No-Stress Christmas Checklist to Keep the Season Jolly & Nice

Ditch the holiday stress with a simple to-do list and timeline that will let you chill and enjoy this Christmas.

Published December 13, 2023
Christmas Checklist

We've all had that feeling of holiday overwhelm or the worry we've forgotten something we needed to do for Christmas, but it turns out holiday prep doesn't have to be a stress bomb. In fact, it's just comes down to having a Christmas checklist to help you stay on track. This handy to-do list starts weeks before Christmas and includes everything you need to do so you can relax and enjoy the season with those you love.

Starting up to eight weeks or more before the holiday, take a look at the tasks and start to check them off. We promise this will help keep the stress at a minimum.

Five to Eight Weeks Before Christmas

November is a good time to start getting your Christmas plans in order. Consider this the first stage of holiday prep. You'll thank yourself later if you knock these items off the Christmas to-do list early.

Quick Tip

Starting late on your Christmas checklist? Don't worry. Decide what you need to do and catch up by doing a few extra tasks each week.

Set a Gift Budget

Take some time to talk to your partner or look at your household budget and come up with a spending plan for Christmas. It will help reduce your worry about overspending.

Make a List of Gift Recipients

You know how Santa makes a list and checks it twice? Now it's your turn. We like using the Notes app on the phone to list everyone and what we plan to buy. That way, when we're out shopping, we can see what we still need to get.

Make Your Christmas Wish Lists

Not every family uses Christmas wish lists, but they can be super helpful in choosing a gift you know someone will want. Make them in the month of November so you can send them out before Black Friday.

Talk About Plans

There's no denying it; holidays are a lot. It all comes down to good communication. In November, take some time to talk about what you're planning with friends and family, including travel and any parties you're going to or hosting.

Have a Photoshoot and Order Cards

If your family does an annual family picture for your Christmas card, it's best to get this done at least a month before Christmas. That way, you can design your card and get it printed with plenty of time to spare.

Four Weeks Before Christmas

Christmas really kicks into gear in the month of December. Here's what to include on your Christmas checklist when you've got four weeks before the big day.

woman shopping Christmas gifts

Start Shopping for Gifts

If you've already started shopping, you're awesome. But if you're like most of us, now's the time to really get a move on. Take advantage of the Black Friday deals, and don't let the momentum stop there. This is super important for anything you need to ship internationally because you'll need to mail those gifts out this week, too.

Quick Tip

If you're making any gifts for people this Christmas, it's time to finalize those plans and make sure you have the supplies. There's nothing worse than the panic of trying to finish making a present in the days just before the holiday, so an early start can help a ton.

Send Out Holiday Party Invitations

Now is the time to get the word out about your Christmas party if you're having one. The holiday season fills up fast, and people are way more likely to attend if you tell them at least four weeks before Christmas.

Start Playing Your Christmas Playlist

The holiday season has started in earnest now, and it's time to get the soundtrack going, too. Crank up your holiday playlist with your favorite carols so you can do all the things to the best music of the season.

Buy and Decorate Your Christmas Tree

Before you can start rocking around the Christmas tree, you've got to buy it and put it up. Whether you go real or fake, off the lot or cut your own, the tree is the centerpiece of the holiday season. Get it up four weeks ahead so you can enjoy it the whole time.

Decorate Your House

And speaking of decorating, it's time to head down to the basement or up to the attic and get those bins of decorations for the house. Check the lights and hang up the wreaths so you can make everything jolly.

Get Out Advent Calendars

If you use an advent calendar, get it out by December 1 so you can start opening each day. This is especially important if you've got kids, since they love the excitement of the countdown.

Three Weeks Before Christmas

Three weeks before Christmas, you can expect a little lull in the busy schedule. Kids are still in school, and you've still got plenty of time to finish up the projects and do the cooking. Take this week to get ahead of a few things.

Check Your Gift Wrapping Supplies

Think about how you're going to wrap Christmas gifts this year and make sure you have anything you need to make that happen. It might mean ordering some new paper or gift toppers. Also check to make sure you've got plenty of tape.

Work on Christmas Cards

Your cards have probably arrived by now, so it's time to start addressing them. Don't try to do it all at once. This is a good activity for while you're watching a Christmas movie.

Double Check Your Holiday Dishes

A lot of Christmas checklists tell you to set the table a week before the holiday so you can enjoy the beauty of your dishes, but they obviously don't have kids or pets. We do think it's a good plan to check your dishes now, though. Make sure you have what you need if you'll be hosting, and order any dishes you're missing.

Two Weeks Before Christmas

Now things are going to start to get busy, but you've got this. Two weeks before Christmas is a good time to start doing some of the prep for the holiday meal and get your gifting under control.

Finish Ordering Gifts

Anything you're not buying locally needs to be ordered this week. Part of getting ready for Christmas is making sure you're got all the gifts with plenty of time to wrap. Order them now, and they'll be here with time to spare.

Send Out Christmas Cards

Pop those puppies in the mail. Now is the time. They'll have plenty of time to get where they need to go, and you'll be free to focus on other stuff.

Mail Out Christmas Gifts

While you're at the post office mailing your cards, take a minute to mail out any gifts you need to send. Two weeks gives them lots of time to get to the right place, and you won't have to stress about them being late.

Plan the Menu for Christmas Dinner

Whether you're hosting or having Christmas dinner at someone else's house, it's time to get the menu planned. If you're going somewhere, find out what you can bring so you're ready for that.

Order Anything Special for Christmas Dinner

Once you know what you're having, make sure you get your order in for anything you'll need to reserve. This could be pies from your favorite bakery, a fresh turkey, a ham, or even a flower arrangement for the center of the table. If you need to order it ahead, do it now.

Make Christmas Cookies

We like doing the cookies in stages so you can nibble all season long, but the ideal time to bake the bulk of them is in the two weeks before Christmas. Start cooking now and do a second batch next week if you want.

One Week Before Christmas

It's really getting close, but that's no reason to stress. You're already most of the way there. Crank up the carols and do these things the week before Christmas.

Woman's hands wrapping christmas gifts

Do an Inventory of Gifts

Grab that list of gifts you made a few weeks ago and look through what you have. Check that all gifts have arrived or are on their way so you can figure out replacements if you need to.

Quick Tip

Don't forget to double-check the stocking stuffers, too. You still have plenty of time to run out and get something to fill a stocking if you need to.

Start Wrapping Gifts

Don't leave your wrapping until Christmas Eve. You're going to have way more fun and enjoy a relaxed holiday if you get lots of wrapping done ahead of time.

Buy Batteries

It sure seems like Christmas is powered with AA batteries, doesn't it? Stock up in the week before the holiday so you're not stuck with toys that won't start on Christmas morning.

Make Your Holiday Grocery List

Whether you're hosting the big dinner, bringing something to another house, or having a special family breakfast on Christmas morning, it's time to make the grocery list. If you order groceries, put the order in, too (stores get busy). If not, you can wait to shop until the holiday is a little closer.

Two Days Before Christmas

This is the last big day of holiday prep, and then it's time to kick back. Here's what to do.

Shop for the Holiday Meal

You can run out for last-minute things if you need to, but now is the time to get most of the holiday food shopping done. Things will stay fresh, and you'll have everything you need to make the dishes.

Buy Any Last-Minute Gifts

Missing a gift for someone? Run out and get it now. We promise the stores will be even crazier on Christmas Eve.

Finish Wrapping Gifts

You've been wrapping for a while, but now it's time to tie those ribbons and put a bow on it. Get your last gift wrapped so you can relax.

Give Gifts to Neighbors

If you give gifts to your neighbors or the mail person, you can pass those out now. You can drop them off or stop by before things get too busy with the holiday.

Christmas Eve

Most of the heavy lifting is done now, so just enjoy your family traditions. We like to do cheese fondue for Christmas Eve dinner and take a drive to look at the holiday lights. You might also go to the Christmas Eve service at church. Other than that, you've only got a few things to do.

Preparing Stuffed Turkey for Holidays

Make Food Ahead for Christmas Day

If you can cook some of the Christmas dinner side dishes ahead of time, it's a good idea to do that on Christmas Eve. Same goes for Christmas breakfast if you have a casserole or other recipe that lets you do most of the work the day before.

Hang the Stockings and Put Out the Cookies

Santa's coming tonight, so get ready! Hang up the stockings by the chimney with care, and remember to put out some cookies and milk for Santa.

Charge Your Camera and Phone

Christmas morning is the ultimate photo op, so don't be left with a dead battery. Make sure your camera batteries and your phone are ready to go.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is here, and you're preparations are done. Relax and enjoy the holiday with family and friends. You're earned this wonderful moment.

Christmas and friends with drinks and group of people with love

Get Organized so You Can Chill

Getting ready for Christmas doesn't feel as stressful if you manage it one step at a time. There's nothing like getting organized to help you chill and enjoy the magic of this special day.

No-Stress Christmas Checklist to Keep the Season Jolly & Nice