Christmas Checklist


With the festive season just around the corner, here’s our guide to planning a stress-free Christmas

Set a budget

Christmas is traditionally a time of joy and happiness but for many, it can be a time of worry and stress.
One of the main reasons for this is due to monetary issues and in today’s cost-of-living climate, that has never been so acute.

Setting a budget early on can help offset this worry. Putting a financial boundary in place will make you feel more in control, and stop you spending more than you should, which will have repercussions later on down the line.

Your Christmas budget will need to include everything from food, to gifts and decorations. You may also need to factor in things like travel and things that could crop up unexpectedly.

Once you’ve set your budget, you’ll want to keep track of how much of it you’ve used so that you know how much of it is left. Try not to be tempted to go over the budget, as this will only bring stress in the New Year.

Create a gift list

Planning your gifts ahead will most likely save you money and a headache.

Taking the time to create a wish list means that you can work through it at your own pace. Think of everyone you need to buy for and if you have the budget, add in a few small items for those unexpected guests. Order your online gifts early in case they take longer than expected or need to be back-ordered.

Remember that practical gifts are as much appreciated as fun gifts and they will most likely be put to good use more. If you are struggling for gift ideas, ask people directly what they want. It’ll save a wasted shopping experience plus it’ll save them the hassle of trying to exchange it for something else.

Christmas shopping

Over recent years, retailers have started bringing their sales forward, often before Christmas itself. This means that you can pick up some great bargains that you’d normally have to wait until the January sales for.

Stick to the list that you’ve created and also to the budget. It’s all too easy to throw in a few extras that catch the eye. Remember to stock up on batteries too. This will save the disappointment on Christmas morning when presents can’t be used because you’re out of batteries and the shops are closed.

Finalise plans

If you haven’t already finalised your plans for the big day, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later so that everyone can make arrangements.

Travel and accommodation will possibly need to be factored in, plus any requirements for pet-sitting if required. If you are hosting this year, make sure that there is enough furniture and cutlery for dinner. If you are having guests staying over, you’ll need to make sure that there are enough places to sleep.

If you’re lucky enough to be a guest at someone else’s house this year, plan out your travel arrangements in advance.

Send the Christmas cards

Christmas cards will need to be sent early this year as the planned postal strikes could be taking place in the run-up to the festive season.

International cards and packages especially will need to be shipped as soon as possible. Last recommended posting dates for UK 2nd class post is Monday 18th December and Wednesday 20th December for 1st class.

Prep the house

A clean house makes for a happy house so schedule in some time to get the house in order for Christmas. It’ll also mean that you can feel more organised when you know where everything is. Clearing out and cleaning the fridge is also worth doing and will make room for your Christmas food shopping.

Once the house is clean, it’s the exciting time of opening those boxes of Christmas decorations. Turning your home into a winter wonderland is one of the highlights of the season, especially when younger family members are involved.

Put everything up methodically so that it’s easier when you take them down after Christmas.

Food shopping

To take the stress off yourself this Christmas, your food shopping can be done in stages. You can stock up on your frozen, long-life, and dry goods well in advance and then switch to the fresher produce nearer the time.

Most supermarkets offer an ordering service which gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to cook your Christmas dinner. It’s also worth supporting local shops as much as you can to help with local trade.

Get the tree up

Getting the tree up can be made into a memorable festive event, especially if you involve loved ones.
You can prepare the space for your tree in advance and if you are planning on using a real tree, it’s worth keeping it in a pot of water until it’s ready to go up.

When the time comes, be sure to remove all the netting and knock off any loose branches or needles. It’s recommended to saw 1cm off the bottom of the trunk and you can get someone at the garden centre to do this.

The reason for this is to remove hardened sap that will have accrued on the stump, and allow for effective water absorption.

Hang your stockings

Put up a stocking for everyone in the home, even the pet if you have one. These are traditionally left near an open fire, where you’d also leave some cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer.

When it comes to Christmas Eve, a well-planned run-up to Christmas means that you’ll be able to sit down with your favourite tipple, safe in the knowledge that everything’s organised.