The winter holidays will be here before we know it, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali or even Festivus, it’s time to get ready! This comprehensive printable game plan will make food prep, gift giving, party hosting, and all of the other festive yuletide to-do’s a breeze.
Ready for less stress and more cheer this holiday season, then get organized by grabbing this printable countdown to Christmas prep planner worksheet!
What the what?
How in the heck is it almost November already?
I mean seriously, I was counting down to the New Year’s Eve ball drop, just like a few weeks ago! #timeflies
The Holidays will be here before you know it, and with how quickly time is passing us by, it’s more important than ever to get yourself organized for all the upcoming festive celebrations!
Every year I tell myself I’m going to get a jump start on all the yuletide prep.
And then usually I’m freaking out in the second week of December cause I don’t have our cards ready (heck, I’m usually still scrambling to get a decent picture of my motley crew), have only a few presents purchased, and I am running around like a crazy lady to various holidays events.
Especially with the supply chain issues, we are hearing about, it is more important than ever to have a game plan…and that’s exactly what I aim to do!
And ya’ll know I’m always looking out for my favorite gals (yes, YOU the readers), so I will share my printable plan so you too can be the most organized mom on the block!
So, let me break down how to use this printable Holiday Prep Countdown Checklist – Christmas Prep Planner.
1. Get Printing
First and foremost, you need to print out the “Holiday Prep Countdown” worksheet, which you can grab a copy below!
I’m printing mine the last week of October, so it’s ready to roll as soon as the calendar changes to November!
Once you’ve got your printed plan, make sure you keep it in a visible place…putting it under the massive pile of papers on your desk will not do any good if you don’t have it front and center!
– Grab a magnet and put it on your fridge
– Tape it to your bathroom mirror
– Place it on a clipboard ON TOP of the pile on your desk
– Tattoo it to your derriere (okay, maybe not practical, but certainly effective ‘cause you definitely won’t lose it)
Whatever the means, be sure to have your plan front and center!!
2. Choose an Approach
This printable planner can be used in one of two ways.
A. You can use it like a true countdown, where you check off one item each day and proceed in numerical order.
B. You can use it more like a checklist and hop around to the things that matter most to you – checking off to-do items as you go along in whatever random order you prefer.
I’m more of an “I hate rules” renegade, don’t fence-me-in kinda’ gal, so I’ll be opting for Plan B.
3. Get ‘Er Done
The last, but vitally important, step is to get your butt in gear, mama, and start checking off things that you get done.
It’s totally fine if some days you just can’t get anything marked off your list, just be sure to double up on a different day so that you get it all done before December rolls around!
I guarantee that you will be feeling footloose and fancy-free if you have a jump start on the Holiday mayhem by utilizing the month of November as your prep month!
So let’s take a look at exactly what is on this here calendar with a little explanation of what each “to-do item” entails.
If you only check one thing off of this entire list, this is by far one of the most important things to do this month.
Whether you use it for printed cards or e-cards, or even if you just can’t get your act together to pull together a card this year (#beentheredonethat) you’ll still be glad you have a family photo from this year whether it makes it into a Holiday card or not.
(like this photo gem below! LOL!)
Day #2 – Book Travel
Flights, Cars, and Hotels, oh my! Holiday travel can be stressful and expensive, so be sure to book all of your travel arrangements as soon as possible!
Friends…you gain some, you lose some…
Now is the perfect time to update your master Holiday Card list.
Know of anyone who recently moved? Be sure you reach out to them for their new address!
*TIP* – Keep your list in a spreadsheet that can be printed into labels – it will save you lots of time and hand cramps from writing them all out!
There’s nothing worse than hearing that “Santa” was wrapping a few gifts at the last minute and ran out of tape!
Don’t be an unprepared “Santa” and be sure you have plenty of wrapping supplies…gift wrap paper, holiday bags, tissue paper, and gift tags.
If you are running low, my favorite places to find deals are at discount locations like Walmart/Target or dollar stores.
When it comes to Christmas cards, the best bargains happen sooner than later, so get your act together and order those cards!
I normally order mine through Shutterfly cause they have fabulous coupons and then I also use my “Honey” extension on my desktop computer to stack on a few other coupons when I check out.
As they always say, “The early bird gets the deal” (or something like that!)
Beginning to mid-November is when those Holiday soiree invites start rolling in…parties, school performances, cookie exchanges…be sure to stay on top of your calendar and sync wherever you keep calendar info (phone, computer, pen/paper calendar).
You don’t want to miss an event cause you didn’t have it written down!
Holidays = Guests = Mouths to Feed
Now is the perfect time to clear out and organize your pantry. While you are at it, be sure to take inventory of the food you have so you know what you need to buy and to avoid making duplicate purchases.
You can also take inventory of what food you have in your fridge. I wrote a blog post with a free printable “Fridge Inventory Checklist” here to help you!
Any food you found in the pantry that you are certain you won’t use, donate to a food bank. You’ll have a streamlined, organized pantry and those in need will have extra food…I call that a “win/win”.
Not sure where to donate food? You can find your nearest foodbank location here.
This time of year there are also great sales on canned and shelf-stable food, so you could also take a family trip to the local grocery store and purchase some non-perishables for your community food pantry.
Now that you have an organized pantry, spend 30 minutes getting your spice cabinet cleared out. The holidays usually mean more cooking and baking than usual, so be sure you have the spices and baking supplies you need.
Don’t forget to check those expiration dates and toss anything that is too old to use!
You never know when an unexpected guest might pop by, so be sure you have extra beverages (and light snacks) stocked up!
November is the time of year when local stores are running the best deals on Holidays decorations. Keep an eye on your local ads to get the bargains!
It’s easy to go CRAY CRAY at the holidays, and not having a plan can cost a pretty penny. So sit down with yourself, your spouse, or partner to set a realistic budget for the upcoming holiday season
Create a master list of gifts you need to buy. Don’t forget to include neighbors, teachers, or any upcoming gift exchanges. Also think about buying small tokens of appreciation for the service workers in your life (landscapers, mail carriers, waste management, hairstylist).
Need a cute & simple idea for your mail carrier?
I’ve got you covered…here’s an easy, inexpensive gift with a free printable tag!
We also put out a little basket of snacks for our delivery drivers, and you can find out how to do that here!
Making a master list this year can be used in future years to ensure that no one gets overlooked!
*TIP* – I always buy an extra generic gift or two…candle, a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, an ornament, etc. for any unexpected gift needs!
What are some of the small items your kids might need that would work well as stocking stuffers? Make a master list of stocking stuffer ideas that you can use for years to come!
What are the Holidays without Christmas Movies?
Our family has some tried and true traditions when it comes to Holiday Movie watching. I even take it a step further by making them a “Dinner & a Movie Themed Night”, so it’s kinda a big deal at my house.
You can find my Buddy the Elf Movie Night Here
If that’s too much work, then turn on the Hallmark Channel and veg out to the cheesiest Christmas flicks around.
You find their Holiday Line Up Here
Got family and friends out of town? Start thinking about what you will buy them and how to get their gifts shipped in a timely manner!
Out with the old to make room for the new.
One way to prevent the post-Christmas clutter overload is to start weeding through old clothes, toys, and housewares now.
Be sure to accomplish the most important step…get them OUT OF YOUR HOUSE by donating them to a local non-profit.
If you use indoor or outdoor lights, it’s always wise to give them a test before your days to decorate are here! For any broken or non-functional lights, make a purchase to replace them.
As we all know, December flies by faster than any month of the year, so sit down with your recipe binder and start thinking about what big meals you will need to prep.
We always brainstorm as a family the foods we love most and start a list of must-make menu items.
Where are my bargain babes?
It’s time to start scouring the local paper and internet for the best deals.
Start creating your game plan to maximize those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!
To help lessen the last-minute purchasing pressure, start early on your shopping!
Take a day to make the inside of your home cozy and festive!
Grab the lights, wreaths, window candles, and blow-up Santas, it’s time to make the outside of your home look as joyous as the inside!
Time to buy stamps…you know what that means…It’s almost card-sending time!
With your master list of recipients, spend some time writing small notes inside the cards you plan to send.
Whether you address them by hand or are more tech-savvy and print them from a database, get a jump start by addressing your cards!
If you mail your cards out now, the recipients will have much more time to enjoy them and you will no longer have the stress of getting them done!
*TIP* – If you are short on time or room in your budget, sending digital cards or festive emails is also a great option!
Don’t let the month of December begin without being clear about what your top priorities are! We sit down as a family every year and make a Holiday Bucket List to ensure we maximize the fun of the Holiday Season!
If you want to see how my family plans our Bucket List (with free printables!) read more here!
Day #29 -Start Prep for Guests
If you will be hosting overnight guests, start thinking about what you need to be the “Hostess with the Mostess”.
Does your guest room need refreshing?
Do you have towels that are not worn out and stained?
Begin a list of things you will need to do or purchase before you have family or friends stay with you!
Need extra help prepping for guests? Check out my “Impress Your Guests” program with lots of printables!!
Hold onto your hats, friends cause it’s Elf on the Shelf time.
If your family participates in this fun tradition, don’t forget to get him ready to make his grand entrance!
If you need more creative ideas to up your Elf of the Shelf game, I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to all things Elfie here
Just kidding – there is no Day #31 – but listen, if the Elf on Shelf stresses you out and feels like another “have to”, let yourself off the hook – allow the elf to have a vacation this year!
Here’s how one family sent the Elf on a permanent vacation if you need to let go of the mom guilt!
Or if you just need a small reprieve from the responsibility, putting the elf in quarantine for 14 days at least gives you a little break! You can see how to creatively do that here.
And that concludes our 30-day countdown Christmas prep planner for the Holidays!
What do you think?
Did I miss anything essential from my list?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, cheers to making this the most organized Holidays Season yet with the Christmas Prep Planner Printable, and cheers to you!