Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas
Do you have the feeling that Christmas comes earlier every year? And I mean not in before the 25th, but earlier in the shops? I think so too, but take it a sign to get started on an organised, stress free Christmas this year
The trick is in the planning part – but pretty much everybody knows that. My background is German, and we celebrate Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day. So we have to be ready 12 hours earlier. Why not aim for that so you can have a relaxing night on the 24th and a good night’s sleep.
I love it because we are done and dusted when the neighbours are still busy putting the roast in the oven.
Don’t aim to high with presents. Take a good look at what you think are your Christmas obligations. Approach people about it. They might be happy to arrange a less expensive way to show your appreciation towards each other. Most people, after outgrowing their 20is have enough stuff and are happy with small gestures or non “stuff” things.

  • I have an arrangement with my brother (just the adults, not the kids) that he gets something if I find something – and it might sometimes be during the year instead of at Christmas.
  • Don’t have a set amount to spend on each person. Yes, have a budget and a maximum amount, but a lot of people, especially when it comes to kids try to spend a certain amount. Kids don’t mind- little kids don’t even realise. One of the most loved Christmas presents I bought for my little one was a plastic toy wheelbarrow. It was reduced to $ 8, he loved it, played with it for years and that was his present from his parents for Christmas.
  • Another one is useful things. Especially when it comes to filling stockings and just make it look good under the Christmas tree. My kids get schoolbags, new lunchboxes, socks, pyjamas, boogie boards… the only thing they didn’t like was school hats.

And because I am Professional Organiser – lists are the way we work. So here it is, the LessMess  Christmas Countdown Checklist

  • Just amend the details to suit your family’s needs.
  • Hang it up in a prominent place around your house and keep working on it, adding things and most importantly crossing things off.
  • Tell someone that you are going to be very organised this X-Mass. By doing this, you are accountable to not just forget about the list and it is much more likely to finish what you have promised.

Between August and November – in other words: NOW
Gift giving

  • Draw up a gift list of people for whom you need to buy presents
  • Start writing down present ideas
  • Start buying presents
  • Post overseas presents and cards

6 weeks to go
Entertainment and food

  • Bake biscuits and puddings that need to rest

Gift giving

  • Do your online shopping


  • Make plans for overnight guests

4 weeks to go
First of Advent (the 4th Sundays leading up to Christmas)

  • Take stock of your decorations
  • Start decorating – with children, do small bits every day

3 weeks to go
Entertainment and food

  • Decide on activities, events. Theme it (colours) even if you don’t make that official. It makes decision making and shopping easier
  • Invite guests to Christmas activities & events
  • Order food (ham, pork, turkey)
  • Make Christmas cake, pudding biscuits
  • Eat through your freezer

Gift giving

  • Continue buying presents
  • Check supply of wrapping paper, cards, ribbons
  • Consider the idea of a ‘release note’


  • Check your gift drawer/cupboard for generic ‘just in case ‘gifts. Take this an opportunity to wrap up everything you didn’t gift over the year.


  • Take last year’s received X-Mass cards to produce list for this year – throw last year’s out
  • Purchase Christmas Cards (unless you have enough to last you a lifetime)
  • Purchase Christmas stamps
  • Check Christmas decoration & lights – buy new ones if necessary

2 weeks to go

Entertainment and food

  • Clean your freezer
  • Clean your fridge and oven
  • Plan Christmas food menu. Plan something you can prepare as far ahead as possible or at least parts of it  – even better something that freezes well
  • Decide who brings what (entree, desert, and alcohol, soft drinks) asks for help!!!
  • Write up additional items list (bon bons, serviettes, glasses, chairs, table deco…)
  • Buy non perishable food and drinks
  • Prepare  whatever possible: chop onions, cheese, herbs,… and freeze

Gift giving

  • continue purchasing presents
  • make notes of what you bought for whom and where you hid it
    (my mum always forgot at least one present – I actually loved it; getting just one more the next day!!)
  • Wrap presents
  • Check list for outstanding presents
  • Check whether any toys require batteries & if necessary buy them now


  • Post Christmas cards
  • Put up Christmas tree.

1 week to go
Entertainment and food

  • Draw up timetable for Christmas lunch. From when to start defrosting the turkey to serving coffee & mints.
  • Remind friends and family about their contributions


  • Check camera/video for batteries and recharge if necessary

2 days to go
Entertainment and food

  • Buy perishable food
  • Prepare what’s possible

Gift giving

  • Wrap remaining presents


  • Create a “yes you can help bowl”: write all the leftover tasks on little cards, place in a bowl and when people ask:”can I help” make them take one and action the task!

December 24th
Enjoy Christmas

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