I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year.
There is always good food, lots of activities and happy kids. It is a time of holidays and family.
But it can also be costly, especially to a big family like ours, and stressful as moms take on the extra burden of trying to achieve a Hallmark Christmas for our children to remember.
To make this year smoother I’ve compiled a checklist to break down the monstrous list of things to do and help you achieve a stress free Christmas season.
The Christmas check list
- Decide on a family plan for Christmas. Where will you be spending the holiday? If you do holiday themes what theme are you choosing? What type of meals do you want to serve?
- Book reservations to any restaurants if you are spending Christmas eating out.
- Make any travel arrangements and book both tickets and accommodation.
- Start a family WhatsApp group or email if you do not have one to communicate easily about holiday plans.
- Use a Google calendar to start scheduling holiday events to allow the whole family to schedule items and keep each other informed.
- Keep a print calendar on the fridge will help to keep track of school plays, carol services and that Christmas lunches.
- Start baking the items you can freeze like un-iced cookies.
- Prepare your fruit mix for cakes and puddings.
- Make a holiday card list
- Book any professional photos
- Have holiday card photos taken
- Design your holiday card to send out
- Gifting -Purchase or make gift tags, Christmas cards and Christmas wrapping.
- Send international cards and gifts
- Measure your family for clothing size and shoe size. Make a list of this to help you shop or to send to grandparents.
- Order any personalised items to ensure you recieve them before printers shut down for the holidays.
- Famlly holidays-Make plans for family that will be staying with you. Do you need more linen, sheets, ect
- Book any leave needed from work.
November ( 6 weeks before Christmas)
- Decide on a Christmas budget
- Make a holiday gift list
- Buy gifts for Secret Santa events, neighbours, friends,teachers and work colleagues
- Keep several small gifts of chocolates or biscuits for those unexpected people who pop in or gifts you recieve and need to reciprocate.
- Start Christmas shopping for family. You may want to take advantage of the Black Friday sale for any big items you are planning to buy.
- Do any online shopping .Make a note of delivery days when online shopping to ensure you recieve items in time.
- Wrap gifts as you buy them. This will save you time during the busier days leading up to Christmas.
- Charity– decide on the charity and causes you will support over the season
6 weeks before Christmas
- Buy a Christmas eve box
- Buy an elf on the shelf
- Plan elf antics and get a box ready with activities for the elf to do throughout Christmas
5 weeks before Christmas
- Celebrate Stir it up Sunday and make your Christmas puddings
- Check your christmas tree and ornaments and make note of anything you need to replace.
- Stock up on batteries.
- Make an intinerary of holiday activities to enjoy with the kids
- Book kids Holiday Clubs
- Buy advent calendars or the items to fill reusable ones
- Wrap 24 books to read 1 a night throughout advent. These are traditionally Christmas themed.
- Neaten garden and outdoor areas.
- Clean outdoor furniture
- Stock up on braai items like charcoal, firefighters, ect
- Put aside table settings. Items such as the table cloths, name tags, christmas crackers, ect for the Christmas meal. Getting this ready now will save you running around looking for matching serviette rings on Christmas eve.
- Buy christmas crackers
- If you are travelling over christmas book a service for your car, plan your route and pack emergency items in the boot.
- Arrange pet sitters or house sitters
- Have any photos you need printed
- Buy instax film
- Check board games and buy new ones to add to the family board games stash.
- Bucket list – make a family holiday bucket list of things to do
4 weeks before Christmas
- Test your Christmas lights . Replace any that do not work and see that you have enough.
- Set up outside decorations
- Enough to feed everyone – Take stock of your serving dishes, cutlery and crockery. Purchase what you need.
- Write your local Christmas cards
- Book any hair, annual medical or beauty procedures you will need until the end of January.
- Stock up your medicine cabinet
- Clean windows
- Put up window decals or fake snow
- Download a christmas ring tone or wall paper for your phone
- Play Christmas Carols
- Have photos taken with Santa
3 weeks before Christmas
- Mail cards
- Let the kids write to Santa
- Christmas tree – Decide on your Christmas tree. Will you use one you have? Do you need a new one? Are you having a fresh tree?
- Buy or make your tree skirt
- Decorate your tree
- Start your Advent calendars
- Put out the Nativity scene
- Decorate your home
- Purchase any greenery or wreaths to decorate with.
- Finalize your menus
- Order your Christmas meat
- Shop for groceries you can freeze and store.
- Send any out of town gifts
- Start your elf on the shelf activities
- Let kids write a wish list
- Make gingerbread men
- Make gingerbread house and train
- Put together a christmas day playlist
- Fill any gas cylinders
- Drive to see the city Christmas lights
Two weeks before Christmas
- Purchase alcohol and beverages
- Break out the Christmas crafts with the kids
- Plan your christmas Caroling events
- Print out free colouring pages and staple together to make a colouring activity book to keep kids busy.
- Buy Christmas day outfits and Christmas eve pjs
- Bake or buy Christmas cake
One week before Christmas
- Spring clean your home
- Line the oven with foil to prevent too much mess while cooking for Christmas day.
- Clean out any unwanted or outgrown clothing, toys and books to donate
- Clear out the refrigerator and deep freezer
- Plan spaces for guests and clean the linen and towels.
- Purchase any gift vouchers you are gifting.
- Have a christmas movie marathon. Dont forget the popcorn.
- Bake or buy mice pies
- Christmas dress up – wash , clean and replace all christmas hats, stockings and Santa suits
3 days before Christmas
- Shop for fresh ingredients
- Make life easy – Stock up on paper plates, paper cups, serviettes, tin foil
- Do any baking
- Buy fresh flowers
- Dry oranges, pears and apples to make potpourri and hanging strings
- Go see christmas lights
- Christmas light scavanger hunt – these are a lot of fun.
2 days before Christmas
- String popcorn for tree
- Make pomanders
- Make a timeline for Christmas eve and Christmas day
- Go caroling
- Put fuel in the car
- Double check all gifts are bought and wrapped
- Make Christmas deserts
- Purchase Christmas candles
- Buy Santa’s cookies and Rudolfs carrots
- Watch the nutcracker
- Prepare Christmas eve meal
- Watch christmas family movies
- Have photo taken in matching family pjs
- Put out children’s Christmas eve box
- Leave milk and cookies for Santa and Rudolf
- Read the Christmas story
- Drop christmas cookies at neighbours
- Place gifts at tree
- Christmas day box -Set out bin bag and box with batteries, scissors , ect ready for the mornings excitement
- Fill stockings or Santa sacks
- Make trifel
- Make eggnog
- Take any meats out to defrost
- Pre cook some food
- Clean bathrooms
- Track Santa on Google tracker
- Place luminaries in the yard for Santa to find his way
- Leave out magic key for Santa
- Charge phones, cameras and laptops
- Hide the pickle and Rudolfs nose for the children to find in the tree
- Leave flour Santa and Rudolf prints on the floor
- Take elf away
- Bite the cookie, eat the carrot and drink the milk so that it looks like Santa did it
- Mull your wine
- Make hot chocolate for the morning
- Open gifts
- Cook lunch
- Take family morning photos
- Read the story of Jesus birth
- Kiss under the mistletoe
- Family- phone, Skype or text family to wish them
- Send out digital Christmas cards