Start Planning For A Stress-Free Christmas Holiday
The Complete Guide To Planning The Perfect Christmas Day
Everyone needs a little help to plan the perfect festive season. We have years of experience helping families celebrate. To make sure you enjoy a relaxing holiday season with fun activities and awesome new gifts, we’ll help you plan ahead for your Christmas party celebrations.
If you want to make sure you have time for fun holiday activities and avoid the stress and rush in the build up to Christmas, a little pre-planning makes a world of difference.
When should you start planning for Christmas?
It's October, and that means the Christmas holidays are just around the corner. With expected postal delays this year, and a large amount of uncertainty about what we will and won't be able to do, it's definitely not too early to get started with our Christmas planning. Whether you are thinking of ideas to make a family Christmas special, going away for Christmas, or staying home there so many little things you can get started with now to make the Christmas season as stress-free as possible. If you're thinking of hosting Christmas at your place, there's even more to organise! You should start your Christmas planning as soon as possible.
Start making your list and checking it twice! Here’s our ultimate checklist for what to organise as we count down to Christmas.
Late October - 8 weeks until Christmas
Create a Christmas shopping list. Write down all the friends and family you plan to buy for this year as well as a rough budget. Christmas time always comes with the temptation to spend more than we should. If you know what your holiday spending limits are for each person, it’s easier to shop with no post-Xmas regrets.
You can use the Gifts Australia wishlist feature to ‘heart’ your favourite Christmas gift ideas for each member of the family. As you browse and discover fun gift inspiration, you can narrow down your gift options until you find the perfect present.
Make a list with your Christmas plans, holiday dates, and activities. Make a calendar to keep on the fridge to keep everyone up to date. Confirm with your guests that everyone’s holiday leave has been approved. You might need a separate list for the activities planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Check what Christmas food can be organised in advance. We don’t know what will happen with shopping restrictions, so fill the freezer and pantry with any festive food essentials so you don’t need to stress as it gets closer to the 25th of December.
Update your Christmas card list. Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t forget to add someone important. Then go shopping for some cute Christmas cards. Check the Christmas cupboard for your stocks of essentials like Christmas wrapping paper, gift tags, bons-bons, festive table decorations, serviettes, and candles.
Mid November - 5 or 6 weeks until Christmas
Pre-order any Christmas hampers now for delivery. If you’re planning an early Xmas party, get in quick. Our complete range of festive food and wine hampers are released for delivery from the 12th November, but will be available to schedule for pre-order. You can take advantage of AfterPay and Zip for budget-friendly payment options.
Get serious with your Christmas shopping. If you’ve had a couple of weeks of gathering Christmas gift inspiration and you’ve made a good wishlist, now it’s time to decide on your major purchases. Do your Christmas shopping early for the bigger gifts for the kids or your partner. These are the presents you want to avoid leaving until the last minute.
If you’re mailing out Christmas cards, do it early. It’s important to stay in touch with extended family. But this year, it might be an idea to save adding to the postage queues and either send your annual Christmas card at the same time as you mail your present, or settle for a Zoom call.
Late November - 4 weeks until Christmas
Now is the time to really finish off all of your online shopping. Don’t risk any postage delays or leave yourself rushing to organise gifts or trying to get everything wrapped at the last minute. If you have younger kids in the house (or big kids that can’t be trusted not to go snooping for presents!) then make sure you have a good hiding place to stash your kids' xmas gifts. Kids can spot a gift parcel delivery from a hundred paces. So if you’d rather not risk ruining their Christmas surprise, wrap and label every gift as it arrives. A better option might be to ask for gift wrapping when you make your Christmas purchase at Gifts Australia.
Do a Christmas stock-take of all your decorations including the Christmas tree. Check your Xmas lights in case you need to buy new LEDs. If you’re hosting a big family celebration and need new Christmas kitchenware, festive décor, or tree ornaments, now’s the time to get that organised.
First Week of December - 3 weeks until Christmas
It’s starting to feel like Christmas! Now’s the time to put up your Christmas decorations and trim the tree. It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who loves to go all-out with festive cheer to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, or if you prefer a simple Christmas tree, the beginning of December is the time to start decorating.
Many families follow the tradition of decorating the tree together on the very first day of December. For 2021, the 1st of December is a Wednesday, so you might prefer to wait until the weekend and plan a special pre-Xmas celebration. Either way, be sure to deck the halls and put a few Christmas presents around the base of the tree to celebrate the Christmas countdown.
The beginning of December also means it’s time to finalise your Christmas menu and get your food shopping done. Work out what you need for Christmas Eve and plan out the Christmas lunch feast. Contact your local butcher to order the centrepieces of your meal like the Christmas ham or turkey. If you enjoy a kilo of prawns on the BBQ at Christmas time, make sure you order in advance to avoid disappointment.
Mid December - 2 weeks until Christmas
Hopefully by now all your gifts have arrived. Make sure to wrap all the presents and arrange them temptingly under the tree! There’s nothing more exciting for kids than a big pile of Christmas presents with their name on it just waiting for them. If you have any last minute gifts to buy, don’t leave it any later to finish off your Christmas shopping. Standard delivery options for Christmas delivery across Australia close this week.
It’s time to stock up on beer and wine, and any other non-perishable items. Fill the pantry with Christmas treats, chocolates, nuts, and your favourite festive foods. Make a shopping list of all the fresh food you need to buy next week.
By this point you should be able to judge how busy the shops will be in the rush before Christmas. Now is the time to decide whether or not you want to order a gift basket delivery for sweet treats and your fresh fruit and vegies. It might be easier in your area to book a Christmas fruit box with cherries and summer fruit so it’s ready to pick up on whatever day you have free.
Make your Christmas pudding. Nothing says Christmas quite like a traditional rum pudding with custard and the earlier you get yours done, the better. Any foods that will last until Christmas, or that can be frozen, should be prepared this week.
Last Weekend Before Christmas Eve
By the 17th of December, you’ve hit the home stretch. The school holidays have started and, if you’re lucky enough to get a break from work over the Christmas period, you might even join them next week on their Christmas holidays.
Now it’s time to finish off all the last minute fresh food shopping and get the house in order. Clean out the fridge to make room for all the Christmas goodies. Remind the kids not to eat all the Christmas food before the big day.
If you have guests visiting, this is your chance to do a massive house clean from top to bottom so you only have to do a quick vacuum and make up the guest room before they arrive.
Re-check your Christmas gift list and the guest list to make sure there’s no one that’s been forgotten. If you’ve received an unexpected gift from someone and you don’t have a present to give them in return, this is your absolute last chance to order with express delivery (and your fingers crossed!).
Final Week Before Christmas
Hopefully by now, you’ve been organised enough that you can relax and enjoy your Christmas. If you have a full calendar, then there’s no time to waste! But if Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be your busiest time, then grab a couple of rest days to chill out.
You still need to make time to plan out your big Christmas lunch, tweak the menu, and arrange the table. If you're planning a big Chrissy spread with all the trimmings, it might be an idea to lay out your table decorations and serving ware in advance so you can get it all to your liking.
Two Days Before Christmas
If you’re catering the event, now is the time to get cooking! With only 48 hours until your guests arrive for Christmas, you need to schedule your oven time and start taking pre-prepared food out of the freezer.
Decorating the house with gorgeous fresh flowers is a great way to add some colour. Purchase your fresh cut flowers 48 hours before your Christmas gathering starts so they have time to fully open. Any sooner and the flowers won’t last throughout the heat of Christmas. Any later and they won’t have fully bloomed. Hopefully this will be your last trip to the shops so be sure to pick up anything you’ve forgotten.
The Day Before Christmas
Hopefully your ultimate Christmas checklist was a success. By now you should be totally organised and on schedule for a great Christmas celebration with nothing left to do.
Before you kick back with a drink and enjoy the festivities, the final things to organise are: charge your camera and phone batteries, make sure your camera’s memory card isn’t full, finish any last minute gift wrapping, put a selection of favourite beverages in the fridge, call any friends and family that aren’t travelling this year to wish them a merry Christmas, and then do your final quick tidy up.
Congratulations! You’ve officially made it to Christmas Eve. Your guests can arrive, the Champagne can be popped, you might even be able to open just one early Christmas present before the official gift giving on Christmas Day. It’s time to kick back and relax, enjoy some Christmas cheer, and celebrate the season with your loved ones.