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How to Plan Christmas so you can Actually Enjoy it!

Over the past 10 or so years I've gradually come to the realization that although it might be fun to race round doing Christmas shopping at the last minute, being disorganized and stressed over the holiday season ruins it for you - so my mission this year, is to show everyone how to plan Christmas; so you can actually sit back, relax and enjoy it yourself too!

If you're anything like me, you look forward to Christmas and your kids love it, and at the beginning of November you start to get excited, buy a few Christmas Presents and maybe a decoration or two ... then you think you're well ahead of the game. The next thing you know, it's December 20th - you've got no money, no plans, no decorations and a house full of bored, over excited kids!

It's all about the preparation.

Getting organised is the best way to have a stress free Christmas, it might sound boring; but have a little fun with it - involve the whole family and create some new family traditions in the process!

I'll be sharing some really cool resources with you and inviting you to have a look at what we do and how we do it. Our family is a little bit strange though (so I've been told), so feel free to change things up and put your own stamp on it.

I get a little bit over excited about now, and normally pull out my Christmas Planner, which is basically a big lever arch file that I throw any articles, checklists, gift ideas, envelopes that I've written on, rough notes and recipes throughout the year.

I try to put these in some kind of order every year but this year they are going to be RIGHT HERE - for you all to read and share and take advantage of to your hearts content!

What is there to plan?

So, every family’s needs are different, but I am going to try and cover everything I can think of - obviously, if a section doesn’t apply to you - just skip on to the next one.

  • Getting Organised (Checklists, Calendar, Budget Planner and Cleaning Calendar.)
  • The Spirit of Giving (Cards, Presents, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Bargains!)
  • Food Glorious Food (Meal Planner, Menu’s, Recipes, Baking, Using your Freezer)
  • Let me Entertain you (Decorations, Craft Projects, Receiving Guests and Days Out)
  • It’s all about Family (Traditions, Advent, Music, Carols, Movies and Children’s Activities)
  • Post Christmas Depression (Resolutions, Packing away, Next year?, January Sales, NY Eve)

So, Those are the basics for getting organised for Christmas - but if you really get the Organising Christmas bug, there are loads of other things you could incorporate into your planner and you will want to come back to it year after year.

Xmas Organisation - Keep it together.

However you choose to Organise, whether it be a Physical Planner or an online method, make sure it is all together and easily accessible. You will have Gift Lists, decoration ideas, clothes sizes, craft material lists, card lists and food planners that you will need to get to quickly if you see the perfect bargain that you just can’t pass up!

Plan Christmas ... And Start Now!!

Decide on your format, and gather your materials. Together, we are going to create a one stop shop for all things Christmas in your family. Hopefully, it will become your best friend as we get ready for this holiday season and many more years to come - you never know, it may become something to hand down generation after generation.

Getting Organised (Checklists, Calendar, Budget Planner and Cleaning Calendar.)

Step 1. Get yourself a dedicated Calendar from now until New Years, it can be part of your normal diary if you have one, or a printable calendar, or even just a Bullet Journal style Notebook, with the dates down one side. The main thing is that you have an easy to read overview of the time you have between now and New Years. You could even splash out on one of these Christmas Organizers.

Planning Christmas

Most of the Christmas organisers i came across were pretty naff to be honest and not really what I would be looking for, but these 2 are pretty, functional and look like they’d be fun to use.

There's this Christmas  organizer which is more classic in design, and this Christmas planner which looks a bit more fun!

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Step 2. Mark in your planner all of your appointments and engagements that are already planned and have to be done. You can do this however is easiest for you, you could mark every single thing on there, or just the things to do with Christmas, or even just the unusual appointments that are out of the ordinary.

Step 3. Next you should enter the items from the following tables, obviously disregard anything that doesn’t apply to you and add anything that does! If you are starting this after the beginning of November, you might have to shuffle things up a bit! As you start to find out when parties and school plays are arranged, write them on the Calendar. Keep it with you so if someone calls or asks you in person if you’re free, you can check then and there.

Beginning of November

  • 1st - 10th november

  • 11th - 20th November

  • 21st - 30TH NOVEMBER

  • Speak to Family to Finalise arrangements Are you having everyone at yours? Is someone else Hosting on Christmas day? Do you have a long way to travel? Is there anyone that you’ve forgotten? 
  • Buy Travel Tickets  If anyone is travelling by Public Transport (especially Flying) it’s a good idea to get your Travel information and tickets now.
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    Write or update your Christmas Card List. Write a list so you have a rough idea of how many cards you need, and make sure you have up to date addresses. Make sure you leave space on your list for the people you forget - then when you receive a card from someone you had forgotten, you can just pop them on your list! 
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    Go shopping for Cards, wrapping paper and supplies. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who, no matter how organised I am - can’t find the sellotape on Christmas Eve when I have to wrap the last minute presents I found, that I’d hidden in a safe place! You will normally get the best selection if you shop early and if you’re shopping online, you’ll have plenty of time for them to arrive.
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    Think about how much room you have for guests. Do you have a guest room or pull out bed? Have you got nice sheets and blankets in case you have last minute overnight guests? Are there nice towels in the bathroom? How many chairs can you find around the house? Do you have a table big enough for everyone to sit around for dinner? 
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    Make a Gift List. You don’t need to fill it all in, but try and write down everyone you may want to buy for, and what you have in mind to get them. Then you can pick things up as you see them, rather than scrambling around at the last minute. There’s nothing wrong with asking people what they want for Christmas, but don’t pressure them if they’re not sure. Sometimes, people don’t mind what they get- but want something personal that they know you’ve thought of just for them. 
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    Set a Budget. Set a rough estimate for how much you can spend on gifts, food, treats, days out, travel and any other expenses that come with Christmas. Once you know how much you have in total, you can try to divide it up between what you need. In my experience, when it comes to Christmas, you always need more than you think you need so it helps me to do my Budget this early in case I need to shave some off of my daily expenses for a while.
Plan Christmas
  • start of december

  • 10th - 20th december

  • christmas week!

  • Last Shop. Get all of the fresh fruit and vegetables you need, and anything else that you've run out of or haven't been able to get already. Dob't forget the normal bits and bobs too, you know - Milk, Cereal, Bread ... you'd be surprised how many people do! 
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    Set the Table. Make the most of your Christmas Table decorations and Special Crockery and get it out for a few days, enjoy sitting at a lovely laid out table for an extended time rather than just one meal. It will be more memorable and really help to get you into the Christmas Spirit!
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    Start Cooking. Get going on preparing anything that can be made in advance, the more you can get done today - the less you will need to do later. 
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    Charge Batteries. Make sure your Camera / Phone / Video Camera is fully charged and has space for all those Photo's and Video's you want to take. 
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    Last Minute Wrapping. Finish up any last minute wrapping, pretty up your presents and assemble anything that needs it! 
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    Sit Back and Relax. Enjoy your family and friends, don't stress - and relish every moment and every memory.
Jo Morris
Hi I'm Jo, I'm a Home Educating mum of 4 kids aged between 2 and 18, and also a Foster Carer. I have a busy life full of Autism, ADHD, LGBTQ+ campaigning and also my husband!! If I ever get any spare time I enjoy saving money, learning about Nutrition and Alternative Therapies.