The leaves are falling fast and before we know it, the holiday season will be here. Now is a great time to get a few things done before we are knee deep in Christmas preparation ideas. Today I am sharing 12 easy things to do now to get ready for Christmas.
With losing my mom this year, I have been thinking a lot about Christmases past. She was a singer, and we always had lots of Christmas music playing. I have fond memories of my childhood. And we have made many new traditions with my own little family after getting married.
We do a big thing on Christmas Eve, then keep Christmas dinner more simple on the day with leftovers. It’s a great way to keep Christmas morning and the rest of the day super chill.
This year I am anxious to get ready for Christmas, which is so funny to me. I am usually a stickler about waiting until after Thanksgiving. When the visiting family members have returned home and all the dishes have been put away, then I decorate.
This year, I feel energized! Let’s get ready for the Christmas season.
Prepare to decorate
With Halloween just ending, now is the time to grab all those Christmas decorations you’ve been wanting. In fact, this year, it feels like it’s last minute already.
I normally love having at least one Christmas tree that is real. However, with early decorating last year, my tree dried out quickly (even with daily watering). This year, I had a little vision of what I wanted. So I headed to Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago with my granddaughter to buy a few artificial trees.
I know, there is always a big controversy of real tree versus artificial tree. But this year, the faux ones are taking over! Walmart has some good ones too.
There is still plenty of time to update any decor items you may want, but do it early. The best items are already going fast. It’s hard not to buy a few new things each year. There are always such fun things to add to the collections, and some decor does get worn out.
Don’t forget to check out your local antique mall for all the vintage Christmas decor. This year I snagged a great book of Christmas stories, along with a few favorite vintage ornaments. And I always find a new/old red truck for my truck/tree collection.
Gather all your goodies in the next few weeks. This way, you will have everything when you are ready to decorate for the season.
Check those lights
If you live in a colder climate like I do, get those Christmas lights up outside fast so you aren’t freezing your buns off! But even my indoor lights need to be checked, as those string lights go bad often.
Every year it seems I need to replace several strings. So if you are thinking of getting festive with a lighting scheme, whether for the front porch or inside, check your lights now. Plug them in and make sure they are all functioning, that way you will not be derailed the day you go to decorate.
Nothing is worse than planning the day for all your Christmas preparations and decorating, and having to stop everything and run to the store for new lights. A little bit of planning goes a long way.
Make a Christmas playlist
Of course you can just ask Alexa to play Christmas songs or put on Pandora and listen to their Christmas song loop. But the most wonderful time of the year just might call for a personal playlist.
My mom loved the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” originally sung by Bing Crosby. She sang that many times through the years, even in the final months of her life. So I will probably be playing that a lot this year so I can get out the rest of these tears.
But being able to play everyone’s favorite tunes, whether upbeat and fun, or slow and romantic, is always fun when the the family gathers. Choose your Christmas playlist early on Spotify and save for the Christmas party or when having dinner with extended family.
Buy ribbon to switch up color themes
I like to do a bit of traditional red and green in our family room, then do color themes that match the house (my blue and white) in other rooms. Switch it up a bit this year!
Add buying Christmas ribbon in a new color to your to-do lists. Sprinkling a different color holiday theme around your decor with ribbon can help things feel fresh and new.
It’s also a great way to stay on your Christmas budget for home decor, as it can be used in many ways without being too expensive.
Make that Christmas list
If you haven’t pulled names for who you are buying for, or however you figure that out in your world, do that now. The big day will be here before you know it!
Assess where in your life you need to exchange gifts. Will you need a gift for work mates? Do you share a treat with neighbors and friends? Are there service people (mail person, hairdresser, teachers, therapist, dog groomer, etc.) around that you like to remember? Who in the family are you buying for this year?
Write down all the gift ideas, along with your budget. If the budget is down to minimal, as it is for many people, then consider making one big batch of goodies that can get packaged nice.
Given with a heartfelt card is more than enough to say ‘Merry Christmas’. I have found over the years, that most people just want to be thought of and remembered during this festive season. A small treat and kind words are all that is needed.
Just put a bit of yourself in it, homemade gifts are the way to keep that Christmas list to a minimum.
Choose family photo and order Christmas cards
To me, the hardest part about the whole Christmas card thing, is which photo to use. As a family, we all get together in the summer at the cottage and take family group pictures. But so much has happened since then, that when you are an empty nester, which photo do you use?
Choose your pics, and order those cards early! This time of year gets crazy in the shipping world, so you want to definitely plan ahead and get those things done. I love using Minted, as they have so many options for cards and other personalized gifting.
Although these companies are used to a quick holiday turn around time, things get hung up in shipping. So order that earlier than you normally would so you can get it done and forget about it. Update any addresses in your Christmas card list if friends have moved throughout this year.
Buy your stamps if sending cards
Take a quick trip to the post office this week before things get busy and purchase your Christmas stamps. They always have pretty options for the holiday that will look festive on your cards.
While you are there, grab several boxes that they offer for free if you are sending gift items to loved ones. Keep gifts smaller so they are cheaper to ship.
You can later sign up for an account on USPS.com to ship all your Christmas packages, and print your labels right from home. It will make mailing them so much easier, as you can plan to hand them right to your mail carrier at your front door. They can also take your holiday cards as well.
If you will not be shipping any gifts, then stamps can easily be ordered online and delivered right to you!
Send invites or save the dates electronically
I don’t know about you, but I am excited for our friends and family gatherings this year. Text everyone this week and make sure they know the dates you are planning for your holiday parties.
Every year I host a cookie exchange party and it is such a fun time to get in the Christmas spirit and celebrate with friends. Although I have been doing this party for a very long time, gone are the days of paper invites. I simply text everyone early in the quarter with a save the date, and then send more information that is needed as we get closer.
This is also a good time to review your overall calendar and make sure you have all school events, parties, local celebrations, church get togethers and more, all saved in your Christmas planner.
Block out a day here and there to wrap last minute shopping, decorate a gingerbread house, or just to sit on the couch with a buddy and enjoy Christmas movies. A stress-free Christmas is one to enjoy and savor in the feelings of the season.
Set your DVR to record all your favorite holiday shows
If you’re a Hallmark fan and you know you don’t want to miss any of your favorites, set your DVR to record shows you know you want to see. With everything digital these days, it is always easy to find something to watch when you have a minute, but sometimes there is limited access for certain shows.
If you know something will be airing, hit the record button so you don’t have to waste time searching for it later. If there are things you may want to binge watch like food or home shows with a Christmas theme, recording them will give you the chance to skip through commercials as most replay features require you to watch ads and you can’t fast forward.
Stock your pantry and bar
Now is the perfect time to stock up your pantry or bar for items you use frequently during the holiday season to make goodies for everyone. These are the busiest times of the year, and the fewer shopping trips that have to be made, the better.
My holiday to-do list gets long, and I don’t want to think too hard about what to make for dinner. If I know we have the basics needed for a quick meal, this offers less stress during a busy time.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a few treats on hand to offer friends that pop over. Keep some nuts or chocolates that can easily be set out. Stock the hot chocolate bar (or adult beverage bar) to accommodate your crowd.
Order gifts online
All of your favorite influencers will be posting their holiday gift guides soon. Take advantage and check out what they have found. There are always so many great ideas right at your fingertips without having to search yourself.
Plan a sit down with your Christmas gift list, check out what everyone is loving this year, and click all at once to get it done.
Black Friday will also bring many specials and good deals, so it will be the perfect opportunity to finish your holiday shopping in a few days. Then you can get busy with enjoying the season and coming up with more fun ideas to do instead of shopping.
Purchase wrapping supplies
I love to set up a little gift wrapping station for the holidays. Check out mine I made last year. If you have a Hobby Lobby, they have the best wrapping paper and gift bags in bulk.
Buy all your supplies early and set them up in one spot. As items arrive in the mail, you will save so much time being able to just go and quickly get things wrapped so you don’t have to hide them. I always forget where I hide stuff, then I’m running all over looking for all the crap I bought.
You’ll end up with more free time, by putting all your gift wrap stuff in one spot and doing it as you go! We all need one less thing to do right?
We’re almost ready!
Okay friends, let’s get prepared and enjoy this season. I think I’m going to go all in next week, which is early November! My daughter is worried that I may have been abducted by aliens, because I am stepping out of my norm so much this year. But sometimes, you gotta surprise people!
I love the way this house looks at Christmas time and I am looking forward to stretching that out a bit this year. I’d love to hear your best tip for getting ready early for the holidays. Tell me in the comments. For great Christmas inspiration, check out my holiday boards on Pinterest.