The Ultimate Way to Prepare for Christmas Now!

18 min read
The Ultimate Way to Prepare for Christmas Now!

How to Prepare for Christmas now – so you aren’t left in the shit when you get there….

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the busiest. If you’re not prepared, you’ll be running around like a chicken with its head cut off in December. Luckily, I have 20 ways for you to get started so that you can prepare for Christmas now without all the stress!

Christmas is always bat-shit crazy for Mums. Because let’s face it, if it wasn’t for us, Christmas would not happen!

Christmas is mental for Mums.  And any single thing that I can do to make it a bit easier – is gold!  Here are my tips on how to start preparing for Christmas right now!  So that hopefully, Christmas can be a lovely time of year, instead of needing to be sent off in a white van to a hospital for a special rest on Boxing Day!

More Reading:

20 Christmas Crafts to do with Your Toddler | Stay at Home Mum

1. Start Picking Up a Few Long-Life Pantry Items or Frozen Goods Now!

When you do your weekly or fortnightly grocery shop, consider picking up some items that have a long shelf life that you will use over the Christmas period.  This spreads the cost of feeding the hordes over the silly season over a few months.

Good examples of grocery items to pre-buy and put away include:

  • Frozen Party Pies and Sausage Rolls
  • Napkins and paper plates
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Fruit Cake
  • Bottles of wine
  • Potato Chips
  • Alcohol
  • Beer and Spirits
  • Canned Goods like tinned peas or vegetables.
  • Ice cream, frozen desserts
  • Lollies

Note: Just make sure you check the use-by date to ensure it will last until Christmas time!

Of course, this is just a starting point. You may want to add other items to your list based on your own personal preferences. But whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to start your shopping. After all, the early bird always gets the worm! Prepare for Christmas now!

Christmas Trifle with Raspberry Flummery | Stay at Home Mum

2. Talk to the Extended Family to Decide What is Happening and When

This is the hard one! Getting the extended family to decide on when and where celebrations will be held is hard before, but now with the new normal, well it’s an extra thing to think of. But if you have this information, you can at least start planning for it.

If at all possible, try not to schedule more than one large family dinner on Christmas Day, and see if the family will be willing to perhaps do a celebration on Boxing Day.  Dragging cranky children from place to place on Christmas Day when they just want to be home playing with their new toys is hard – on you and the kids.

If your family is being obstinate and difficult, tell them you need to start planning now so that the kids can have a great Christmas.

Many families have one celebration with one side of the family one year, and the other side the next year.

Note: Family is hard – but remember, the kids come first!!!!!

3. Pick Up a Gift Card or Two When Shopping or Out and About

$5 or $10 Gift Cards make for easy and well-received Christmas gifts for neighbours, friends, or extended families.  Not only that, if you buy a gift card from the supermarket every time you shop, you can then use these cards yourself for the big Christmas shop that needs to be done in December… It’s like forced savings!

You can pick up gift cards at the checkout from almost all supermarkets – just ask!

For example, next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a $25 gift card to a restaurant or department store. Then, when Christmas rolls around, you’ll already have a few gifts taken care of. So next time you’re out and about, pick up a gift card or two and prepare for Christmas now.

Link Your Credit Card Rewards to a Gift Card

A sneaky and free way to get free gift cards is to get a credit card that has rewards (only if it is right for you) – and opt for free gift cards instead of rewards points. It adds up quite a lot!

4. Talk to the Family about Gift Giving

I don’t think everyone should be buying Christmas gifts for every person in the family.  Not only is this financially stressful, it just isn’t necessary.  Personally, I think extended families should only buy for kids under 12 – and they only have a limit.

But if your family is into gift-giving – perhaps consider having a maximum amount (say $5 or $10) – or hand-made gifts, or even think about a Christ-Kindle  – where every family member’s name is put into a hat and everyone buys just one gift for that secret person!

Although gift-giving can be a bone of contention for most families, if you start talking about it now – it could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.

Gift Cards are a great gift idea especially as you can get a great deal in the after-Christmas sales!

Some ideas for Gift Cards include:


United States:

5. Set up a Calendar of Events for the Silly Season

Coming into December, the whole family is busy.  With the end-of-school concerts, family get-togethers, and parties, it can be really hard to keep a good check of what is coming up and when.  Think about printing a large calendar (or printing two A4 calendars and putting them together) to stick somewhere you will see every day (I particularly like the front of the fridge – because all family members go there a few times a day!).

Knowing what you have coming up makes it easy for you to plan ahead, and not double-book yourself which causes stress!

Another idea is that you can use the front of the fridge (white fridge or stainless steel) as a whiteboard!  Just grab the whiteboard markers (because permanent will have you cursing to get the stuff off!) – and start writing dates and times!

6. Print Off a Christmas Gift List

We have a free Christmas Gift List pinnable (download here) so that you can plan ahead what gifts you have, what you need, and your budget.  Ever thought of a great idea of what to get someone and then forgot (yep me too!) – this will help you out!  Keep it out of sight though!

It’s time to start thinking about the holidays and prepare for Christmas now! If you want to be prepared and organized this year, the first step is to print off a gift list. This will help you keep track of who you need to buy for, what they might like, and how much you’re willing to spend.

You can also use it to note down any ideas you have as you start your Christmas shopping. Trust us, this will save you a lot of stress in the long run. So print off your list now and get ready for the most wonderful time of the year!

christmas gift list e1507095319110 | Stay at Home Mum.com.au
Via Living Well Mom

7. Think About Your Christmas Menu In Advance

A full hot Christmas dinner with all the trimmings might be great for the places in the world that are cold at Christmas time, but if it is hotter than the sun at your place on Christmas Day like it is here in Australia, then think about your menu and what is do-able or easy to achieve.  Seafood is a popular choice in Australia, as is a barbecue lunch with fancy salads and a cold dessert.

Think about your menu now, and plan what ingredients you can purchase in advance, what you have to order, and how you can make your life easier before Christmas by doing as much pre-preparing as humanly possible!

Another idea is to have a Champagne Breakfast!  Breakfast is after all the best meal of the day – and you can have your celebration before the day gets too hot!

We will be publishing a few different Christmas menus in the next few weeks, so keep checking back so you can download them (FREE) to help you!

Quick Tip:  Order a ham, turkey, or seafood well in advance so you don’t miss out!

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8. Start Baking Items You Can Freeze in Advance

Most un-iced cakes and biscuits can easily be frozen up to two months in advance.  So if you have a free weekend, get baking now!!!  Just remember to double-wrap them in plastic wrap to keep the air out and prevent freezer burn.

Items that freeze really well include:

  • Cookie Dough
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Christmas Puddings
  • Rum Balls
  • Lasagnas

We highly recommend you pick up a book on freezing food in advance.  Our pick is Once a Month Cooking by Jody Allen.

9780143799689 | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

Once a Month Cooking is available from Angus & Robertson

9. Put Away Some Cash for Big Purchases

If you have decided on a budget or already chosen what you are going to give the kids and partner for Christmas, why now put those items on layby and start paying them off now or even start putting aside a little bit of money every day so you will have enough for Christmas.

This doesn’t have to be bulk cash.  Personally, I’ve set up my bank account to take $10 a day out of my bank account and put it into a separate account.  I also use the Acorns App, which is FANTASTIC as it rounds up any day-to-day purchases I make, and puts that round up into the stock market until I decide to take it out. 

Sounds confusing but it isn’t really.  For example, if I buy a coffee for $4.30, the Acorns App will round up the 70c to take the purchase up to $5 – and will place that 70c into the stock market where it will (hopefully) increase until I need it.  You can also set it up to take out a few dollars from your bank account per day so it is a great way to save money, fairly harmlessly.

It is a nifty way to save for Christmas without having to transfer bulk cash when you get paid when you need it the most (cause that hurts!).

acorns app | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

10. Drag Out the Christmas Decorations

See what is good, and what needs to go in the bin.  Test the fairy lights and see that they still work.  Use what you do have to decide on a colour scheme! It’s fun to change up your Christmas Tree and Decoration colours year to year.  Some beautiful colours to try include:

  • Green & Red
  • Purple & Silver
  • White Christmas Tree with Black decorations
  • Blue & Silver

Once you have decided on the colour, you can start picking up the baubles and tinsel wherever you can!

Christmas colours

11. Write a List of All the Family You Want to Send an Electronic Christmas Card to

Christmas cards are really just for the kids!  These days, sending an electronic Christmas card or just an email with all your family has been up to for the last year is sufficient.  Do up a template in Word or similar, and just amend each copy depending on who you are sending it to.

This way, you are still keeping in contact with extended family, but as you know, it is impossible to see them all at Christmas time.

Great electronic Christmas cards can be done through places like:

(I’ll find more!)

12. Check Out the Cheap Shops for Boxes, Wrapping Paper, Christmas Cards and Ribbon

Buying fancy Christmas paper is really a waste then kids just rip it up and it ends up in the bin.  Check out your local cheap shop instead!  Not only do they have paper, but they have boxes and bags (which I personally adore as they are re-useable) and cheap ribbons too.

An alternative to that, consider wrapping gifts in useful items, like a t-shirt or tea towel, and then decorate with twine.

On Christmas Cards, it seems many grown-ups don’t bother with them anymore, but the kids still find it fun to give them out to their friends.  So grab a box of 40 or so Christmas Cards from the cheap shops, and sit down with the kids to write them out to their friends!

Another great idea is to totally ditch the Christmas paper and just buy brown paper, and have the kids decorate with ribbon and markers and stamps!

Quick Tip:  Having a stash of batteries at home is a great idea – as not all toys or electrical goods automatically have them!

christmas wrapping

13. Buy Gifts Online To Save Time

Why leave the house and fight with other people to get to the shops when you can shop from the comfort of your bed with your mobile phone!  I adore online shopping, and usually, you get a better deal as it is easy to shop around, and many online stores offer an incentive to buy online, which usually cancels out the postage factor!

Plus another advantage is that many online stores will also wrap the gift for you for free!  So take advantage of that!

Check out our Christmas Gift Guides for all members of the family:

image 41 | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

14. Clean Out the Kid’s Toys and Wardrobe

New toys and clothing are always an evitable gift for kids.  So a good idea is to clean out all the toys and clothing that the kids no longer use, and donate them to charity.  By doing this early, you allow enough for those donations to get to who they need to, and make more room for the new stuff the kids will receive.

Plus it feels lovely and clean to have a bit of a Spring Clean before Christmas time.

Quick Tip:

Keep a note of all the clothing and shoe sizes of the kids you are buying for.  And if you are buying clothing for Christmas gifts, always buy a size larger than required so it will last them that little bit longer.  Most kids have a growth spurt over the Christmas period!

15. Plan a Homemade Gift Day – and Get the Kids Involved

Homemade Gifts by the kids are always appreciated by teachers and Grandparents.  Have a good look at places like Pinterest and find an age-appropriate craft gift that the kids can make and wrap now, to be put under the Christmas tree when it goes up.

Examples of easy gifts to make include:

image 42 | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

16. Need Christmas Cash? Sell Items You No Longer Need

I don’t think I’ve ever met a family that hasn’t felt truly poor just before Christmas.  It is expensive!  Seeing we have a bit of time between now and then, why not go through your shed, spare room, kids’ toys, and clothing, and tv cabinet and find items that you no longer need or use.  Choice Magazine reported recently that the average family has $5400.00 worth of goods they don’t use lying around the average house!  That is a load of money that will pay for the very best of Christmases!

Use your local free Buy Swap and Sell Facebook Pages to list your items (as they are local and free to list) – and start getting rid of them now!

To make the most of every item, make sure it is clean, and the photographs are clear and well lit.  If the item doesn’t sell within a few days, you can always consider slightly lowering the price until it does go.  Check other websites like eBay and Gumtree to see what similar items are selling for. Remember the closer to Christmas you are, the fewer money people have to spend, so start now!

17. Use Deal Sites to Buy Gifts – But Allow Time for Delivery

You can often buy branded gifts for up to 70% off if you look through deal sites.  The only negative is that sometimes these deal sites do take a while to send through the item, but if you see it now, grab it when it is on sale and you have plenty of time to allow for delivery (and then stashing it somewhere safe!).   Deal sites are also great places to get ideas on what to buy for various members of the family!

Great deal sites to try include:

18. Wrap Gifts as You Get Them

There is nothing worse than being up until 2 am on Christmas morning wrapping gifts!  Set aside 15 minutes in the weeks coming up to Christmas to wrap as you go. Make sure you write out a tag (or just write down who the gift is for in permanent marker) because it is so easy to forget what gift is for who.

20 Gorgeous Gift Wrapping Ideas for Christmas | Stay At Home Mum

19. Use Home Delivery for Last Minute Christmas Items (but book in advance)

Most of the Christmas rush comes on Christmas Eve or the night before that when Mums are busy buying fresh cream, custard, bread rolls, etc.  All those last-minute items that just can’t be bought in advance.  But rather than getting into a fistfight with other shoppers in the long lines, spend a bit of extra money having the last-minute items delivered.

Most large supermarket chains offer a home delivery option and provided you organise this in advance and you can be home to receive the delivery, this is a great stress-free way to ensure you get everything you need without the last-minute stress!

20. Know your bin and trash collections (they can get busy during the holiday season)

As any waste management professional will tell you, the holiday season can be a busy time for bin and trash collections. With all the extra wrapping paper, packaging, and food scraps, it’s important to plan your Christmas in a way that minimizes the amount of holiday trash and rubbish you produce.

One way to do this is to avoid using disposables wherever possible. Use reusable plates, cups, and utensils, and opt for cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

You can also reduce your holiday rubbish by composting food scraps and using recycled wrapping paper. By being mindful of your waste production, you can help to make the holiday season a little easier on your local bin and trash collectors.

21. Fill up your car before Christmas

Have you ever gotten stuck on the side of the road on Christmas Eve because you ran out of gas? It’s not a fun experience. You’re probably missing out on time with your family, or worse, you’re stuck dealing with a tow truck and an expensive bill.

No one wants that happening to them, so plan ahead this year and make sure you fill up your tank before Christmas. It’s also a good idea to check your oil levels and tire pressure. Nobody wants to deal with a flat tire on Christmas, so it’s best to be prepared. By taking these simple steps, you can avoid a stressful situation and have a Merry Christmas.

We will be adding to this list as we find more amazing hints and tips on how to prepare for Christmas now, so don’t forget to keep checking back for more information!

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and celebration. But they can also be a lot of work! If you want to enjoy the season without stress, prepare for Christmas now. Here are 20 ways to get started. Merry Christmas!

design pin 13 | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

The Ultimate Way to Prepare for Christmas Now! Pinnable

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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