Save precious time, money, stay organized and get ready for guests.
Christmas is here; you know what that means. It’s time to deck the halls, hang some mistletoe, and jam some Christmas carols on your stereo (if you play any instrument – then, by all means, have at it). Oh yeah and don’t forget the gifts! That much is obvious. But, if you’re like me, the next thing that comes to mind is ‘OMG! I gotta get my house ready for Christmas Parties’… ha! What a rush!
Holiday prep can be a process and a bit stressful if you don’t get ahead of the season. Add in holiday parties, travel, and guest you can feel a little overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.
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When preparing for the holiday season, I love to use lists and write things down. I keep track of all receipts, gifts, and checklist to keep me organized.
When should you start preparing for Christmas?
This idea of early preparation for Christmas is a highly debated one, I think. Some people need to be in the spirit and really get into it once the calendar flips. Christmas is a favorite for me, and I really want to soak it in because it goes by fast. So planning and getting shopping done early and home prep helps to enjoy festivities and gatherings more.
I begin to prep for Christmas in July. In fact, if you read my post about my shopping secrets, you might jump on the Christmas shopping bandwagon too. It’s a detailed plan of how I get ahead of the shopping and deals. Plus, my secret to no stress gift giving.
Here are the steps that can help you plan for a better Christmas.
1. Create/Use a Christmas Binder
I love binders to help keep me stay organized. I use them in my home management in all different areas.
Here is what is inside my Christmas/holiday planner
- Budget Planner/Tracker
- Menu Planner
- Guest List
- To-Do list
- Shopping list
- Gift list
- Gift Ideas
- Holiday Bucket list
- Party Schedule
- and more….
Now that I have my binder printed and ready to go. I begin to brainstorm gift ideas and creating a budget. Using a pencil or erasable pen, I will use the gift idea section to jot a few thoughts down. It’s helpful because I can begin looking for gifts and watching for deals on items I may be wanting.
This is how you can use this binder to the fullest. When shopping regularly, be mindful and check prices or look for items, especially during mid-year sales.
It’s also the perfect time to look out for stocking stuffers, which I love!
2. Create your budget
So you have already started brainstorming ideas on gifts which gives you an outlook on your budget.
Looking at the budget section and people you want/need to give to. Set your budget amount. Always leave yourself a bit of wiggle room for last-minute gifts or shipping/taxes.
Another fun idea is to buy gift cards to stores you know you are going to shop at so that you can create a savings plan.
3. Wrapping materials Preparations
So now that you have your Christmas gift ideas, and will begin your early shopping process.
I like to wrap the items as I get them. Especially the ones I know are for sure things. That way, I am not dealing with the rush of wrapping towards the end. Wrapping loses its fun when you have tons to do in one sitting. I also have to find space/places to hide gifts.
Take inventory to see if you need wrapping paper, tape, bows, etc. I usually have an idea of what I left off with last year. So it’s not too hard. I keep all wrapping supplies in clear bins in my garage.
Create a wrapping station
Gather all your supplies and place them together, so they are easy to find when you need to wrap gifts.
An easy wrapping station idea is to use an over door wrapping paper storage like this one.
Alright, now we have our budget set, gift idea list, shopping action plan, and wrapping station, all that will run on autopilot and repeat the system.
Buy a gift, write down the cost, wrap it and move on to the next present.
4. Unclutter your home
There is a lot to prepping your home for the holidays, which means getting rid of things. I follow a yearly decluttering plan to help me stay on task.
During the fall season, you can begin to declutter your holiday stuff before it gets too cold.
It’s also the perfect time to get rid of clothes you no longer wear, toys the kids have outgrown, and anything that may be lying around that no longer serves you.
With Christmas being a season of a massive influx of things. It’s important to make sure every season before that you remove items.
This is the time I tackle the kid’s toys and we get rid of a ton of items they don’t want. By using a bag for Santa method. I will be sharing a post on this soon.
Not removing items will lead to a lot of clutter. If you need some ideas on what to declutter, check out these posts.
- 7 tips will help minimize kid clutter in your home
- 35 Things that are making your home look cluttered
You will also want to clean out your kitchen cabinets and pantry of expired food.
It’s important to remember that there are specific elements when it comes to decorating your home so as not to feel overly stressed out. By making sure you keep these steps in mind ahead of time, you can be sure that things go off without any major bumps in the road and stay on track throughout the process.
My strategy when it comes to decorating our home is to buy one thing each year. But it also means that I am getting rid of something that has seen better days or maybe is broken every year. Since most retailers start to put up Christmas decorations right around October, I start looking for new decorations for the home.
I have yet to master the after-Christmas shopping sales from previous years. But I know some people like to shop right after Christmas to get discounts.
I store all my decorations in categorized bins. And label them, so I know exactly what is inside each bin.
I have a list of what we own and what I want to buy or maybe look at new inspiration in the store.
If you love to go all out to decorate your home, you can use a section of the binder to design your holiday decorations. Oh, the dreams I have of one day begin the coolest decorated home on the block.☺
Things you will need to write out the number of lights you may need, garland, stockings, and outdoor decorations.
And don’t forget to inspect your Christmas tree. We have a click connect tree and love it! it just snaps together and the lights are all on it. Time saver for sure!
6. Food/paper goods stock up
As the time nears Christmas and I start shopping for fall stuff, I also start to stock up on pantry items or paper goods I may need for the upcoming holiday. Think paper plates, napkins, canned goods, and all things related to having more people coming over.
Again end of summer BBQ sales, you should find paper goods on sale/clearance because the retail stores will be making room for Christmas decorated plates. But as long as the plates are plain or basic, why pay more for Christmas-colored paper plates.
Do you know what I mean? Unless you want a specific design. And even so. Even with paper plates, you can get fantastic charger plates from the dollar to make a stunning table.
When it comes to food, you can start baking early and make double batches.
I learned from my mother-in-law that you could start making baked goods early and freeze them, which is genius because she will have loads of stuff ready for whenever. She even taught me to freeze loaves of bread and other food items.
So baking can start whenever and then pull things out a day before. You can also begin to make freezer meals for the days your guest are over.
7. Prepping for guest
If you have guests who stay over, getting things ready is part of the holiday success. You want your guest to feel welcome.
In our guest room/office, I will get things ready for guests.
Prepping the guest room:
- Clean the guest room
- Prepare closet with extra blankets/pillows/hangers
- Provide a fan
- Get air room fresheners or provide an extra essential oil diffuser
- Wash linen and towels
- Provide a place to put their things or open closet area
- But travel size tolietry items and place them on a tray
- Add a night light or read light source
- Provide a small linen spray
- Provide empty hangers in your guest room
- Stock extra toliet paper and other products in your bathrooms
8. Clean & Refresh your home
Cleaning your home before the holiday will also mean rearranging replacing, or removing furniture, which is great because you can give those areas a good scrub during your rearranging process.
And if your home is feeling dingy check out this post to help.
Make sure to dust and deep clean high traffic areas. You may also want to change up your couch pillows. And a few blankets and candles to set the Christmas tone.
Get coasters out and check your table cloths, napkins, and place settings.
Refresh pillows that have lost their support or get new couch pillow covers to change up the look. Visit Home Goods or Ikea to find Take a look at your curtains and see if they are sun damaged and update them.
Do some of your carpets look a little old? It might be time to get a new area rug—all small tweaks to refresh your home.
Another fun idea is to update your family pictures.
9. Create/Order Christmas cards
Suppose you are a yearly Christmas card kind of person. You will want to schedule your photoshoot way in advance and start to think about what you want everyone to be in or where you want to take photos.
Suppose you are a DIY kind of person shopping for Christmas cards early to get a better selection. Get your address book together and verify addresses.
A great time to put all the Christmas cards together is right before Thanksgiving. Then after Thanksgiving, drop all the cards into the mail.
10. Tackle Home Maintenance
Christmas prep kind of also means winter prep. Get the maintenance done on your home scheduled and done. Make sure your fireplace has been appropriately cleared of ash or cleaned. Schedule your heating unit regular maintenance around October.
Check for drafts and do proper sealing checks around your home. You can even call your energy company to come to do a free evaluation on energy loss.
Go out and buy salt, firewood, and slip-resistant mats.
When should you start preparing for Christmas?
In September, you can begin to work on decluttering items or follow my decluttering plan.
When it comes to Christmas decorations for your home, you could start in October. Places like Hobby Lobby will already have things out. Sometimes some retailers will put things out in September.
Also, in October, you may want to tackle some of the home maintenance stuff as it won’t be too cold yet.
The goal is to work on things before the holiday stress begins.
After every Christmas each year, I always tell my husband I wish that Christmas day would last a little longer. I think it’s because all the prep for the perfect Christmas day is full of love. And when the day actually comes, I want to stop time. Just watch my kids in slow motion and soak it all in.
Christmas is about gathering, and it’s so much better with no stress by getting a jump on your preparations.
I hope you enjoyed the article about how to prep your home for Christmas. With the use of The Christmas Holiday Planner, I know that you can make the most of your holiday season. So what are you waiting for? Get some inspiration from these ten steps to massive holiday success and get started!