I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I use a holiday checklist to stay as organized as possible during the busy Christmas season. This checklist is basically a super detailed word doc version of my “Holiday Notes & Traditions” phone note I’ve shared.
It is not fancy or pretty, but it’s an insanely helpful document that I update year to year to help me remember and prioritize what needs to be planned, purchased, tackled, etc. in advance so I can enjoy the holidays as much as possible.
This list is custom to my family (and has changed quite a bit throughout the years as the kids have grown and our traditions have changed), but my hope is that this template inspires you to jot down things in your phone note or word document as you think of them to get them out of your head and onto paper. So when you lay down to sleep at night you aren’t thinking “I need to purchase Nutcracker tickets, classroom party supplies, and Christmas outfits! We need to order Christmas cards, schedule a Santa visit, and find more garland for the mantel! I cannot forget this year to…” The list goes on and on, am I right? At least that is how my brain works. It will spiral the second my head hits the pillow if I don’t have the task written down to work on later when I’m not horizontal.
While this checklist isn’t going to magically make your holiday season completely stress free, it hopefully will help you feel organized and prevent things from falling through the cracks that are important to your family.
I wanted to make this list printable, but since it’s so specific to my family I figured it would likely not work for you. My recommendation would be to copy and past the list into your word document and add/delete from there!
Also, don’t be afraid to break a tradition down into smaller pieces. For me, “mail holiday cards!” is not a quick and simple task. It requires scheduling a photo shoot, purchasing outfits, designing and ordering our card, purchasing stamps, stuffing/sealing/stamping, etc.” Breaking the list into smaller tasks also helps remind me that I don’t have to do it all at once, and checking off the steps along the way makes me feel like I’m making progress. I could honestly write an entire post about how I break down this checklist into smaller lists and assign tasks by week leading up to Christmas!
Alright, without further ado…
My Holiday Checklist
- Christmas Cards
- Design and order holiday cards
- Update address spreadsheet
- Purchase stamps
- Stuff, stamp, and mail cards
- Decorate for Christmas
- Interior: Christmas tree, staircase garland, fireplace mantel garland, mini trees for kids rooms, framed Christmas card display, etc.
- Exterior: Hang wreaths, Christmas lights, wrap columns with red ribbon, etc.
- Go Christmas tree shopping and purchase a small real tree for kids to decorate
- Decorate our cars
- Family Holiday Traditions (I like to print this list and hang on the fridge. The kids get so excited anticipating all the fun things. And it’s an easy “Magic Maker” win.)
- Holiday Season Items to Purchase
- Christmas pajamas from Pajama Fairy (gifted at Thanksgiving)
- NEST Holiday candle (a gift to myself each holiday season)
- Holiday outfits for kids
- Advent calendar for kids
- Frasier Fir laundry detergent
- Wrapping paper for each family member, plus red paper from Santa
- Reindeer kit for Matt’s car
- Christmas lights for my car
- Magic reindeer food
- Christmas lights necklaces for kids
- Christmas Parties & Activities
- Plan Community Group Favorite Things Party
- Purchase Nutcracker tickets
- Schedule gift wrapping date night at Matt’s office
- Schedule End of Year Celebration Dinner & Family Planning Meeting for after Christmas
- Christmas Gifts
- Purchase gifts for Community Group Favorite Things Party
- Purchase gift for Supper Club Gift Exchange
- Give gift ideas for kids to grandparents
- Print Christmas Gifts Tracker and start planning gifts for each person
- Non-Family Gifts: In this section I keep a list of all the non-family members we like to give gifts to like teachers, bus drivers, our yard guy, etc. Since these are usually cash gifts, I note the amount too so I’m not guessing what I gifted previously.
- Christmas Eve
- Bake a birthday cake for Jesus
- Set out milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and reindeer
- Sprinkle reindeer food in the yard
- Exchange sibling gifts
- Wear Christmas pajamas to sleep
- Christmas Day: I include a link to my separate Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Checklist which includes recipes and shopping lists (for meals, treats, cocktails, etc.), reminders, and more.
- Post Christmas
- Label any new ornaments with date and keepsake notes
- Remove batteries from recordable storybook
- Write down highlights/memories in our Holiday Memories Book
A Few Notes:
- As a reminder, as you cruise through this list throughout the holiday season, don’t forget to make notes for next year. Example: need all new wreaths for windows (buy in early November).
- I treat this checklist as my “master list” for the season. So I include links to all my other important Christmas documents so they are all easily found in one place. Examples: holiday bucket list, gift list tracker, holiday meals + grocery lists, Christmas card address spreadsheet, etc.
- A note for my fellow phone note users, I’ve found this list to be too long to capture under the “Christmas” section in my “Holiday Notes,” so I include a link to this master document. Since I’m not actively working in this document most of the year, I will add things to my phone note as reminders to update my word doc the next time I’m working in it.
Alright, I hope this post was helpful to those of you like me who thrive with lists (I know this type of list making is not for everyone). And if you have any other tips or tricks, leave them in the comments!
Here’s to hoping we all have a manageable and enjoyable holiday season!