Illustration of pine boughs and berries

The winter holidays are approaching faster than you can say, “Wasn’t it JUST August?!?”. While we’re inclined to agree with Andy Williams that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, running out of tape mid-gift wrap is a glaring omission from that song. Understandably so. Long story short, the holidays are coming, and organizing things ahead of time makes them so much merrier (and less stressful). Here’s what to do and when!

6 weeks to December 1st

Decide on your holiday plans. Whatever you’re planning to do this holiday season, decide on it now. That way, you, your family and friends will all have time to make the necessary arrangements.

Make a (gifting) list and check it twice. Write down the names of the people you’d like to give gifts to, add some gifting ideas next to their names and note which gifts need to be shipped vs. given in person. 

Create (and share) gift wish lists. We all know Santa likes them, but seriously, coming up with gift lists beforehand to let each other know what everyone would love ensures joy for all.

Update your holiday card list. Look through your current list to see who you’d like to add for this year. If you’re going the eco-friendly digital card route, import your email addresses now to have them ready to go. 

Prep for your holiday photo. Book your holiday photographer now! The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely they’ll be booked up for the season.

4 weeks to December 1st

Shop for holiday decorations. Want to add a shiny new bauble or two to your home? Get your decorations now, so you’ll have them ready to go once it’s time to decorate!

Shop for gifts. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are thought of as THE days for deals, but really, there are amazing sales before and after that long weekend. Don’t forget to check the return policies and shipping estimates before you purchase.

Send out your holiday party invitations. You’ll want to give people plenty of time to make childcare arrangements, shop for gifts if there’s a gift exchange involved, find a festive outfit and figure out travel logistics. December 15th is the most popular day for holiday parties, so if you’re thinking of hosting a party that week, get those invitations out ahead of time to avoid conflicts with other parties. We recommend sending your invitations:

  • 4–6 weeks before the party if you have guests visiting from out of town or if the party involves a lot of prep like catering.
  • 2–4 weeks before the party if it’s a more casual get-together, a gift exchange or an after-hours work party.
  • 1–2 weeks before the party if it’s an office lunch party or a virtual event.

And don’t forget, Hanukkah begins early this year (November 28th), so if you’re planning to celebrate, make plans now and send out those invitations!

Think about what to wear. Sequins! Velvet! Ugly sweaters! This is the time to go all out and be a bit extra. Or a lot extra. Your call.

Plan out your Christmas menu. Turkey? Ham? Goose? Figure out what your main dish will be, then plan around that. While Thanksgiving has a fairly set menu, Christmas dinner is a little more open to interpretation. You can opt to serve dishes you traditionally enjoy or incorporate something new into the feast.

2 weeks to December 1st

Send out cards. People love receiving and displaying holiday cards. Send your cards now so they can be enjoyed all season long. 

Assess your old holiday decor. Before you decorate, take a moment to confirm that you have all of the cords and hooks you need. Also, plug in your lights to make sure that they’re still actually lighting up.

Make your holiday party shopping list. Food? Drinks? Tablescape decor? Dinnerware, flatware and drinkware? Write down everything you think you’ll need for your party to determine what you need to get (and note what you already have). 

1 week to December 1st

Get your Christmas tree. If you have an artificial one, skip this, but if you love the real deal, the week of Thanksgiving or right after is the perfect time to get yours. If you get it too early, you risk it drying out. Too late, and you may end up with a tree that’s seen better days.

Deck those halls. It’s time to decorate. Go, go, GO!

Make those hauls. Ah, it’s Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/Cyber Week. As we said previously, this isn’t the only time to score a sweet deal, but if you were too busy to shop before now, make the most of the sales and get your gifting done.

Make last-minute Hanukkah plans. You have eight days and nights to celebrate! Create an invitation for an evening get-together, or send a Hanukkah card to someone you won’t see in person this year.

Get your wrapping paper (and tape!). Now that you know what you need to wrap, it’s time to get the supplies: wrapping paper, tape, scissors, gift tags, gift bags, ribbon, bows and for the awkward to wrap, cellophane. 

Buy your party supplies and food. You should be able to get the majority of your party essentials now to have them ready for your holiday gathering. We even have a curated list of great options right here.

Week of December 1st

Panic. We’re kidding—it’s going to be fine. You have 24ish days left to get everything done, so have some eggnog and relax. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Buy thank you cards. Get your thank you cards now to have them ready post-holidays, or if you’re worried you won’t have time to send out paper cards, send them digitally with one of our designs.

Start wrapping gifts. Set aside some time to wrap everything. Doing everything all at once is lovely since you can pack away the wrapping materials afterward, but make sure to keep them within reach for last-minute gifting.

2 weeks to Christmas

Send out digital holiday cards. Whether you think they’re more environmentally friendly, economical, or you just don’t have time for the paper ones, digital holiday and Christmas cards are a great way to send along some holiday cheer.

1 week to Christmas

Send out eGift cards. If you’ve run out of time to shop for a physical gift, don’t know what they like or can’t ship something, opt for an eGift card!

Pick up any last-minute sips and bites. With everything else going on, who could blame you for forgetting the Baileys or Santa’s cookies? Try to go to your local store during an off-time (in other words, NOT on the weekend or right after work) to grab any overlooked items. 

That’s it! Yes, it’s a lot. But the holidays come but once a year, so enjoy the happy moments and celebrate every time you check something off your list. Happy holidays!