It’s that time of year! Time to make a list and check it twice. Christmas organization is all about preparing ahead of time so you can enjoy the holiday activities as they come.
How do you prepare for Christmas? There are so many things to keep track of. It’s exhausting and, quite frankly, like cramming too much into not enough time. But with a bit of planning and a super-helpful planner, you’ll rock this Christmas without breaking a sweat.
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The Only Christmas Organization Guide You Need
Some people make it look so easy, don’t they? From the perfectly-posed matching Christmas PJ pictures to the effortless holiday parties and DIY gifts – how do they do it all?
This Christmas organization guide will help you sort through all your holiday to-do lists, and create a plan to get it all done.
Table of contents
- Christmas Organization Planner
- Set Holiday Goals
- Set a Budget
- Organize the Gifts
- Set Up a Gift-Wrapping Station
- Streamline Your Christmas Cards
- Use this Christmas Planning Checklist
- Plan the Christmas Menu
- Plan Your Baking
- Organize Your Christmas Schedule
- Plan Holiday Travel
- Frequent Christmas Questions
Print and use our Christmas organization planner
Download and print our Christmas organization planner. It comes with checklists, a calendar, budget planner, and more! Everything you are reading about in this guide has a printable component in the planner.
After you print out the Christmas Planner, save the pages on a clipboard, put them in a folder or a 3-ring binder so you can keep everything contained in one place.
Here are some tips and tricks to go along with this helpful and essential Christmas planner.
Set Holiday Goals
The first thing you need to do before doing anything else is to establish what your values and goals are during the holidays. Write them down. Prioritize these goals above all the other distractions that will pull you in different directions this month.
There are four main types of goals you need to set.
Set goals for how you want to feel over the next month. Examples of emotional goals include:
- Do one thing that makes you happy each day
- Dedicate 1 hour of “me time” each week for mental health
- Reach out for help when you need it
- Set boundaries with toxic people
- Pay attention to stress triggers and practice grounding when you need it
Setting financial goals is more than setting a budget. Financial goals can include other things such as:
- Give to a charity
- Stick to a budget
- Avoid impulse buys
- Only buy things that are on sale
- Support small businesses
This is kind of a catch-all category. Practical goals are things you know you can and will meet. Make this a place you write down things that are possible to do so you can stay in control.
List the things that are the most important to you this year. You could also call this a Christmas bucket list.
Some practical goals might be:
- Hand out cookies to the neighbors
- Watch a Christmas movie as a family
- Go ice skating
- Buy matching pajamas as a family
Things to let go
This is perhaps one of the most important goal categories. Let go of emotional stress, anxiety, basically anything that hurts your heart. It’s nearly impossible to enjoy the magic and love of Christmas when you are letting negativity overshadow it.
These goals could look like this:
- Stand up for yourself
- Let go of bitterness and choose forgiveness
- Don’t overbook or overextend yourself
- Stop living up to an unrealistic standards or ideals
Set a budget
Do not overspend this Christmas. Setting a budget doesn’t mean you are a Scrooge or less generous. It means you are able to spend money within your means.
In fact, setting a budget could make it so you have more money to spend than you realized.
Set Spending Limits per person
First, look at your bank account and credit cards and decide the total amount you are going to spend on gifts his year.
Then, write down who you need to buy gifts for. Include teachers, co-workers, and extended family members on this list.
Now you can prioritize how much to spend on each person.
Start out with a really large budget. Make it a higher number than you think you want to spend. This way it gives you some wiggle room. If you don’t spend all of it, you actually have more money in the bank!
Sell things for extra cash
This is the perfect time to go through your closet and see if there is anything you can sell online for a little extra money.
Use Rebate apps
Another way to pad your budget is always to shop through rebate apps. You can use discounts and coupons on them and still earn cashback. Some of the best ones are:
- Rakuten – Formerly known as EBates, you can earn cashback from over 2,500 retailers
- Ibotta – Just scan your receipt and watch the savings pile up.
- Drop App – This works automatically when you shop at a pre-selected retailer and connect your credit or debit card.
- Shopkick – Earn money by scanning products at the store, you don’t even have to buy them.
Organize the gifts you have to buy
Now that you know how much you have to spend, keep track of what you bought. Have you ever felt the panic of realizing the day of the office party that you don’t have a gift to bring? Avoid the panic with a little preparation.
We have a printable gift list in our Christmas planner. Write down everyone that needs a gift and keep track of what you buy them.
This method also helps you compare gifts for all your children, so you can make sure they all have an equal share.
Don’t overlook the bliss of gift cards! If your sister loves shopping at Ulta, trying to buy her a color palette or lipstick could end very awkwardly. But a gift card? Now that’s giving her free money and telling her that you know where her favorite store is.
Set Up a Christmas Gift-Wrapping Station
After you buy the gifts, save yourself time by wrapping them as you go. The best way to do this is to create a gift-wrapping station somewhere in your house.
To do this, all you need is a table and a hanging gift wrap organizer. Store all the tubes of gift wrap, bags, tags, scissors, and tape in one place.
Once you have a place where you are going to wrap the gifts, take an inventory of everything you own and buy anything else you need.
Have a Gift Wrapping Party
If you would rather knock all the gift wrapping out in one night, invite your friends over for a gift wrapping party. Serve up some wine and snacks and put on your favorite Christmas music.
Plus you all can share your gift-wrapping tricks with each other. It’s always fun learning new ways to tie bows and decorate gift bags.
Keep gifts separated in Totes
As you wrap gifts, keep them separated in boxes or plastic totes. Putting them in totes will save you time when you need to pack them up and take them to the Christmas party or get-together.
Streamline Your Christmas Cards
Turn Christmas cards from a chore to a simple and fun activity. In fact, with a few changes, they practically mail themselves.
Print Address labels and print stamps ahead of time
Save time by printing out address labels – both return address labels and a list of people you are mailing – ahead of time.
Take my word for it, printing out address labels will save you hours of addressing stacks of Christmas card envelopes. What will you do with all that time?
Buy more stamps than you think you need so you don’t have to run to the post office.
Stamps.com is another time-saving solution. You can print stamps out right at home.
Choose a service that mails your cards for you
Of course, you can also just buy your Christmas cards from a service that mails them to your entire list for you. Click, click, pay, done! Christmas cards are mailed!
These are the most popular places that offer this mailing service.
Christmas planning checklist
The best thing you can do this time of year is to take it one day at a time. In our Christmas Planner, you’ll find a week-by-week checklist with the most important things to accomplish listed out for you.
Here is what you should accomplish each week. This will help you get it all done without stressing out.
First week of december
This week is all about planning and preparing for the craziness ahead.
- Mail Christmas cards
- Decorate your house
- Ask everyone to make Christmas wish lists
- Make a budget
- Plan the menu
- Buy the turkey or ham
Second week of December
This week you can start doing as much as possible ahead of time.
- Buy all presents
- Mail out-of-town gifts
- Pre-make desserts you can freeze
- Donate unused items
- Sell items for extra cash
Week before Christmas
It’s almost here! This week is when you prepare and get your home ready for the big day.
- Clean out your refrigerator
- Deep clean your house
- Wrap the gifts
- Buy batteries for gifts that need it
- Go grocery shopping
- Prepare the table with place settings
Now it’s time for those last-minute tasks. All your planning and preparing is about to pay off.
- Finish cooking and baking
- Finalize plans with family and friends
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Wrap any last-minute gifts
It’s here! The big day you’ve been working for. The only things on your list should be accepting help and trying to soak up the time with your family.
Day after christmas
Take these days after the holiday to shop the sales and get your home back in order.
- Buy decorations and gifts at the sales
- Clean the house
- Put away the gifts
Plan the Christmas menu
How much cooking and baking are you going to do this year? This is one area you can cut back on if it causes too much stress and work. Ask people to bring side dishes or buy pre-made sides.
You’ll know what to delegate after you plan it out.
- Write down the meals you need to make and the food you have to cook for each meal.
- Make a grocery list
- Delegate meals to others
Next, organize all the Christmas baking you want to do. How many different types of cookies do you want to make? Who’s it for?
Create a separate grocery list for all the baking you have to do and make sure you have all your ingredients before you start all the baking.
Don’t forget to buy containers for your treats. You can even buy plastic containers with cute Christmas designs on them.
Organize Your Christmas Schedule
It’s just as important to organize your Christmas schedule as it is to organize your menu. Avoid needing to be at two places at one time. Track everything with a paper planner or a phone app.
This is a fantastic time to set up a command center if you don’t have one already. You’ll appreciate how easy it is to keep track of everything when it’s all in one place.
Cozi app lets you and your family members all use the same calendar from their own devices so you can all see who has plans on what days. It will even send reminders to family members about upcoming parties or appointments.
Christmas Organization – Planning Travel
The final part of effective Christmas organization is planning your holiday travel. There are a few things you can do to make this entire hassle a little easier.
- Double-check the weather and avoid traveling in dangerous weather.
- Create a packing list ahead of time.
- Buy presents online and have them shipped to your destination ahead of you, if possible, then wrap them when you get there.
- Double-check flights for delays.
- Organize travel documents like hotel names and reservation numbers, rental car numbers, plane tickets.
Christmas Organization Will Save You Time
It might seem like a lot of extra work, but I promise you, getting organized before Christmas will save you stress and anxiety. When you plan and prepare, you avoid last-minute surprises. Plus, you’ll be better able to respond to requests for your time if you know how much you have to give.
Create new memories with your family this year. Plan everything out in your Clutter Keeper Holiday Planner and then take time to enjoy the people that make it worth it.
Struggling to get motivated? Sign up to get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!
More Holiday Organization Help
As you plan out more holidays, here are some more tricks and tips to make your life way easier.
- Holiday Organization Your Complete Guide
- How to Organize and Plan Holiday Parties
- 7 Time-Saving Tips for the Holidays
Your Christmas Questions, Answered!
Pies can be frozen up to 3 months in advance. They will taste better if you bake them sooner, however.
Use an online program like Elfster to plan gift exchanges. It even assigns a secret Santa and links you to their wish list.
Christmas decorations should be put away a few days after the last Christmas party. If you are still having a party in January, it is acceptable to leave them out until then.