As you grow older, knowing how to prepare for Christmas becomes a necessary skill.
Especially if you have to prepare it for your whole family.
When you reach that point, you need to make sure everyone has presents, that there is food on the table and that the house looks nice enough for Christmas (and sometimes, for guests, too). Among other things.
I’m here today to help you with that.
I’ve always been the planning type. I always made sure to buy Christmas presents in November, for example. And when I met my boyfriend, those tasks doubled. And then tripled, because I had to make sure the house looks nice, has a Christmas tree, and is able to receive guests.
So in the last few years I’ve had to up my game and become a Christmas planner expert. And I’m happy I got these skills now, because they will be very useful when we decide to have kids.
That being said, I really want to share with you my process and tips & tricks on how to prepare for Christmas, so you don’t get overwhelmed during the last month of the year.
Here are the main areas you need to consider when preparing for Christmas:
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS: PRESENTS
This is one of, if not THE most important part of Christmas: the presents.
I suggest the following plan; it’s been working for me for the last 6-7 years, at least.
- Start a Christmas Presents list in October.
- Write down all the people you need to buy presents for.
- Start brainstorming gift ideas. For example, this year I’m thinking about getting my mom a cozy bathrobe, and my dad some cool new winter boots.
- And from then on, you start looking out for those gift ideas in stores and buy them when you find sales, or the right time to get them.
- I suggest starting buying presents early November, so you don’t need to spend all your money in a couple days, all from the same paycheck. Heck, if you’re really sure about what to get for people, you can start buying in September or October.
A few tips & tricks for buying cool presents that your loved one will appreciate:
- For kids & teenagers, ask them or their parents what they want / what is on their Christmas present list;
- If you’re stuck on what to get parents & grandparents, I usually go for clothes & accessories. And if they are homebodies (like my parents, for example), try cozy slippers or cozy loungewear sets from Amazon. If they’re more adventurous, you can get them new activewear.
- For partners (girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife), I recommend getting them what they need and/or want. Or something you know for sure they will love.
My boyfriend, for example, is a huge board game fan, so I will definitely get him a board game for Christmas, plus one other item. If your partner is the same, check out this Gift Guide for Board Game Lovers right here.
I also have this great blog post with many Gift Ideas for Men, if you’re having trouble choosing what to get them.
- Another great tip is to save all the gift bags you’ve received so far (Christmas specific and simple ones), and reuse them for this year’s presents. This way, you won’t have to go out and buy new ones. Money saved!
- I also try to get as many presents as I can on Black Friday sales, that helps me save a lot of money. It also takes off the pressure of buying everything in December.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS: HOME DECOR
I have to admit, I’ve developed my Christmas home decoration skills pretty recently. And that’s because I was single for a long time, and I didn’t feel the need to decorate only for myself.
But now that I am in a relationship, and about to get married and have kids, I’ve started putting more effort into this.
So I’ve learned that the main things you need to have for home decorating are the following:
- Christmas tree
- Tree decorations
- House decorations (other lights, candles, etc)
- Front door decorations (mainly wreath, but whatever else you want, too)
1. Christmas tree
When it comes to trees, to each his own. Get a fake one. Go buy a fresh, new one from the market.
Do it on the 1st of November or the Eve of Christmas.
Either way, you need a Christmas tree.
I, personally, have a fake Christmas tree that I get out every beginning of December.
(Yes, I’m the weird one who decorates in December, around the 6th or 7th.)
2. Tree decorations
You also need Christmas tree decorations.
Some people use the same things every year. Others buy new tree decorations for every Christmas.
I’m somewhere in the middle. I always try to mix it up every year and change up the colors or the actual decorations in it, so I don’t end up with the same tree every time. That means that I sometimes need to buy new items, like globes of a certain color. But not everything is new.
Last year we went for a gold and purple theme. This year, we’re thinking of gold and red.
3. House decorations
This is the area where I’ve seen certain people go all out. I mean, their house is literally a Christmas store. A great example of this is Angie Bellemare’s house (from YouTube).
You don’t have to do all of that. But you can add small touches around the house to remind you and your family & guests of Christmas, like:
- Throw Pillows with Christmas designs;
- Winter smelling candles;
- Extra fairly lights hanging on the stairway or cabinet;
- Cute Christmas-y table runner of the dining room table;
- …and the list goes on.
I usually have 2 cute red throw pillows for my living room couch and an extra set of fairy lights for the library.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS: MEAL PLANNING
This section of “how to prepare for Christmas” is tricky. Because it’s not always up to you.
What I mean by that, is that you don’t usually have to cook only for your home. You will also have to prepare or buy something to take to your parents and in-laws house, if you celebrate Christmas at their place, too.
That’s what we do every year. On the evening of the 24th we go to my parents’ place, and the 25th of December is reserved for my in-laws.
Now, luckily for me, I don’t have to cook all the food. But I do have to prepare a cake or a side dish for both places. Especially since we usually come back home with leftovers from both families. (Lucky us!)
And I bet you have to do the same. If not for two Christmas gatherings, at least for one. So you need to get ready for it. Here is how:
- Ask beforehand the host what you have to bring to the Christmas party. Even if they say nothing, it is nice to contribute with something, so at least bring a dessert or a bottle of wine.
- Make your own Christmas meal plan list. Think about what you want and need to cook before, during and after Christmas. Write down the meals and their main ingredients.
- Then make sure the groceries are done before the 24th of December. This way, you don’t have to run out to get ingredients in the middle of the night.
- Try to prepare everything on the 23th and the 24th of December, so you have everything ready on the day, but don’t do it earlier than that, because the food won’t be as fresh anymore.
I know there are many more things to say on how to prepare for Christmas, but I wanted to cover the 3 main areas you need to focus on. Presents, decor and meal planning usually take up the most amount of time. I hope it was useful for you and I hope you get prepared for Christmas on time this year, so you don’t get stressed. Enjoy the holidays!
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