If the idea of the holiday season closing in gives you a panic attack, then something’s not right – after all, ‘tis the season to be jolly! Don’t sweat it though, we’re giving you the ultimate checklist to stay on top of things this Christmas and get you through the season -minus the anxiety. Read on for some brilliant tips and don’t forget to download the free checklist at the end of this article.

Right now

Having financial worries can put a damper on what should be The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. Start by setting your total budget for the holiday season; will you be traveling? Hosting? Buying lots of gifts? Getting professional photos? Start making a list now (and checking it twice -see what we did there?!) and use a step-by-step guide to set a realistic budget and stick to it.

Take inventory of your fridge and freezer and plan out how you’ll go through it to make room for all the food you’ll be storing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Start looking into photographers if you’re sending photo Christmas cards.

2 weeks before Thanksgiving

Give your home a deep clean and declutter. Sort through everyone’s clothes if you’ll be giving away some to charity for Christmas. Take out all your kids’ toys and decide what’s staying and what’s going (broken/doesn’t get used enough/not suitable for their age anymore) and store the ones you’ll be donating in a separate box; this is also a good time to get an idea on what they’d like for Christmas if you’re getting them toys.

Finish your Christmas gift shopping now. You should aim at no later than Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so you’re not sucked into stress and lousy last-minute purchases. Read this for awesome tips on how to plan out your shopping for Christmas gifts. Mail out any gifts that will be shipped or not handed in person.

Photo courtesy of AJHarrington

After Thanksgiving

Organize and store Thanksgiving leftovers -if any- in stackable containers and clean your fridge. Start sending out your Christmas cards. Put up your Christmas tree and decorate the house. Now is also a great time to start DIY crafting with your kids or baking and decorating Christmas cookies. Plan your Christmas menu and make a detailed list of all the non-perishables to buy and store them now. You might not find the best last-minute deals now but less crowds and more options.

If you’re having out-of-town guests, then now is the time to put the finishing touches on the guest bedroom or sort out sleeping arrangements. If you’re traveling for Christmas, then triple-check all your travel documents and keep everything in one folder so you don’t have to worry about it at the last minute.

2 weeks before Christmas:

Make sure all your guests have RSVPed and check in with those who didn’t. If you’re invited instead of hosting, you should have the host and hostess gift sorted. Finish all the gift wrapping and stocking stuffer shopping now, as well as any table settings or décor finishing touches.

Now that everything is under control, take this time to enjoy the local Christmas markets and parties, or treat yourself to a relaxing spa day before Christmas.

Christmas week:

Plan your outfits and get them steamed and ready. Buy the remainder of your Christmas food – mainly fresh produce or any seafood or special meats you pre-ordered. Precook dishes ahead of the big day. Aim at being done by Christmas Eve with everything ready to reheat on Christmas Day; on which you should only cook or prepare dishes that can’t be precooked. Jot down a detailed schedule for Christmas Day to avoid forgetting anything or losing track of time, the only surprise you need on Christmas is an awesome gift really!

If you’re invited instead of hosting, call the host/hostess and ask if you can help in any way.

Christmas Day:

Exchange gifts, eat, drink, and be merry!

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