how to get ready for Christmas early

How to Get Ready For Christmas {clever ideas to help reduce stress around the holidays}

Getting ready for Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful!  In fact, it should be fun!  The earlier you start, the less stress there will be around the holidays, which equals more time to have fun with your family and friends!

No matter where you are in your Christmas preparations…whether you just thought of it and it’s December 15, or you’re dreaming of the holidays in March, this guide will help you along the way!

You can start anywhere, but I recommend reading the whole way through regardless of what time of year you’re stopping by this post!  It’ll really help you prepare for Christmas at any time.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission when you make a purchase through one of these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, check out my disclosure.

how to get ready for Christmas early

How to Prepare for Christmas All Year

Let’s start this off by saying no, you don’t have to prepare for Christmas all year.  But there are some things that you can and probably should at least keep in the back of your mind throughout the year! 

When should you start getting ready for Christmas?

You should start getting ready for Christmas at different times of year for different things!

First, I would think about your holiday budget year round.  I also find it helpful to think about gifts year round.

Let’s tackle the holiday budget first!

Here are a few quick ideas for things to think about regarding your Christmas budget:

  • How much total do I feel comfortable spending on gifts this year?
  • How many people am I going to buy gifts for?
  • Am I hosting any parties?  What’s my target budget per party?
  • Do I need to get any new decorations for the house (indoor & outdoor)?
  • How much should I budget for a new Christmas tree (especially if you buy a live tree every year, or need to replace your artificial tree)?

I don’t think it’s ever too early to start thinking about your holiday budget.  Whether you actually host a party or not, it’s good to think about the finances of it before committing to it.

It’s also a good idea to think about how you can save some extra cash for Christmas, so you don’t get stressed financially around the holidays!  Holidays can sometimes be stressful enough, so here are a few ideas of how you can save some extra money year-round for Christmas:

Ibotta

If you’re already using Ibotta, check out my tips for getting more savings from Ibotta.

Whatever you do…DO NOT FORGET TO SHOP THROUGH IBOTTA FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFTS!  That will give you extra savings for NEXT year!

If you don’t already use Ibotta, you really, really need to.  The short version of this is that you get rebates, or cash back, on purchases you make through the app and at grocery stores. 

Here’s a guide of how to use Ibotta, and while it’s targeted just for grocery shopping, if you use it for just that throughout the year you can get some good cash back to use for the holidays!  After you’ve signed up for Ibotta, check out these tips for getting more savings.

Seriously.  If you don’t use Ibotta, you’re leaving money behind! Sign up here.

Survey Junkie

One of my favorite survey sites for getting extra cash! I try to take a survey every night before bed, on my lunch break at work, etc. Sign up for Survey Junkie here.

Rakuten

Rakuten is especially good for doing any online shopping throughout the year, and it’s similar to Ibotta in the sense that you get rebates or cash back.  When you add the Rakuten extension to your browser, it’ll automatically pop up and tell you what percent cash back you can get from that site. 

Always, ALWAYS activate it. Even if you don’t think you’re going to buy something, just in case!

When you sign up through this link, you’ll receive a $10 credit after you spend your first $25 shopping your favorite online stores through Rakuten!

Cash back credit cards

I’m not going to talk to you about how to manage your credit cards in this post, but if you have a cash back credit card and you pay off your balance every month, you can save that cash back for the holidays!

We pay our balance each month and we let the cash build up throughout the year.  Then, around the holidays, we put our gifts on that card and apply the cash back to the balance.

While I’m not going to recommend credit cards here, I suggest that you ALWAYS pay off your balance every month when possible, and to find the best credit card option for you check out NerdWallet. 

Don’t forget to get your Holiday Planner! 37 planning pages you can print out for an organized holiday season! There is an optional Thanksgiving Planner with 20 additional pages. Check them both out here!

Is it too early to think about Christmas?

Whenever you’re reading this, it probably is NOT too early to think about Christmas!

I know how it feels when you have’t even gotten to Halloween and there are already Thanksgiving decorations out at all the stores.  It can be really annoying and frustrating.

But when we’re talking about if it’s too early to think about Christmas, we’re not saying “hey it’s June go put your lights up!” 

I think it’s appropriate to start thinking about your Christmas budget in January.  Yep, I said it, JANUARY!

how to get ready for Christmas early this year!

That’s because the holiday season has just passed, and you can evaluate how much you spent, how you might do things differently, if your plans worked out, etc.

I also think it’s good to think of gift ideas throughout the entire year.  I keep a note on my phone for gift ideas – and this also applies to birthday and anniversary gifts, too!  I absolutely hate getting to a week before a holiday or birthday and scrambling to figure out an idea.

In addition to the note on my phone, I keep a page in my planner where I can write down ideas as well!

What should I do to get ready for Christmas?

Getting ready for Christmas depends on what kinds of activities you’ll be doing.  Whether it’s planning your calendar of events, hosting, budgeting, or getting decorations ready, as you can see, there are quite a few things to do!

The following is a list of things you need to do to get ready for Christmas, but if you’d like it in a handy checklist form, you can get it as a printable too!

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  • Budget

    Like I mentioned above, there are plenty of things to think about when you’re getting your holiday budget in order!  Here are some examples:
    • Gifts to buy
      Who do you need to buy gifts for? Family, friends, co-workers, etc. Do you attend a party where a gift isn’t expected, but you’d like to give the host or hostess a bottle of wine? Keep all of this in mind!
    • Parties you’re hosting
      Start thinking about how much you’re going to spend on food, beverages, any additional decorations, etc. How may people will you be expecting in attendance? All of this should go into your hosting budget!
    • Travel arrangements
      Do you need to travel farther that requires airfare? If you’re driving, how much should you budget for gas? Make sure to think about lodging, too!
    • Charitable donations
  • Decorations
    Both indoor and outdoor decorations – think about what needs to be replaced, or if you want to add some this year!
  • Christmas Tree
    Will you get a live one, or do you have an artificial tree? Do you need a new artificial tree? Do you need more ornaments?
  • Christmas Cards
    Start thinking about your ideas for cards now. Do you need to book a photographer? Are you going to do a collage of photos from throughout the year? Who are you going to send the cards to? Make a list!

How to get your house ready for Christmas

How do i get my house ready for the holidays – here are some things to consider when thinking of how to prepare your house for Christmas:

Space for hiding gifts. Also where’s the best place to set up a gift wrapping station?

Decluttering

The holiday seasons is a GREAT time to declutter. Especially with kids clothes and toys.

Grab your FREE printable 30 day declutter calendar here!

You can use this as a 30 day challenge and go through it day by day, or you can use it as inspiration for things to do in your downtime!

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A Cleaning Schedule

You don’t need to do a huge deep clean (you can if you want to, and here’s a helpful workbook that includes a master cleaning list!), but if you’re hosting you probably will want to make sure the common areas where people will be hanging out is clean and organized!

You might also want to take this time to clear out your fridge and pantry.  Make space by going through all the items and tossing anything expired.  This might also be a good time to take an inventory so you’ll be organized!  Check out this post to see how a pantry inventory can also help you save money!

Whether you opt for a deep clean of the house, or just decide to clean up the common areas, make sure to get the guest room ready if you plan to have overnight guests during the holiday season!

Seasonal Smells

Grab some candles, reed diffusers, wax melts, whatever your preference is!  We use an artificial tree, so we put a Christmas tree scented candle in the living room!

Decorations

Indoor, outdoor, make sure you think of both!

You don’t have to go super crazy, and even just putting up the tree can get you in the Christmas spirit (although, I wouldn’t do this much before Thanksgiving)!

Make a plan for decorating outside. I’ve learned this is really the best way to be prepared and get decorating done quickly…which is especially nice if you live somewhere that is pretty cold or has unpredictable weather (like me).

Don’t forget to get your Holiday Planner! 37 planning pages you can print out for an organized holiday season! There is an optional Thanksgiving Planner with 20 additional pages. Check them both out here!

Speaking of decorations…

Do you need new storage for your holiday items?

If you have been putting your artificial tree in the box it came in, and that box is starting to get a little ratty, then it might be time to get a new home for your tree the rest of the year.

Are your ornaments in a hodge podge mess?

Grab yourself an ornament organizer and toss out or repurpose your old system.  When you put everything away, use the new one!

How do you keep your house clean for christmas?

Another question I see a lot is: how do you keep your house clean for Christmas? 

Well, this is another thing you can implement year round with a good cleaning schedule!  But, if you’re reading this in December, you need an answer now.

First, I’d start by cleaning all the common areas.  Once everything is clean and put back in it’s place, then you can start working on keeping it that way.

To keep it clean after you’ve put in all that hard work, you should start implementing daily tasks. 

These can be just small things like picking up 5 items and putting them away every night before bed, clearing off the dining room table (that one is for me, I like to blog in the dining room and I can make quite a mess), having a dish-free sink every night, putting everything away out of the dishwasher, etc.

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Try to come up with 2-3 SMALL things you can do each day to help keep your space clutter free.

If you’re living in a house with pets, you definitely need to check out these tips for managing pet hair.  The last thing you need is a clump of dog or cat hair rolling through the room like a tumbleweed in the wild wild west when you have company over.

If you’re looking for a way to create a new cleaning schedule or routine, check out The Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Home Workbook.  In it you’ll find a master cleaning list, and blank schedules so you can fill in what to clean when, and finally make a cleaning routine that works for you!  Grab your printable workbook here!

how to prepare for Christmas

How can I make Christmas more fun?

There are tons of ways to make Christmas more fun! 

You can start by creating your own Christmas or winter bucket list! Here are some ideas for your bucket list:

  • Make a list of movies to watch.  Here are some of the favorites in our house:
    • Elf
    • Christmas Vacation
    • Polar Express
    • The Grinch
    • Home Alone
  • Donate toys to children in need or a children’s hospital
  • Go see holiday lights displays!  Grab this FREE printable Christmas Lights Scavenger hunt.  Use it as it is, or add more challenging things as the years go on!
  • Ice skating
  • Cut down your own Christmas tree
  • Host or attend a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party
  • Plan a white elephant gift exchange
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies
  • Volunteer

Another way to make Christmas more fun is to see if you can start some new traditions! 

Is there a holiday tradition you’ve heard one of your friends or coworkers talk about? 

Is there something you’re already doing that could use a little revamp? 

Brainstorm some ideas with your partner and/or family and see how you can turn something ordinary into something special!

How Can I Prepare for Christmas in November?

If you’re here because you feel down to the wire with things to do, here’s a quick checklist of what you can do to start preparing in November:

  • Clean up the house.  Common areas, guest rooms, etc.  This helpful cleaning guide will get you started.
  • Make a plan to keep the house clean and clutter free.
  • Put up your tree and decorate it!
  • Decorate outside.
  • Add any additional indoor decorations.
  • Make lists of who you need to buy gifts for.
  • Make an idea list of what you want to get people.  If you don’t have a solid idea for someone, note their interests, hobbies, clothing sizes, etc.
  • Make a budget!  Budget for gifts, events, travel, etc.
  • Use any cash back from your apps (like Ibotta) to help offset gift costs.
  • Make sure you use your cash back apps like Ibotta and Rakuten when you’re buying gifts!
  • Make lists of parties and events you’re attending.
  • Make a list of events you’re hosting.
  • Make a list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you’re on the hunt for.  When the deals come out, make an action plan so you can spend your time wisely and get all the deals you have been waiting for!
  • Plan holiday meals – you don’t want to scramble last minute trying to figure out the perfect appetizer!
  • Make travel plans, if necessary.
  • Make Christmas cookies and do all of your holiday baking in advance, if possible. A lot of food bloggers (i.e. recipes you find on Pinterest) will give you tips for how to freeze everything!
  • Make a list of people you’re sending Christmas cards to…and keep a list of those who sent cards to you.
  • Order Christmas cards, buy appropriate postage.  Get a few extra cards, too!  I like to keep one from every year, and the other extras can be sent out to someone who sends us a card (if we haven’t sent them one already)
  • Start getting your stocking stuffers ready!
  • Start preparing and making any DIY gifts you plan to give this year.  If you want to read all about my saga of doing an iron-on transfer, check out this post about how to clean your iron.  It’ll also help you if you do any iron-on crafting!  I tested and found the best ways to clean your iron, so you don’t have to.

I think with all of that, you should have a good handle on things by December 1st!  

Let me know in the comments how you get ready for Christmas!

Don’t forget to get your Holiday Planner! 37 planning pages you can print out for an organized holiday season! There is an optional Thanksgiving Planner with 20 additional pages. Check them both out here!

Get ready for the holidays early this year!

How to get ready for Christmas

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