Best 2019 Christmas Preparation Checklist

The Complete Checklist for an Organized Christmas Season

Preparing for Christmas early is a savvy way of avoiding stress and chaos in the December holiday frenzy. It can be difficult to know exactly when you should start preparing and in what order you should complete tasks. If you are feeling stressed, spend a few minutes reading through our tips on how to beat holiday stress to put you back on the right track. Make the 2019 holiday season your most organized Christmas yet by planning ahead with this comprehensive Christmas preparation checklist. Starting two months in advance, this Christmas countdown checklist will teach you when to do everything from making Christmas cards to cooking Christmas Eve dinner.


2 or More Months Before Christmas

  • Foremost, make a holiday budget that you can commit to. When planning your budget, consider the prices of gifts, holiday cards, decorations, travel, and Christmas Day and Christmas Eve meals. Looking at prices online is an easy way of gauging how much everything will cost.
  • Start thinking about gifts. Make a list of everyone you want to purchase gifts for, and then brainstorm ideas for each person. Planning your gifts ahead will help ensure that you have enough gifts for every person. Thinking about gifts far in advance is also important in case you need to buy something early, such as tickets to a popular play or sports game. Don’t forget that practical gifts – such as soaps, spices, books, or phone stands – are appreciated just as much as fun gifts. Also consider educational gifts, such as books, especially for children. We have some great ideas on Secret Santa gifts too!
  • If you are struggling to think of gifts for someone, reach out to them or to their friends to see what they’re interested in. If you need gift inspiration for any children, ask them to write a gift wishlist for Santa Claus.
  • Do you want to use a family photo for your holiday card, but don’t have any recent ones? Find a time to get everyone together to take a family picture.
Child holding presents

7 Weeks Before Christmas

  • Create a thorough holiday calendar for yourself so that you stay on track. To maximize efficiency, reference this calendar frequently.
  • Get ahead of the game and begin ordering presents that must be purchased online. They may take a long time to arrive, so the sooner you order, the better.
  • Start planning your Christmas card. Have you recently been married, had a baby, or moved into a new home? If so, you might want to select a Christmas card that announces that milestone. Whether you do that or not, you should next consider what kind of Christmas card you want. Are you looking for an elegant and classic 5” X 7” card, an innovative and trendy Booklette™, or a savvy and stylish postcard? The Minted Holiday Card Guide describes all these kinds and more so that you can find your perfect Christmas card. Whether you want something simple and minimalist, modern and edgy, or vintage and luxurious, there will be a card for you.
  • Have you chosen a family photo, but don’t know which design it would look best on? Take advantage of Minted’s Text Us Your Photo service to help you decide. First, text your photo and answer a few short questions. Then a Minted stylist will text you back previews of your photo on five selected card designs.
Letters of Joy Holiday Card

Letters of Joy by Jessica Maslyn


6 Weeks Before Christmas

  • Decide who among your family/friends is going to host Christmas. If you’re not hosting, prepare for Christmas by buying a ticket as soon as possible if travel is required to get to your host. Make any other travel arrangements you’ll need as well. If you are hosting, start planning the guest list. If there’s any chance guests will be staying in your home, plan where they’ll stay and see if you need to do anything else to accommodate them.
  • Begin making a list of who you want to send your Christmas cards to. Use Minted’s easy Address Collection to gather your contacts’ addresses and put them on an online address book. Minted’s Free Recipient Address Printing in combination with their Address Collection Service will make mailing your Christmas cards much less time consuming when the time arrives.
Stockings

5 Weeks Before Christmas

  • You may be planning to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving. If so, check your stowed away boxes to see what Christmas supplies you already have from last year. Additionally see if you need anything for your home, especially if you’re the host. Write down everything you need. You might also want to pick something up just for fun, such as holiday themed napkins.
  • In addition, do a wrapping paper inventory check. The last thing you want is to be short on wrapping paper in the middle of wrapping gifts! If you need more wrapping paper or just want some new designs, consider getting a mix of anything from classic Christmas wrapping paper to customizable wrapping paper of your family photos.
  • After you’ve perfected your Christmas card design, order your cards! Make sure to order a few extras just in case. You may even want to keep a couple copies for yourself. Don’t forget to buy accessories for your Christmas cards to elevate their look. Wax seals, ribbon, customized stamps, and return address labels are perfect tools to uplift your Christmas card’s elegance.
Wrapping paper and other wrapping supplies

Twigs & Branches by Blustery August


4 Weeks Before Christmas

  • When the time arrives, take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to purchase gifts for your friends and family. Be mindful of your budget and keep your gift lists on hand. In addition to gifts and holiday supplies, you may consider buying other things like Christmas decorations, gingerbread house making kits, or advent calendars.
  • It’s a good idea to buy some extra gifts as well. It never hurts to have an extra bottle of wine or a box of chocolates to give to someone who unexpectedly shows up, or to someone you don’t have as many gifts for.
  • One of the most commonly forgotten, yet one of the most versatile, items for Christmas is batteries. It may be beneficial to purchase some spare batteries, even if you’re positive you don’t need them – you may end up saving the day for somebody else.
  • Once you have all of your purchases, mail any gifts to overseas friends and family who live abroad, as it might take a long time to send.
  • If you are the host of the Christmas festivities this year, give your guests a plan. Include when they should arrive, what they should wear, and what they should bring. The sooner you communicate this to your guests, the sooner you’ll know if anyone has to arrive late, change plans, or cancel. Knowing this information will help you plan for your holiday get together appropriately.
  • Buy a Christmas tree! Turn this into a fun family event by going on an excursion to pick the tree as a group. Then, decorate the tree with your friends and family, using your old ornaments as well as any new ones you may have purchased.
Presents under tree

3 Weeks Before Christmas

  • At the beginning of December, clean your home. Cleaning early will prepare you for a much more organized Christmas week. Try to keep everything clean until Christmas.
  • Pass out the advent calendars on the first day of December. This is a great way to get everyone into the holiday spirit, especially because it’ll last every day until Christmas. If you have other holiday traditions that begin in December, start those as well. This might include The Elf on the Shelf or reading your children a different Christmas story every night.
  • Don’t forget to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Throw out old or expired items from Thanksgiving, and take it as an opportunity to reset before New Year.
  • Put up your holiday decorations to create a holiday ambiance.
  • Do holiday themed activities with your kids to ease their Christmas excitement, such as making gingerbread houses or decorating cookies with red and green frosting. Take a look through some popular Christmas activities for children and adults.
  • If you are planning on taking family photos on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, make sure everyone has something to wear. If you plan on using old clothing, make sure it’s clean and it still fits. If you need inspiration, here are some ideas for family Christmas photo ideas:
    • Matching pajamas
    • Ugly (or regular) Christmas sweaters
    • Classic, dressy outfits
    • Casual outfits, in a red and green color scheme
    • Plain outfits, with Santa hats
    • Dress up your pets in something festive!
  • By now you’ve received your Christmas cards in the mail, and it’s time to send them. If you use Minted’s Free Recipient Address service, all you have to do is stuff your cards and mail them. Otherwise, make sure to make an envelope for every person on your list before putting the cards in the mail.
Presents under tree

2 Weeks Before Christmas

  • Plan your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus. Make sure to accommodate for the dietary restrictions of everyone you’ll be serving. Consider what dishes your family members like and dislike. When you’re finished, run the tentative menu by one or two people to see if they have any suggestions before finalizing it.
  • After doing this, make a cooking timeline. Which items can you cook a few days in advance and freeze, and which must wait until the day of?
  • Some stores require you to order a fresh turkey or ham up to 10 days in advance. If you want to cook one of those things, check with your local grocery store to see how and when you can place this order.
  • Once you start receiving other people’s Christmas cards, make a display out of them! Here are some ideas:
    • Use ribbon and clips to tastefully display them on your cabinets
    • Hang them to string lights around your home
    • Use magnets to attach them to your fridge
    • Pin them onto a pinboard
    • Clip them onto the Christmas tree
Wall with art prints

Week Before Christmas

  • Go grocery shopping at the end of this week or the beginning of the next one. You’ll want to buy your perishable groceries about 3 to 4 days in advance. While you’re at the grocery store, take off some of your stress by buying pre-made treats – like unfrosted gingerbread cookies – that can be frozen until Christmas.
  • Put up a stocking for everyone in your home. You can add items to them now or wait until Christmas Eve, depending on your preference.
  • Stick to your cooking timeline and cook the dishes that you can freeze. Don’t leave all of the cooking until Christmas Eve.
Kids frosting cupcakes

Christmas Week

  • Begin wrapping your gifts – it takes longer than you anticipate. This is a seemingly easy task, but you’ll be glad you didn’t wait until Christmas Eve.
  • Make a playlist with your favorite holiday tunes, and keep it playing in your house.
  • This year, Hanukkah begins on Sunday, December 22. Wish anyone you know who celebrates the holiday a happy Hanukkah.
  • If you’re hosting, do a final check of your home. Check if there’s anything else you need to do to make sure your place ready for guests.
Stockings

Christmas Eve

  • As you approach the end of your Christmas countdown, have a Christmas movie marathon! Christmas movies are jolly, family friendly, and are great for setting the holiday mood.
  • If you have a fireplace, light a fire. Crackling fires are aesthetically pleasing, warm, and will fill your home with a Christmas smell.
  • Charge your camera and/or video camera if you plan on recording parts of Christmas Day.
  • Do any Christmas Eve traditions you might have, or start a new one. For example, have each child in the family sign their name with the year on the back of a new ornement and then hang it on the Christmas tree.
  • Leave out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus.
  • Find an online Santa tracker for the children to watch throughout the night.
  • Sneakily put all of the gifts under the tree after the children have gone to sleep.
Wrapped presents

Christmas Day

  • After waking up, make some drinks that remind you of Christmas, such as hot chocolate or peppermint mochas.
  • Open all your presents!
  • Complete any other Christmas traditions you have.
  • Remind everyone to make a list of what they received and from whom so that they can write thank you cards.
Stockings

After Christmas

After many weeks of following this Christmas preparation checklist, you will have successfully finished your most organized Christmas ever. Before throwing in the towel, don’t forget about these last things.

  • Enjoy all of the leftovers to minimize food waste.
  • This year, Kwanzaa begins on Thursday, December 26. Give holiday wishes to anyone you know who celebrates.
  • Now that your children have many new gifts, help them pick out a few things they’ve outgrown. After helping them, pick out a few things for yourself that you no longer need, and donate all of these items to charity.
  • Carefully put away all of your Christmas decorations and unused wrapping paper or supplies to save for next year.
  • Recycle wrapping paper that was torn apart. You can also save and reuse gift bags for next year.
  • Dispose of your Christmas tree.
  • Write thank you cards to everyone who gave you a gift! If you have children, make sure they do this as well.
  • What should you do with all of the beautiful Christmas cards you’ve received from your friends and family? Are you tight on storage space, but can’t bear to throw them away? One option is to make crafts out of the Christmas cards. You can make them into bookmarks, gift tags, or even ornaments for next year.

Whether you’re having an intimate Christmas gathering or a huge Christmas party, this Christmas countdown checklist will ensure that you remember everything you need for a successful holiday season. Although the end of the year can feel rushed and stressful, staying organized and sticking to this list will make the months go by as smoothly as possible. Don’t forget to have fun with your Christmas activities and enjoy being around the people you love.

Download Christmas Checklist