110 Simple Things to Do to Get Ready and Prepare for Christmas

Because last year’s Christmas was chaotic to say the least, I put together a few tips and ideas to keep it from happening again. See these 110 simple ways to get ready and prepare for Christmas.

Christmas decorations
Photo by Pascal Claivaz on Pexels

Holidays always have a way of sneaking up on us, especially Christmas. As soon as Halloween hits, it seems like the Christmas season is upon us. Unlike last year, I am trying not to do everything at the last minute. The key is to plan and do as much as you can in advance. To be a little more organized this year and get a head start, I put together a few tips. See these 110 simple ways to get ready and prepare for Christmas. I hope they help.

Plan Your Calendar

calendar planner to prepare for Christmas

#1 Christmas Planner

Get a planner specifically for all of your Christmas plans and activities. Keep all of your thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and activities in this planner.

#2 Family Calendar

A family digital calendar is a great way to make sure everyone has all of the details they need for every family event.  Don’t forget to include grandparents.

#3 Dates

Get together with family to coordinate dates for all of your Christmas family gatherings.  

#4 Plan time to take off at work.

Depending on your job, you may need to put in for vacation days well in advance. 

#5 School events

If you have school-aged children, check with teachers or the school calendar for any activities or programs. 

#6 Special Events

There are a variety of other activities to consider when filling out your Christmas calendar.  Don’t forget:

  • Concerts – Watch for dates and order tickets early.
  • Church Services – Many churches have Christmas concerts, plays, caroling, and benevolent activities. 
  • Parties – If there are no parties that you are aware of, you may want to host your own.
  • Parades – The Macy’s Day Parade starts off the Christmas season, but local parades can be great annual traditions.
  • Time for Travel – Make plans early if you are planning on traveling over the holidays.

Travel Plans

luggage to prepare for Christmas travel

#7 Get any holiday trips scheduled.

#8 Make Travel arrangements

Once you know when and where you will be traveling, you can decide on your mode of transportation.  

#9 Check the car

If you will be driving, make sure the car is ready for a road trip.  Do a regular maintenance check before you leave – gas, oil, washer fluid, tires, emergency kit, air conditioner/heater, and all lights.

#10 Make Lodging Arrangements

If you are not staying with family members or friends, reserve your hotel in advance. You would not want to have a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” experience during the most wonderful time of the year!

Set a Budget

money to budget and prepare for Christmas

#11 Christmas Budget
Setting a budget is very important! If you do not have parameters for your spending, you can end up in a financial bind. With a little planning, you can have a good idea how much you will need to spend on:

  • Food
  • Gifts
  • Cards
  • Decorations

#12 Coupons

Sign up for different store rewards and loyalty programs to get valuable coupons. Check your email before shopping. 

#13 Use a Credit Card

If you are going to use a credit card for all of your Christmas shopping, it might be helpful to use a separate card only for those purchases. It is definitely easier to track your spending, and then pay it off at the end of the month.

#14 Cash back rewards

Check to see if you have a credit card with cash back rewards. Use the card throughout the year for your regular purchasing, and pay it off at the end of each month. In doing this, you do not pay interest, but you gain cash rewards. Cash those rewards in early November to use for Christmas spending.

#15 Keep a spreadsheet

Make a list of people to buy for, the budget is for each person, and a running total of what you spend. Don’t forget to calculate taxes into the total. If you use a program such as Google Sheets, you can keep it updated on your phone while you shop. It is nice to be able to see how much you have left in the budget for each person. I find this is the best way to stay within the budget.

Plan Gatherings

family Christmas gathering

#16 Who is hosting

Decide which family members are hosting which events. 

#17 Who is bringing food

It is easier on everyone if the food is divided up amongst people. Do a sign up sheet or group phone call to make decisions so everyone is on the same page.

#18 Set Family expectations/plans

It is a terrible feeling to go to an event and either under-spend or over-spend.  Set a budget with family and friends to keep this from happening. 

#19 Type of gifts

Decide if you will give store bought or homemade Christmas gifts. Last year at my parents’ house, we decided to only give either homemade gifts or gifts from home with special meaning. It took a little bit of thinking, but the gifts had a deeper meaning than just picking items off of a list.

#20 Other gift ideas

Some families enjoy White Elephant giving or drawing names. 

#21 Party games planned

If your family likes games, plan a few Christmas games.

#22 Neighborhood parties planned

This is a great way to kick off the Christmas season and get to know your neighbors. Keep it as informal as you wish. You could even do a quick ornament exchange.

#23 Parties with close friends

Don’t forget your friends. It is so easy to get caught up with all of the things to do and places to go. Set aside one night to spend with friends.

Gift Planning

#24 Make a list of people to buy for & amount to spend

Brainstorm every person you will be buying a gift for and add them to the spreadsheet.

#25 Gift ideas for each person

Keep a running list of ideas for people throughout the year. As you hear them mention something, jot it down on the list. If you do not have ideas, ask other family members for ideas or a Christmas list.

#26 Wish lists in advance

When an event is approaching where I will need a gift idea for my granddaughters, I get them to add things to one of my Amazon lists in my phone. 

#27 Plans at work

Every work place is different, so you want to communicate to find out what the consensus is on gift exchange or holiday parties. If it is decided to give gifts to everyone, start your gift buying early. The after Christmas clearance sales are the best time to stock up on gifts for the next year.

#28 Church gifts

The size of your church will determine if you can get something for all of the members, just the Sunday School class, or not at all. 

#29 Don’t forget gifts for the Fur-Babies.

Gift Exchange Ideas

#30 Ornament Exchange

#31 White Elephant

#32 Draw Names

#33 The 12 Days of Christmas

Last year at work, instead of giving each other gifts, we planned our first 12 Days of Christmas. Each person had a day and brought treats of some sort to bless the office.  See the link for more details.

Gift Giving Tips

#34 Gift Cards

Give gift cards to a person’s favorite store or restaurant.

#35 Buy extra gifts for unexpected guests.

#36 Keep extra gifts stored in a closet for all occasions.

#37 Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Take advantage of these sales! If you don’t want to fight the crowd, shop online.

#38 Online shopping

In general, online shopping will definitely save you time. Take a little time to do comparison shopping to get the best deals.

#39 Gift wrapping station

If at all possible, wrap gifts when you get them.


decorating to prepare for Christmas

#40 Decide on theme and color.

#41 Check for non-working lights.

#42 Take inventory

Indoor and outdoor lights, miscellaneous decorations, ribbons, ornaments

#43 Buy new stockings for any additions to the family.

#44 Tree Ornaments

Start a tradition of getting a new ornament yearly. It can be:

#45 Real or Artificial Christmas Trees (pre-lit or not)

#46 Decorate the tree as soon as possible to enjoy it longer.

#47 Storage solutions

Purchase totes for Christmas decorations and the large Christmas tree bags to store artificial trees.

#48 Tablescapes

Time to Relax 

relax during the Christmas rush

You probably won’t have much free time during the holidays, but it is important to carve out a little time each week to keep your sanity.

#49 Try to plan and do things in advance.

#50 Find a day to have to yourself.

#51 Schedule a hair appointment for cut and/or color.

#52 Get a manicure and/or pedicure. 

#53 Soak in a bubble bath, and light candles.

Preparing Your Home

cleaning the house to prepare for Christmas

#54 Declutter and donate:

  • Toys
  • Clothing
  • Household Items

#55 Clean the house.

#56 Clean the oven.

#57 Get guestrooms ready

  • Beds
  • Sheets, pillows, and extra blankets
  • Towels
  • Toiletries

#58 Assess the seating arrangements

Borrow or rent any extra tables and chairs that are needed.


preparing for the Christmas meal

#59 List all meals for all gatherings

Family, work, church, neighborhood

#60 Plan Menus

Have a meal plan.

#61 Give any new recipes a try before the event.

#62 Order or purchase a turkey in advance.  

Be sure to start thawing it out early, according to the weight. This can take a couple of days.

#63 Make a grocery order

Ingredients, any supplies, food packaging products, list of fresh ingredients to get closer to time.

#64 Baking list

See if anything that can be pre-baked, and come up with a baking schedule.

#65 Drinks and Ice

#66 Cook and freeze any meals.

#67 Make candy and Christmas cookies in advance.

#68 Order any take-out meals in advance.

If you are looking for delicious but super easy candy recipes, get these 5 Easy Candy Recipes. They are my “go to” recipes for the holidays.

Supplies to Buy

stocking up on toilet paper to prepare for Christmas

#69 Batteries

#70 Stock up on cleaning supplies and essentials

(TP, napkins, paper towels, etc.)

#71 Paper products & serving items

Disposable products – cups, silverware, plates, bowls, take-out packages, and aluminum casserole pans

#72 Gift wrapping supplies

Wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, bows, sacks – Stock up after Christmas to save money the following year.

#73 Purchase postage.

For the Kids

#74 Elf on the Shelf ideas

Here is a link to a website for ideas, or look on Pinterest.

#75 Santa letters

#76 Visit Santa

#77 Set out milk & cookies on Christmas Eve.

#78 Go to a movie theater to see Christmas movies.

#79 Decorate a gingerbread house.

The Reason for the Season

#80 Plan Christmas devotionals for the family.

#81 Advent events

Advent calendar, candles, and wreaths

#82 Food Banks

Participate in canned food drives. Make a small contribution to charities.

#83 Plan to attend a Christmas Eve Service.

#84 Church ideas

Gifts, devotionals, community outreach

#85 ​Read the Christmas story together as a family before opening presents.

Christmas Cards and Packages

Christmas cards

#86 Keep addresses digitally

Keep an ongoing list to reuse each year. Print address labels.

#87 Have a card list

Ones to be mailed & ones to be hand delivered

#88 Choose the type of cards to send

  • Traditional store bought cards
  • Homemade cards
  • Christmas letters
  • Family pictures

#89 Take time to write cards

#90 Check postal deadlines & mail packages and cards.

#91 Send Invitations or Save the Date cards out for parties.

Miscellaneous Ideas

playing Christmas music at the piano
family pajama party for Christmas

#92 Family photos taken

#93 Pick Christmas music

Christmas playlist of the family’s favorite Christmas music – Sirius XM, Prime Music, Spotify, radio stations, vinyl records for a vintage sound

#94 If anyone plays instruments in the group, have a sing along.

#95 Assemble toys in advance.

#96 RSVP to all invitations.

#97 Choose Christmas outfits

Adults and kids

#98 Buy matching family pajamas.

#99 Shop resale shops for Ugly Christmas sweaters.

#100 Make homemade gifts.

​Fun Things to Do

family pajama party for Christmas

Keep a list of things that come to mind throughout the year.

#101 Decorate the tree together as a family.

Put on a Christmas movie or music playing, and serve hot chocolate while decorating.

#102 Keep Family Traditions

Parades, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, etc.

#103 Train rides

#104 Family Pajama Party (See the link here for an example.)

#105 Watch a Christmas Movie together.

#106 Have a Cookie Exchange Party

#107 Go Christmas caroling.

After Christmas

after Christmas sales

#108 Keep everything stored and organized with totes and labels.

#109 Shop the clearance sales.

Look for great deals and clearance items for next year. Stock up on wrapping paper, Christmas cards, tags, decorations, gift bags.

#110 Shop sales for office and teacher gifts for next Christmas.


Related Posts

How to Plan and Host a Holiday Cookies Exchange Party – Bungalow 47
How to Have the Best Family Christmas Movie Night
How to Save Money at Christmas and Throughout the Year

These 110 Simple Ways to Get Ready and Prepare for Christmas should help a great deal in being a little more prepared than I was last year. I know this does not cover everything. In fact, I would love to hear your ideas and Christmas traditions that I did not think of for this post. Please share! Christmas Day will be here before we know it! We will have ample time if we start now.

Until next week…

Have a Grace and Joy-Filled Week,


disclosure: affiliate links are used on this page. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Home with Grace and Joy.

“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” Psalms 94:19

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  1. YES to planning ahead, Susan. We’re the family that has the tree up as soon as our Spooky Soiree is over because my Mom and all her sisters LOVE Christmas. Honestly, we travel a lot during the holiday season season so I’m thankful we can enjoy it for as long as possible. Can’t wait to implement some of these ideas and will share in next Friday’s From the Front Porch post. Hugs, CoCo

    1. I would love to have my tree up longer. Since all of our parents have gotten older, we host Thanksgiving at our house, so we wait until the day after to put it up. I am looking forward to seeing pictures from your Spooky Soiree! It sounds like so much fun! Thank you so much for sharing in next Friday’s post – so exciting!!! That is one of my favorite posts each week!

  2. I love the ‘tree’ on the wall – I may have to do something similar as I do not have space for an actual tree in our apartment.
    Thank you for sharing your links with us at #282 SSPS Linky. See you again next week.

  3. This is a fabulous list! I am pinning this one. And I love the wooden tree on the wall. So cute.
    I loved meeting you at Achieve Susan. If you can believe it, I just got home as we made a tour to see all of our
    kids after the conference.

    1. Thanks! I enjoyed meeting you too! I just read your post from the She Shed. It sounds like you all had a great time visiting! I love your she shed by the way – it is beautiful!! It inspires me to do a little more to mine. I am out of school this week. so I am hoping to spend a little more time out there. Have a great weekend!

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