As October begins, we all start to prepare for the holiday season. Christmas is only a few months away now, which means the preparations for the big holiday must start soon. That is especially true if you plan to spend Christmas dinner with an entire family. From thinking about food to creating an ever so unique Christmas card and buying everyone amazing gifts, there’s so little time to make everything perfect. Therefore, if you still haven’t started your Christmas countdown checklist, we’re here to help you put one together.

Work out the budget

Money is always the number one item to deal with on the list. You need to know how much money you’ll have available for the holidays so that you can plan everything accordingly. The last thing you need is to invite more people than you can actually buy food and gifts for. Therefore, sit down, grab a pen and paper and start calculating. Keep in mind the food, beverages, gifts, wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, new clothes potentially, Christmas card expenses, and anything else that you may have spent money on in the years before.

Look for gift inspiration

After you’ve figured out how much money is in at your disposal, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gift ideas. For some people, hunting for presents is a nightmare, as they barely have creative ideas. If you’re one of those people, the Internet is there to make it easy for you. From Pinterest to a variety of blogs, you can easily look up inspiration online and find something for everyone. If nothing speaks to you, sit down and think about some of the items that your loved ones have been checking out for a few months. Nothing comes to mind? You can always ask your friends what they’re getting for their families, and maybe that will spark your imagination.

Create a list of gifts

Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, put them on paper. You don’t want to forget about some of the amazing Christmas gifts that you’ve thought of. Make sure you write down everyone’s names and list the gifts underneath. Note down everything from smaller personal Christmas gifts to major gifts and stocking fillers, because when gift shopping begins, you can easily oversee a few items. The last thing you need is last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve just because you thought you’d remember everything.

Consider a Christmas card

Have you sent out family Christmas cards before? Have you always wanted to do it but never got the right idea about it? Well, if you start thinking about now when Christmas is more than two months away, you’ll have enough time to come up with several ideas. Furthermore, you can even hire a professional photographer and have the best pictures that you’ll cherish forever. Be sure to put down the date of sending out the cards in your calendar too, so that everybody gets it on time.

Hunt for decorations

No matter how many decorations we already own, somehow, we have to buy for more before every Christmas. Therefore, it’s important to note down that you need to look for more decorations for both the house and the presents. You can never get enough wrapping paper and bows, so be sure you stock up on both. Shop for the paper before you get the presents. That way, you’ll be able to wrap the Christmas gifts immediately as you buy them. That will save you a lot of time, allowing you to relax on Christmas Eve, instead of swamping yourself with papers and bows. If you’ve been stressing out over gift wrapping year after year, this little step will make the gift preparation much easier and faster.

Make the most of holiday sales

Shopping for Christmas gifts is always best during holiday sales. Black Friday deals usually offer the best discounts, allowing you to save up to 70% on pricey gadgets, wardrobe or home necessities. Therefore, fill up your shopping cart with gift ideas, but don’t go to checkout just yet. Wait for the sales to start and see if you can get any of the desired items for a much better price. Christmas decorations, gingerbread house-making kits, or advent calendars are also some of the items you may shop at more affordable prices during Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales. Aside from the items on your list, feel free to shop a little bit extra and throw a few boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine in the basket too. You never know who might pop up unannounced to your dinner. The last thing you need is somebody thinking they weren’t welcome, or even worse, forgotten about.

Set up a Christmas dinner menu

Christmas dinner is always the meal everyone looks forward the most during holidays. That’s why you should do your best to prepare the most delicious feast ever. To do that, you’ll need a full spectrum of groceries and ingredients that’s impossible to memorize. Therefore, your Christmas checklist should also include the food for the Christmas dinner menu. It’s important to keep in mind any dietary restrictions some people may have. Be sure you ask around in case you’re not sure if somebody has any intolerances or if they’re on special food regimens. Make a cooking timeline, so you don’t have to prepare everything on Christmas Day. If some food can be prepared in advance, by all means, schedule it, so you’re not overwhelmed on the day of Christmas. If you’re ordering some food from the grocery store, plan for delays and longer delivery time during peek season.

Final thoughts

While Christmas is the happiest of all the holidays, it still requires a lot of preparation and planning to be perfect. Therefore, be sure you have your Christmas checklist ready and with you at all times. You can easily add and scratch the items off it as you go along. Start planning immediately, so that you can have everything ready in time for the joyous of all the holidays.