Best 2020 Christmas Preparation Checklist

THE COMPLETE CHRISTMAS CHECKLIST FOR AN ORGANIZED HOLIDAY 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 2020 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.

Download Christmas Checklist

2 OR MORE MONTHS BEFORE CHRISTMAS (October 20th - 31st)

  • Set a Budget: 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.
  • Create a Gift List: 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!
  • Start Your Gifting Research: 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.
  • Schedule the Family Photoshoot: 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 (November 6th)

  • Create a Holiday Calendar: Piece together a thorough holiday calendar for yourself so that you stay on track. To maximize efficiency, reference this calendar frequently. Be sure to list out any family dinners, school recitals, and work parties so you can have a good understanding of what days will be free to accomplish some of your important planning tasks. Minted has some beautiful calendars you can personalize with key dates!
  • Order Online Gifts: 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.
Letters of Joy Holiday Card

Letters of Joy by Jessica Maslyn

  • 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.
Shop Minted Christmas Cards
Winter Fest Holiday Card

Winter Fest by Megan Christensen


6 WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS (November 13th)

  • Finalize Christmas Day Plans: 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.
  • Create Your Christmas Card List: Begin making a list of who you want to send your Christmas cards to. Use Minted’s easy Address Collection service 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 (November 20th)

  • Audit Your Christmas Decorations/Supplies: 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.
  • Check Your Wrapping Paper: 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.
  • Order Your Holiday Cards: After you’ve perfected your Christmas card design, it’s time to place your order! 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, colorful envelope liners, 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 (November 27th)

  • Shop Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales: Once the Thanksgiving meal hangover has subsided, be sure to take advantage of the great sales that many companies launch during the following days 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.
  • Purchase a Few Extra Gifts: It’s always a good idea to buy some additional presents to have on hand. 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.
  • Stock up on Batteries: 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.
Presents under tree
  • Put International Gifts in the Mail: 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.
  • Communicate Christmas Party Details: 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 gettogether appropriately. Minted has some fun Christmas party invitations that can help relay your details in festive style.
  • 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.
Santa Flaus Holiday Cards

Santa Flaus by Baumbirdy


3 Weeks Before Christmas

  • Clean up the House: 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. 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.
  • Distribute Advent Calendars: 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.
  • Put up Decorations: Time to unbox those ornaments, lights, yard decorations, tinsel, and everything else you use to make your homestead look like a winter wonderland! You may want to skim through our collection of possible Christmas mantle themes.
  • Enjoy Some Christmas Activities: 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 at some popular Christmas activities for children and adults.
  • Plan the Christmas-day Photo: 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 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!
  • Mail Your Christmas Cards: By now you’ve probably 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 (December 11th)

  • Plan Your Christmas Eve & 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?
  • Share Hanukkah Blessings: This year, Hanukkah begins on Thursday, December 10th. Wish anyone you know who celebrates the holiday a happy Hanukkah.
  • Order Special Food Items: 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.
  • Display the Holiday Cards You Receive: Once you start receiving other people’s holiday cards, make a card 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 (December 18th)

  • Go On the Final Big Grocery Run: 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.
  • Hang the Stockings: 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.
  • Begin Cooking: Stick to your cooking timeline and cook the dishes that you can freeze. Don’t leave all of the cooking until Christmas Eve.

CHRISTMAS WEEK (December 21 - 25)

  • Wrap Your Gifts: It always 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 Christmas Playlist: Let everyone in the family contribute their favorite holiday tunes to the playlist, and keep it playing in your house.
  • Perform a Final House Inspection: 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 (December 24th)

  • Turn on the Christmas Movies: 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. If you don’t have a fireplace, it can be fun to turn to a fireplace channel on the TV.
  • Charge Your Camera and/or Video Camera: Make sure you don’t miss documenting any of the memorable holiday events.
  • Complete Any Christmas Eve Traditions: If you don’t have any, start a new one! For example, have each child in the family sign their name with the year on the back of a new ornament and then hang it on the Christmas tree.
  • Leave Out Cookies and Milk: Santa is going to be hungry!
  • Track Santa’s Whereabouts: Find an online Santa tracker for the children to watch throughout the night.
  • Display the Presents: Sneakily put all of the gifts under the tree after the children have gone to sleep.
Wrapped presents

CHRISTMAS DAY (December 25th)

  • Make Christmas Drinks: After waking up, make some drinks that remind you of Christmas, such as hot chocolate or peppermint mochas.
  • Open Presents!: This should be hard to forget!
  • Take Notes: 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 Saturday, 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.

Holiday Deer designed by Cass Loh

Holiday Deer by Cass Loh