This might seem like a strange post, coming from a self-proclaimed one holiday at a time girl. I swear I’m not rushing the holidays. I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving week in Atlanta with Kirk’s family, then visiting my family in Florida, so I’ll be squeezing plenty of thankfulness into a 5-day-period.
There will be no decorating or Christmas music in my house until the day after Thanksgiving. It makes it special that way.
This year, I’m simply planning early, so I can fully enjoy the Christmas season! There are a few things I do want to get started this month, to make sure it remains a joyous time (instead of a stressful time). And since I am planning, I thought you might be to.
Christmas Season Checklist
So today I wanted to share my personal checklist with you! This might be different than other lists you’ve seen. It’s a mix of things to buy, steps to decorate, and experiences to enjoy. A little bit of everything that makes this time so special to me.
1. Take Christmas Photos. This is usually what puts me behind schedule, so this year I’m going to have my pictures taken (or picked out) first thing!
2. Make a Christmas Wish List. Did you make a list for Santa when you were little? Why did you stop? Our family makes lists each year to share, so that everyone knows what you really want. I use the Amazon Universal Wish List, so I can add items from anywhere online. If you’re really good, you can continually add to this throughout the year!
3. Agree on Christmas Gift Budget. Before you start buying gifts, figure out what you’re going to spend this year. We set a budget for parents, siblings, brother/sister-in-laws, niece/nephew, and any friends we are exchanging with. This keeps you from going overboard and leading to post-Christmas debt. That is NOT a fun way to end the season.
4. Christmas Card List. Who makes the cut this year? If you make the list, you won’t buy too many cards – which means you might be able to get an even better card within your budget! Save this for next year and make your life easier.
5. Watch a Christmas movie. (or 5) I love going through the cheesy channels and setting DVR recordings for tons of Christmas movies. That gives me an endless supply to pull from! Check out ABC Family, Lifetime, & Hallmark for a wide variety to choose from.
6. Christmas Decorations. My collection grows every year, because this is my favorite holiday! Building your collection doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out Dollar Tree, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and Target — these have supplied most of my current stash (and I’ll be adding more each year!) These are all great for inexpensive decorating year-round!
7. Buy a few “just in case” gifts for the unexpected. Don’t you hate when someone gives you a gift and you have nothing in return? This year, grab a few extra gifts that you can use in a pinch.
8. Buy a Fresh Christmas Tree. This is a non-negotiable in our house. No fake trees. Only fresh, pokey, pine smelling, trees!
9. Make & Mail Christmas Cards. Since you already picked the family photo, now it’s time to turn that into your cards to share. I have seen lots of discounts this year on Groupon, so make sure to check there to save a few dollars.
10. Buy Christmas Gifts. Sticking to your budget of course. Hopefully the people on your list helped by making a list. If not, I have a few gift idea posts planned for early December to help you!
11. Buy Wrapping Paper. Pick up your wrapping supplies before the selection becomes scarce. If you’re going to be shipping gifts, you might consider getting those shipped directly to the recipient, already wrapped!
12. Mail out-of-town presents. If you’ve purchased gifts for out-of-town friends & family (and didn’t ship directly), make sure you drop those in the mail nice and early. Avoid the extra lines at the post office and check it off the list!
13. Enjoy a Holiday-themed drink. Whether you like to keep it virgin or spiked, there are tons of holiday drinks that look fun! Pick out one that sounds best and mix up a drink, maybe share it with a loved one?
14. Donate to a local charity. This can be as simple as taking unused clothes to Goodwill or coats to a homeless shelter. Or you can choose a charity you believe in. Or donate your time at a soup kitchen or similar. So many options, depending on what resources you have to offer. Give back this season!
15. Make Christmas treats for co-workers & neighbors. There are so many ideas floating around for DIY gift ideas that you can make to share. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and it doesn’t need to anything complicated. This is a great way to make new friends if you don’t know your neighbors.
16. Take a walk & enjoy decorations. Get a little exercise and enjoy the beautiful lights that most neighborhoods are covered in. If you want a little faster pace, you could turn this into a run. Get out and enjoy the sights!
17. Stocking Stuffers. Do you still fill Christmas stockings? We do in our house! It’s fun to find little treats to fill the socks, although it can add up in price. One trick is to check the Dollar Spot at Target for some steals.
18.Go Christmas Caroling. I can’t think of Christmas without thinking of songs. There are so many that I grew up singing or that you hear repeated on the radio in December. Take the music live by going Christmas Caroling with your own favorite songs. Or check out a local Christmas Concert – you’ll be surprised how many free or inexpensive ones are at local churches & schools.
19. Host or attend a Christmas/Holiday party. This is one of my favorite things each year. Whether I’m hosting or enjoying someone else’s hospitality, parties are part of the magic to me! Get dressed up and enjoy the spirit of Christmas with friends!
20. Wear a Santa Hat, just for fun! If you don’t smile AND cause others to smile while wearing a Santa hat out and about, I don’t know what will cause that smile. Seriously. Do it!
21. Plan Christmas Morning breakfast/brunch. This is a tradition my mom started and I love to continue. Having a special Christmas morning meal is something I love to do, but planning it ahead of time makes it much easier. A few ideas: german chocolate donuts, yogurt parfait, kale sausage balls.
22. Play in the snow! Now this might be tricky if you’re in a warm locale, but it’s a Christmas activity for me. Snow angels are extra credit!
23. Read the Christmas Story. Take a few minutes and read the story that started it all. It is the real reason for the season.
24. Make a mess with with wrapping paper as you open those presents!
One item for each of the official 24 days of Christmas, although now you have some extra time to take your time and really enjoy it!
Questions for you:
- What is on the top of your checklist?
- Real or fake tree?