A no-stress checklist to prepare for Santa.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also incredibly stressful! Now that Christmas is coming, it’s important to take the first steps towards organizing for the holiday. 

We’ve got a nice list advising you on different areas of preparation and how to organize for them. Focus on one task at a time–getting gifts together or planning meals to name a few–and you’ll soon be able to kick back and enjoy the season.

1. Put Cards in Order

Start getting organized by putting together everything you will need for sending out cards. Collate friends’ and families’ addresses, and schedule a photo session sooner than later if you’re the type to run with a family portrait. If you’re writing a family newsletter, be sure to make a list of all the notable events that have happened this year so you don’t forget once you put pen to paper. Look into available options for designing and printing your cards or newsletters!

2. Get Decorations in Check

Don’t wait until the holiday approaches before getting your decorations in check. Get to decorating both indoors and out, and rummage through last year’s decorations to see what needs to be replaced. You’ll save yourself major headaches by finding a broken string of Christmas lights now rather than the moment you finally begin dressing the tree. And speaking of trees, start the hunt ASAP if you’re in need of a natural one.

3. Make a Menu

This is arguably the most stressful time of the year, so make things easy on yourself by planning meals now. This includes the menu for any big Christmas dinner as well as everyday meals. Pick any old day to make a batch of meals (or baked goods!) and freeze them to use later. This gives you one less thing to worry about it–and you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

4. Make a List, Check it Twice

Don’t let another day go by without having picked out gifts you plan to give. If you’re having trouble planning, it doesn’t hurt to ask friends or family for ideas. Make a list of your loved ones and what you want to give them–and get your shopping done fast!

5. Budget, Budget, Budget!

Set a budget for yourself so you can keep up on your funds; the holidays are no fun when you discover you’d gone into debt! Decide how much you’re willing to spend on gifts as well as decorations, food and other festive expenses.

It’s important to budget your time as well. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations and obligations if you don’t think you’ll be able to keep them (or simply don’t want to participate). Don’t spread yourself too thin!

6. Take stock on Party Supplies

Do you have everything you need? Ensure you have enough tableware for all your guests, as well as seating. Your Christmas dinner shouldn’t play out like a game of musical chairs! 

7. Be Vigilant on Deals

When planning gifts as well as your seasonal decorating, always be on the lookout for sales and deals. Set aside some time each week to peruse flyers from local stores for discounts, and make a list of anything you might want to pick up (and the expiration dates for applicable deals). Browsing will help you discover stuff you might not have thought of buying, and ensures you won’t be spending too much.