9 Ways to Prepare in Advance For the Christmas Season

Want to be ahead of the game for next Christmas? In this blog post, I’ll share 9 practical ways to guide you in preparing in advance for the upcoming Christmas season.

Getting ready for the holiday season is a year-round effort that can make all the difference in creating a memorable and stress-free Christmas.

Whether you’re an early planner or someone who tends to leave things to the last minute, this blog post is here to provide you with the best tips and easiest ways to prepare and plan for Christmas time throughout the year.

chicken feeder filled with ornaments

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preparing for Christmas in advance: mercury glass bowl with ornaments and greenery

Between putting up holiday decorations, buying and wrapping presents, baking, holiday parties, and welcoming overnight guests, you can see how time can just fly by during the holiday season.

But there’s an easy way to get a head start so you can be present during the holiday festivities and enjoy being with your loved ones. Start preparing for the next Christmas season in advance, right after this one, or at least after New Year’s Day.

The moment the last ornament is packed away, and the Christmas lights are stored, is the best time to begin thinking about Christmas prep.

This is also a great time to look ahead to the next festive season. By beginning your preparations at the end of the current Christmas season, you’ll be that much closer to a stress-free season next year.

Here’s a breakdown of when to start your preparations throughout the year:

  • January: Reflect, set goals, and start a Christmas to-do list
  • February to April: Budget and savings
  • May to June: Work on DIY projects and crafts
  • July to September: Focus on gift wrapping and sales
  • October to November: Dive into decorating and meal planning
  • December: Last-minute preparations
preparing for Christmas in advance: 
Christmas décor and stockings on fireplace

Once the Christmas festivities are over, take the time to reflect and create a list of what worked well and what didn’t. This is your first step in holiday planning for the future. Here are some things to consider:

  • What activities did you spend most of your time on?
  • How much money did you spend?
  • Identify what worked and didn’t work.
  • Determine which events you want to continue participating in and which you’ll skip next year.
  • Decide on your holiday theme for the upcoming year.
  • List items you need to stock up on for the next season.
  • Would you change anything about the Christmas dinner menu?
  • Make a note of anything you want to buy for next year after seeing all that Christmas decor inspiration out there.
magnolia and dried orange wreath

When packing up your Christmas decorations, store similar items together and clearly label storage bins and boxes.

Take it a step further by organizing Christmas tree ornaments for specific trees together, making decorating next year a breeze.

Choose color themes for next year, separating neutral colors from bright decorations, and wrapping twinkle lights around food cans to prevent tangling.

Wrapping our smaller twinkle lights around food cans is a great way to keep them untangled. The bigger lights can wrap around a coffee or paint can. Untangling lights will be one less thing we have to do when unpacking the Christmas decorations next season.

Keep Organized With My Favorite Holiday Storage Items

Christmas tree decorated red and white ornaments

As you pack up your decorations this year, don’t keep hanging onto those items that you haven’t used in over a year or that look tired and worn.

Create three separate piles:

  • Items in good shape that you no longer use, which you can donate.
  • Decor that is fading or worn, which can be discarded.
  • Ornaments you don’t care for (or are unsure why you bought), which can be upcycled.

Be sure to add any items you need to replace to your Christmas Shopping List.

Shop My Holiday Home Decor Favorites

Shop my favorite online holiday home decor items from Christmas trees and stockings to candles and pillows.

Christmas tree in bright colors

While it may seem challenging, try to decide on the style and color themes you’d like to try next year.

Choosing a Christmas theme now can help you find great deals on ornaments, Christmas wreaths, gift wrap, ribbons, and more, as many stores clear out their holiday inventories.

preparing for Christmas in advance: gift wrapping supplies

Retailers need to offload their Christmas inventories as quickly as possible. This is a great opportunity to stock up on winter decorations, Christmas cards, and gift-wrapping supplies for next year while taking advantage of discounts. Try saving time with online shopping.

Christmas tablescape

Create a list that covers the following:

  • What you need for next year’s holiday decor
  • People you need to buy gifts for
  • The inspiration you’ve found this year on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs that you’d like to try
  • Cleaning schedules and guest room items you may need to purchase
  • Menus for parties and meals you will be hosting
  • Events you will be hosting or participating in, such as cookie exchanges and cocktail parties

Cross off items you’ve purchased or completed throughout the year so you don’t forget anything important. If you start buying holiday gifts early, keep them in one designated area to prevent them from getting lost.

preparing for Christmas in advance: 
 Christmas gifts wrapped

If you’re like many of us, you often run out of boxes to wrap presents in well before Christmas arrives. Be prepared for next Christmas with boxes in the size and shape you need, right when you need them.

This simple step can make a significant difference in your holiday preparations.

wrapped Christmas presents

As a young adult, I would wait until Christmas Eve to wrap presents. Talk about stress!

If you’ve already stocked up on your gift-wrapping supplies, wrap each gift as you purchase it throughout the year.

This will not only give you plenty of time to wrap your presents, but your gifts will be ready to go well in advance of Christmas Day.

You can always add embellishments like dried oranges, fresh greenery, and red berries closer to the big day.

snowflake ornament on tree

If you’ve come across an inspiring holiday project that you’d like to create for Christmas next year, why wait? This is a perfect way to prepare for Christmas in advance.

Starting early, during the winter season’s clean slate, can be a more enjoyable and less hectic way to go about it. Plus, your projects are likely to turn out even better with extra time for planning and execution.

Some of My Favorite DIY Holiday Projects

preparing for Christmas in advance: Santa face mug

A well-organized Christmas planner can be an invaluable tool in helping you prepare for the holiday season. Here’s a list of essential sections and elements to include in your Christmas planner:

  • Calendar and Timeline: a Christmas countdown with key dates for planning, such as when to start shopping, when to decorate, and when to send holiday cards and gifts to the post office for on-time delivery.
  • Budget Tracker: a detailed record of your Christmas budget, including spending categories like gifts, decorations, food, and travel expenses.
  • Gift List: list of who you plan to buy Christmas gifts for, along with gift ideas, budgets, and a checkbox to mark when the gift is purchased and wrapped. Include a section for gift recipients’ preferences, sizes, and wish lists.
  • Christmas To-Do List: lists for specific tasks, such as decorating the tree, cleaning the house, a family photo appointment, or preparing holiday meals. Prioritize tasks and set deadlines.
  • Shopping Lists: separate shopping lists for gifts, decorations, and groceries. Include space to list items, quantities, prices, and store locations. Note any coupons or discounts to use.
  • Decorations Inventory: descriptions, quantities, and condition of Christmas decorations. Note which decorations are stored in which containers or locations.
  • Meal Plan: plan Christmas menus, including appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Make a guest list for each event. Create grocery lists for the ingredients needed for each meal.
  • Recipe Collection: gather and organize your favorite baked goods and holiday recipes, noting any special ingredients or cooking instructions. Include a section for new recipes you’d like to try.
  • Holiday Card List: list of recipients for your Christmas cards, including names and addresses. Record whether you’ve sent or received cards from each person.
  • Entertainment and Activities: plan holiday-themed activities and friend and family gatherings. Include information about local events, movies, school events, or performances you’d like to attend.
  • Post-Christmas Evaluation: reserve a section to evaluate the past holiday season, noting what worked well and what you’d like to improve for the next year.

Preparing for Christmas involves a wide range of tasks for a smooth and joyful holiday season. Here’s a list of things that need to be prepared for Christmas:

  • Decorations: Christmas tree and ornaments | lights | wreaths, garlands, and tinsel | stockings and holders | Nativity scene | indoor and outdoor decorations
  • Gifts: Creating a list | Shopping for gifts | Wrapping presents | Organizing and storing gifts until Christmas | Making homemade gifts
  • Holiday Cards: Selecting or creating holiday cards | Compiling a list of recipients | Addressing and mailing cards
  • Meal Planning: Planning holiday menus | Shopping for groceries and special ingredients | Baking or cooking Christmas treats | Preparing and cooking holiday meals
  • Entertainment and Activities: Planning and scheduling holiday activities | Organizing and hosting parties or gatherings | Preparing games, music, and entertainment for guests
  • Home Cleaning and Maintenance: Deep cleaning and tidying up | Making any necessary home repairs
  • Outdoor Decorations: Setting up outdoor lights and decorations | Clearing pathways and driveways of snow or debris
  • Gift Wrapping Supplies: Gathering wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and tape | Setting up a gift-wrapping station
  • Guest Accommodations: Preparing guest rooms and accommodations if hosting visitors
  • Budgeting and Financial Planning: Creating and sticking to a holiday budget | Keeping track of expenses

Preparing for Christmas on a budget is not only possible but also a great way to enjoy the holiday season without the stress of overspending. Here are some tips to help you prepare for Christmas on a budget:

  • Create a Christmas budget
  • Make a gift list
  • Look for deals and discounts
  • Give DIY gifts and decorations
  • Shop early
  • Focus on sentimental and meaningful gifts rather than expensive ones
  • Plan your meals wisely

I hope you have found some ideas for preparing for Christmas in advance worth trying this year. Trust me, it will help you so much and will give you enough time to celebrate and enjoy your friends and family during the most wonderful time of the year.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Holiday Planning!

9 ways to be prepared for next Christmas

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  1. Wow these tips are fantastic Kim! I am definitely going to refer back to this through the year. My favorite tip is debriefing after Christmas, such a fantastic idea!!! Thank you for sharing these tips!

  2. Thank you for the amazing tips and I am going to do it this year; I’ve repacked bins so many times after Christmas but donating items I no longer use is a must do finally!

  3. I definitely need to just take stuff out of my bins to donate before I start packing away the things I used…so many out-of-date decorations squished in the bottom of my bins!!!

  4. I’m using lots of your helpful suggestions this year Kim! I have lots of things to donate and already have an idea of a theme for next Christmas. I’m patting myself on the back feeling like I’m already ahead! ?

  5. Kim, I love the idea of making a list. I am definitely going to do it today. You are absolutely correct about being smart about packing up and organizing your Christmas decorations. We struggle as it is but throwing everything into totes without organizing will be a nightmare for next year. A friend of mine found out the hard way one year. It just makes things so much smoother for the following year. You have lots of great tips here.

  6. Kim
    These are such great ideas. I wish I could decide on next years theme this year but I’m brain dead. Therefore I’ve stored way more than I need for next year. I’ll purge when I pull it out in Sept. wink wink. Lol.

  7. So many great ideas Kim. I love the idea of going through my decorations and donating some then making a list of things I need for next year. Pinning this to remember these great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love your 365 Christmas prep tips for the upcoming holidays. I go out after Christmas to search and buy gift wrap supplies, holiday decor items and potential presents that I think my family and friends will enjoy. This has really kept me from getting overwhelmed during the holidays. I wrap gifts starting in November. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    1. Thank you so much, Helen. It really does make such a difference in our stress levels during the holidays. And it gives you such a sense of accomplishment throughout the year when you check things off your list.

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