” item, a clothing item, a creative item, and a book item. I keep things simple, but fun.

Wrapping Paper

Another part of getting prepared for gift giving is making sure you have wrapping paper. I purchase a different paper for each child.

They get a square of the wrapping paper in their stocking on Christmas morning so they know which gifts are theirs.

Until Christmas morning, they don’t know exactly which presents belong to them.

a Christmas kitchen

Preparing your Christmas Calendar

The calendar can fill up very quickly during November and December. Since we homeschool, I haven’t had to worry about school functions, but I know that can add a lot to the calendar.

Getting engagements on the schedule now helps when other things pop up. You will have a good handle on how full your season is and will be able to say “no” if things are getting too full.

Not only does this help you to know when to stop adding things to the calendar, but it allows you to be prepared when the engagements finally arrive.

Do you have a church music concert for the kids? No problem, it’s on the calendar and you already have an outfit ready for your child.

Is there a work Christmas party for your spouse? Great! A babysitter has been scheduled and you have your clothing ready for the event because you knew it was coming up.

If the local homeschool group is having a cookie drive, it’s not stressful because you knew it was on the schedule and you had plenty of time to prepare.

I cannot express how much it helps me to have our engagements written on a paper calendar so I can see them daily. This helps ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks.

a kitchen decorated for Christmas

Preparing Food for Christmas

There are a couple of different engagements that require me to plan out my food.

We have family gatherings, our personal family meal traditions, baked goods to take to neighbors and people at Mark’s work, and a yearly meal that we have with friends.

I try to prepare my menus and gather the recipes so that I am prepared and not frazzled. This doesn’t mean that I never have a stressful moment, but it does mean that I have all of the ingredients I need and have allotted time for being in the kitchen.

Ways I prepare Food for Christmas

  • Make a list of all food items- I make a list of what I need to bake/cook for each occasion.
  • Gather Recipes- I gather the recipes and have them all in once place so I don’t have to hunt for them when I need them.
  • Make grocery lists- I like to make weekly grocery lists with all of the “extras” I need for my Christmas baking/cooking. These items are things on the recipes for Christmas meals. I still need to meal plan for our regular meals.
  • Make food ahead- If there’s anything I can make ahead of time, I try to get it done in November to ease my schedule for December. Some of these food items are cookie dough balls for taking to neighbors, cinnamon rolls for Christmas Eve morning, and biscuits for Christmas morning biscuits and gravy. Getting those few things done when things are less busy drastically impacts my schedule.
a boxwood wreath on vertical shiplap

Buying “Extras” Ahead of Time

If you know there will little things you will need, buy that stuff ahead of time and tuck it away.

Things that come to mind are Christmas napkins, boxes for cookie deliveries, wrapping paper and stuffing paper.

Having little items on hand ahead of time helps things move smoothly when you’re ready to do things, such as pack Christmas cookie boxes or wrap gifts.

If you are low on storage space in your home, slide these things under your bed. I keep most of this stuff under our bed until I need it. That way, it’s out of sight, but I know it is there when it’s time to tackle little tasks.

mother drinking tea with a christmas tree

A List for what has been Bought

Be sure to include a list of everything you have bought and whether it has arrived.

Don’t get stuck wondering a week before Christmas if the doll you ordered for your daughter ever came. A list of everything that has been purchased and tucked away will help keep things in order.

Christmas Clothes

There aren’t many special occasions that we buy special clothes for, but Christmas is one of those that does get a little extra sprucing to the wardrobe.

All of our kids get a new outfit for Christmas church and a fresh pair of Christmas pajamas.

We give them the pajamas after Thanksgiving and they wear them as we drive through a local park looking at the lights. This way, they get to enjoy the pajamas all season long.

I like to make a list of what I have purchased for each child so that I know I have what I need, such as tights, cardigans, socks, etc.

Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas

  1. Write down Calendar Engagements
  2. Make a list of Gift ideas and what has been purchased
  3. Plan Christmas outfits for engagements
  4. Bake ahead, when you can
  5. Plan Christmas meal ideas
  6. Buy extras ahead of time- wrapping paper, napkins, Christmas cards, etc.
free Christmas gift list printable to prepare for Christmas

Free Christmas Gift Checklist Printable

It’s always fun to use pretty things, no matter what we are preparing for. Here is a Christmas gift checklist for you to use while you prepare for Christmas.

  • Write down the gifts you order for people under their names
  • Check the circle when it has been ordered or bought
  • Highlight the gift when you have it in hand

You won’t be left wondering what you bought, if it has arrived, or what you got each person. I hope you find it useful!

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