Christmas Preparation Planner 2023

Get into the festive spirit early with our ultimate Christmas checklist. Start with your budget, and finish it with the perfect Christmas day.
Colby Brin
November 15, 2022
min read

Christmas is coming up fast, and even though it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year, it also comes with a lot of chores, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s never too early to draw up a Christmas preparation checklist. (Although we recommend doing it at least a month in advance.

All the gift buying, tree decorating, food preparing, travel planning, and party inviting can be a bit stressful for some of us, but having a Christmas checklist, or Christmas to-do list, can ease the burden. It will help you make sure you’ve taken care of it all with time to spare, so the days leading up to the 25th of December won’t feel harried and exhausting.

Which will let you enjoy all the festivities even more.

1. Plan your 2023 Christmas budget 

The first crucial step in making a successful Christmas checklist is to make a Christmas budget. Most importantly, and obviously, it will keep you from running out of money before you’ve finished buying everything you need to buy, as knowing the approximate festive budget lets you save up money for Christmas.

But it will also give you peace of mind. Because in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you’ll be confident that you’ll have enough money for everything you need, and that you won’t have to go into any debt.

We’ve written a post that will help you when planning Christmas on a budget, but generally speaking, to get started, you’ll want to split your overall budget into different categories like Christmas food, Gifts, Decorations, and whatever else you know you’ll have to buy. 

HyperJar can help follow your Christmas budget without mucking around with spreadsheets. You can create a Jar for each of your categories, and link your HyperJard card to the applicable Jar when you want to spend from it. It’ll make tracking your spending super easy.

2. Check your current Christmas inventory

Next, take stock of your current inventory. For instance, do you already have some decorations, wrapping paper, or food on hand? You can then subtract those items from your larger budget.

It’s worth mentioning that instead of looking at the items you already have as a chance to add money to your budget, it might be a good idea to look at them as a way to save money this Christmas.  Read our guide on frugal Christmas 2023 to find out more about how to save money during the Christmas period.

And one more rec — write the items you already have down, and take the list with you when you go shopping. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to forget exactly what you already have and buy it again.

3. Prepare your holiday calendar 

Next up, prepare your holiday calendar. It should include your holiday commitments like get-togethers, volunteering, and carol singing. It should also include unscheduled commitments like putting up decorations, buying gifts, and going food shopping. Try assigning a separate day for each task prior to Christmas , so you don’t have to cram a lot of them in as the day approaches.

Along with your budget, this is another step towards making sure you maintain peace of mind and can fully enjoy the holiday season. 

4. Research and create your gift & card list

Now create a Christmas gift and card list. This should include writing down all the people you want to send gifts to, and the ideal gift you’d like to get them. And, of course, the people you will simply send a card to.

By now, you have your budget all lined up, so you’ll be able to get a solid understanding of how much to spend on each recipient. You can even use your HyperJar Jars to allot money to certain people or families — and to make sure you don’t overspend.

5. Draft out your Christmas dinner menu

Are you hosting Christmas at your house this year? In that case, you’ll want to draft a Christmas menu. In fact, this might be one of the earliest parts of your checklist you should complete.

That way, you can space out all the cooking so it won’t infringe on your other tasks. For instance, you can make a Christmas cake up to 3 months in advance and freeze it. Mince pies can be made up to a month before, sauces up to a week, and so on.

Again, it’s all having a timeline that takes so much of the stress out of all the holiday obligations.

6. Put up your Christmas decorations

Okay, now we’re getting to one of the more fun parts, where you can really dive into the spirit of the holiday. The smell of the tree, the glow of the lights, the shine of the tinsel…this is when Christmas truly starts feeling magical. 

Putting up your decorations might seem like something you can do at any time, or squeeze in between other steps. But having a certain scheduled date to do it will make sure nothing is rushed. It will also make sure you have time to go out and buy any decorations you don’t have on hand. And in that case, having a Decorations Jar will help you stay on budget.

7. Deck out the tree

Needless to say, decorating the tree is the central part of putting up Christmas decorations.

Again, even scheduling a specific time to do this will serve you well. Especially if you’d like to invite friends and family to come over and help. With everyone else running around to fulfil their own obligations, it can be hard to find a time when multiple people are free.

8. Go Christmas shopping!

Okay, now that you’ve laid all the groundwork, it’s time to go shopping! Gift shopping, card shopping, grocery shopping, decoration shopping, and whatever other kinds of shopping you need to take care of.

And again — and I know I’m repeating this — doing this early can get much of the Christmas stress out of the way. Food can be frozen, gifts can be wrapped and hidden away, and cards can be sent out pretty much any time in December.

Shopping is where your Jars will really come in handy.

9. Wrap gifts & send cards

Time to wrap the gifts and send the cards out! If you’re sending gifts and cards by post, it’s best to take care of this the first or second week of December at the latest. That way, you’ll not only get to check off another line on your list early. You’ll also make sure that in case there are any delays with the postal service during this busy time, your gifts and cards will still arrive on time.

And with regards to the gifts you’ll be giving in person, you can wrap those up early too. There are few things more annoying than having to rush out to buy wrapping paper and tape at the last minute.

10. Preparation for the big day…

You’ve made your budget, you’ve bought your food, gifts, and other essentials, and you’ve decked out your tree. Around a week before Christmas, it’s time to take care of your final preparations.

The week before Christmas

The week before Christmas should be focused on quality family time, and you may also want to revisit your checklist and budget, just to make sure everything’s in order. Including seeing that the gifts are wrapped, and the food is ready for cooking.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, it’s really time to make sure all the gifts and food are ready or near-ready. And, of course, to kick back and relax with friends and loved ones. You’re almost there!

Christmas Day

You’ve done it. You did your ‘homework’, took care of everything in advance, and set the stage for a lovely, stress-free Christmas. Now it’s time to enjoy all your conscientious work.

Next steps


I hope this guide to a Christmas preparation checklist was helpful. Here are some other handy links, in case you might find them helpful: A Christmas Gift Budget, Cheap but thoughtful Christmas gifts, and 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Colby Brin

Head of Copy

Colby Brin is Head of Copy at HyperJar. With over 17 years of professional writing experience, Colby’s been a journalist, ghostwriter, language consultant, and writing trainer. Having previously served as Head of Copy at Wise, he’s worked in fintech for over six years. A native of New York City, Colby graduated from the University of Michigan, and has lived in London for two years.

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