Why I Start Planning Christmas by September

Why I Start Planning Christmas by September

There is a lot to plan for Christmas every year. From gifting everyone on your list, baking treats, hosting dinner, crafts to decorations. If you wait until after Thanksgiving- it is just a mad dash to the finish line! I want a stress free holiday season so that is Why I Start Planning Christmas by September and here is how I do it.


Our family is spread out from the West Coast to East Coast so by September, we need plans on where we will be spending Christmas. If you travel during the holiday season, you know what a huge headache it is! Travel arrangements need to made early with a back-up plan. We have spent our Christmas one more than one occasion stuck in an airport! We have done it all from spending Christmas in our own home to traveling 2,500 miles by plane, 4 hour road trips, or meeting family in the mountains. Whatever the situation, there is planning to be done.

Here is the location to-do list (some may not apply):

  • Where
  • With who
  • Dates
  • Request time off from work.
  • Hotel
  • Flight/car arrangements
  • Meal planning- are you cooking, bringing food? If you are the host, meal planning should start now. Also, consider what items can be baked or cooked beforehand to freeze!
  • If you are hosting, help guests by having dates and times set early so they can begin planning travel.


I admit- I actually start Christmas shopping before September. I make a Christmas list usually in July or August writing down all the names of people (and pets) we are buying for. From there, start brainstorming ideas and have a list complete by September of every item you are purchasing. September and October should be your main shopping months and finish on Black Friday for those last minute deals. We are into mid- September now and I have over 50% of my shopping complete. Thanksgiving weekend, I spend purchasing those last few gifts, putting the tree up and wrapping gifts.

I love doing my shopping early because the stress is so much lower going into December. December is a busy month of activities and family get-togethers and work parties and this or that. Shopping for the 30 people on your list (maybe you have more, maybe you have less) doesn’t have to be one of those December activities. Plus, it is nice not having to spend all that money all at once! December is an all around expensive month so give yourself some room to breath.

The above lists are printable when clicked. Give a Christmas Wish List to your children to get ideas and create a Shopping List for yourself to stay organized today.

Christmas Wish List

Christmas Shopping List – place a name in each box

One of my favorite gifts are in the form of gift baskets for people on my list. Come up with a theme and grab items weekly to fill those baskets. I have done all sorts of themes like movie night, coffee lover, wine, baking… this year I am putting together some tea baskets with antique cups, a variety of tea bags and some other fun things I come across while out shopping or running errands.


If you like to do crafts, Christmas crafting needs to start by early fall or there just won’t be time. My interest in crafting fluctuates constantly… sometimes I all about homemade everything… and sometimes not so much. When I am doing crafts for other people as part of gifts- it has to start as early as possible to complete. Don’t procrastinate this one because it can end up being a huge scramble to the end. A couple years ago, I made a doll house for a niece that I had to start in the summer to complete before December so take into account the type of crafts you want to finish and overestimate how long it will take to complete.


Christmas decorations are out at places like Hobby Lobby by August and sales already start. Guess what? People are BUYING the Christmas stuff now so shop early on sale days to get first pick and great prices. Plus, shopping early for decorations gives you the opportunity to make a solid décor plan so your house looks amazing by December and you have time to enjoy it all inside your home.

When do you start planning Christmas? If you plan early like me, leave some tips to share with us all in the comments below.

**photography from Unsplash 


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