Yes, we know that Christmas has only just finished. But there’s no time like the present to start making plans for Christmas 2024!
It might not seem long since Christmas 2023, and maybe you’ve only just packed away the tinsel.
But planning is the key to any great event, and the Christmas season is no exception. Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, and between Christmas present shopping, school events and family gatherings, you might have little free time.
So here are some simple Christmas preparation steps to help you plan ahead for the big day and make sure you have a great time next Christmas.
The Key Takeaways
- It’s never too soon to start planning Christmas.
- The planning process starts with looking back at last year’s successes and failures.
- Planning now allows you to get the best deals and save money.
- If you’re planning home-made Christmas presents, allow more time than you think!
Start your Christmas planning notes
Making notes throughout the year is the best way to have a stress-free Christmas.
Whenever you find a website for Christmas gift ideas, see a delicious recipe that you must try, or find a great idea for a festive day out, it’s a good idea to add the details to your Christmas planner. Then, when it’s time to really start the preparations, you’ll have a head start on your Christmas preparations and all the information you need at your fingertips.
I like to use a dedicated notebook, any excuse to buy a new one, but you could start a spreadsheet with a tab for each section, or keep notes in an app on your phone. I also like to use a A4 ring binder with plastic pockets for keeping notes and lists handy and saving recipes that I clipped from last year’s Christmas magazines.
The most important thing is to pick a method that works for you!
Take stock of last Christmas
You can always learn from experience, whether last Christmas time was your 1st or 21st time hosting Christmas. This is the perfect opportunity to make a note of the great things that worked last year and also what didn’t work so well.
Because whatever you might think now, by the time the next festive season rolls around, you won’t remember all the details!
So get yourself a cuppa and a small treat (maybe one of the leftover candy canes), and sometimes I even put on a Christmas movie to get me in the Christmas spirit. Grab your laptop or a notepad and pen, and think about the holiday season that’s just passed.
Then, jot down what worked for you in the past year. Maybe you cooked a new stuffing recipe to accompany Christmas dinner that everybody loved, or you tried a decadent Christmas Eve dessert at a friend’s house that you’d love to make for yourself next year.
But it’s also important to note what went wrong because that’s how you avoid making the same mistakes next year.
For example, did you leave it too late to take your Christmas cards to the post office? If so, make a note to check our guide to the last posting dates for Christmas 2024 in October. If you ran out of wrapping paper or Christmas stamps, making a note of that now helps you avoid last minute shopping, and that means less stress!
Add these notes to your planning notebook and set a reminder on your phone to review your notes in September. They’ll be a lifesaver when you start planning the next round of Christmas festivities.
Check your decorations
By now, you should have stored your Christmas decorations away safely away until the next festive season, so it’s the perfect time to decide if any of your old ornaments need replacing.
Is your Christmas tree topper starting to look a little tired? Did your Christmas lights give up on New Year’s Eve? Or maybe you saw some great ideas for decorations in beautifully decorated homes that you’d like to replicate at home next year.
You could also think about whether you want to go with an artificial tree or a real tree next year and pick out any new colour themes you’d like to try.
Add the details to your to-do list for Christmas 2024 so you have plenty of time to look out for the perfect decorations for next Christmas.
Start saving for Christmas 2024
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be an expensive time of year. The best way to ensure you have a good time at Christmas is to start saving for it now. With household bills and the cost of living higher than ever, it’s a great idea to start putting away some money each week if possible.
Using a Christmas savings company could be a great way to save for Christmas, or you could put a few pounds aside in a savings account or even a good old-fashioned piggy bank.
I like to add a little to the Asda Christmas card each time I do a grocery shop there, because it almost feels like it’s not costing me anything extra to save for Christmas.
The main thing is to start adding a little to your Christmas savings pot now. This will help you know exactly what your budget is when you start planning Christmas gifts and food shopping seriously later in the year, and will take the pressure off your Christmas preparations.
You’ll find more handy budget-planning tips in our guide to creating a Christmas budget.
Plan ahead for Christmas travel
If your family are spread around the country or even the world, now is the time to start planning Christmas travel. I know it feels like a long time until Christmas Day, but the best deals sell out early, and it’s hard to have the perfect holiday season if you’re stuck in a traffic jam or the trains aren’t running.
Decide now who will be hosting Christmas 2024 so that you can book trains, flights or hotels early and get the best possible pricing.
Organise your Christmas Party
You don’t have to nail down all the details at this stage, but holiday parties can take quite a lot of planning. So now is the best time to start planning to ensure the best possible Christmas party.
As well as a venue and your invitation list, make a list of Christmas music you’d like to play, easy things to eat and drink, and maybe some little gifts you can give away as party favours.
Start your own Christmas Wish List for gift ideas
I always like to wait until after my son’s birthday in mid-October to ask family members for their Christmas gift lists. But there’s nothing stopping you from starting your holiday gifts planning for the most important people now now.
Starting your gift idea list early allows you to add ideas for family members, friends and work colleagues as you go along. That way, you can look out for good deals in the Black Friday sales at the end of the year and you’ll have more chance of finding the perfect gift that fits your Christmas budget.
Try to think of some last minute gifts that you can buy and wrap ahead of time, and don’t forget to think about your own Christmas list as well!
Plan some home made Christmas Gifts
If you’d like to make your own home made gifts next Christmas, now is the time to start getting organised. You might already be a keen stitcher or knitter, but if you’re a beginner, you may need a little practice and lots of time to make them first.
Whether you want to cross stitch Christmas cards, sew Christmas stockings or knit adorable baby sweaters, it’s not too early to start working on your crafts.
You could also make your own cards or even little gift tags that will make your gifts look extra-special at very little extra cost and don’t take much time.
Gather your materials and choose your patterns, then you can work on each hand-made gift at your leisure over the coming months.
Collect jars for home made goodies
Likewise, if you’d like to give some home made jams, chutneys or pickles, it’s a great idea to start collecting jars for them now.
This way, instead of using standard jars, you can present your goodies in jars of various shapes and sizes, and just buy new lids to go on top. I love doing this because it cuts the cost of your home made gifts and makes them look extra quirky and cute.
These simple steps will help you plan a Merry Christmas in 2024. What are your top tips for Christmas planning?