Christmas Planning Ideas

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Christmas planning can help you to sift through your priorities, organize your to-do’s, and enjoy the holiday season a little more with family and friends. Check out these Christmas Planning Ideas to help you.

Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Want to save this post?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox. Plus, I’ll send you time- and money-saving tips every week!

Save Recipe

It’s one thing for Walmart to decorate for Christmas in August. That’s lame, jumping the gun to make more money.

But, I think it’s a different thing entirely when we as individuals start our Christmas preparations early. It doesn’t have to be obsession or weird. I dunno, for the first time, I just think the not-before Thanksgiving objections don’t have much room in the private home. Do what you want if it’s your house, people.

This year I jumped into Christmas early and with both feet. And here’s why: I realized that every December, I hold myself back. I tell myself to wait until it’s appropriate to get into the Christmas gig. And around December 14th I’m depressed and sad and I don’t WANT TO get out the Christmas decorations! 

This has happened to me for two or three years in a row, and I feel like I missed Christmas because I just wasn’t “into it” when it was appropriate.

I decided to just go with it this year. I pulled out some garland, bought a few decorations, and otherwise, started the Christmas motor running just a little earlier than normal. We’re not to full speed yet, but I’m really looking forward to enjoying this next month with the kids.

(We also tend to pack Christmas away early, so it really will be just a month.)

On Tuesday I even did my annual solo-Target-shopping-with-Salted-Caramel-Mocha-Frappucino-in-hand gig. Before Thanksgiving. I know. Crazy times.

Christmas Planning Ideas

Whether you are an early adopter or someone who waits until the appropriate time, Christmas planning can help you make good decisions for your celebrations as well as enable you to enjoy the season a little bit more.

Here are some of the things that we include in our family’s Christmas planning and celebrating:

Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Baking

My girls are big into baking these days. BIG. They are fans of Youtubers Nerdy Nummies and Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio. Save my naturally-sweetened heart!

Needless to say, when I grab the baking ingredients, the girls’ radar goes on red alert and they are at my side in a heart beat. So, we are planning a bunch of baking this month, including Jesus Cookies, Gramma Ruthie’s Gingerbread, and some of our favorite Christmas cookies.

Favorite Holiday Baking Tool: this Advent Bake Set – My mom gave us these cookie cutters almost 20 years ago and they continue to be a huge hit with my kids. You can see my other favorite holiday baking tools here.
Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Movies

We are big movie watchers. Over the years we’ve let go of the VHS collection of days gone by and invested in some DVDs and Blu-rays. For the most part they are films that we could easily watch on a yearly basis, though some my kids will watch in the middle of the summer!

Favorite Movies: Elf the Movie – My husband first heard about this movie from the guys at work. It continues to be a favorite flick every single year. FishChick7 loves the Grinch and will watch it on her birthday — in August. And we can’t help but laugh at the slapstick in Home Alone 1 and 2.

Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Music

I started playing the Christmas music a few weeks ago. The kids complained at first, but once I explained my reasons, they chilled out. I have a stack of CDs somewhere that are MIA, including some favorites. I’m hoping they will surface sooner rather than later.

Favorite Albums: Francesca Battistelli’s Christmas was a surprise. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do, and I love the Elf Soundtrack. Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God has a special place in our hearts. We saw the concert during a very dark time in our life. So thankful for that album!
Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Coloring

So, I haven’t been coloring as a modern-day hobby, though I did give my husband a coloring book on one of our first dates. I was hip back when hip wasn’t cool, apparently. I found out about Christmas coloring books and thought this would be a great activity to do with the girls when we’re all baked out.

Favorite Christmas coloring books: I just bought these two, Vintage Christmas Greetings and Coloring Christmas.
Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Decorations

A fan of real trees for my whole life, I’ve been threatening to buy a fake one on Christmas clearance for the last few years. My family always votes me down. This year, I’ve lobbied to at least put the tree in the living area instead of the cold and drafty foyer. I wish we had the tree already, but real trees don’t last a month. At least not these days.

That said, I’ve got five big red boxes waiting in the garage for my word. I did already dig out some of our favorites.

Favorite Items: Snowman Cookie Jar – A friend gifted us several cookie jars over the years. My kids love it when I bring it out. We can’t keep it filled, of course, but it’s a fun addition to the decor. Snowman Mugs – Every kid has a special snowman mug. We’ve cobbled the collection together from different sources and replaced them when broken. They play a special part in our holiday celebrations.

Our collection of Jesse Tree ornaments is also pretty special. They’ve seen us through many years of daily devotions in our homeschool.

Christmas Planning Ideas | Life as Mom

Christmas Storybooks

I love our Christmas storybook collection. It’s been several years in the making, but I’m so thrilled that I made the investment. Some are very meaningful, like Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, and some are simply fun stories, like Cranberry Christmas from my own childhood. I think even my big boys would say that they like hearing these books read over and over each year.

Light Looking

Pop some popcorn, get the kids in their jammies and coats and head out to see the lights in your town. My kids love this tradition. Look at how little they were!

If you live in or near a major city, chances are your regional parenting publication is offering a map of all the Christmas light displays in your area. Yes, really. If you live in San Diego county, you can check out San Diego Family Magazine’s Map of Lights.


I don’t know if was watching The 30 Day Give from afar or a visit from The Christmas Ghosts, but I feel compelled to be more generous this holiday season — and hopefully beyond.

The other night Toys for Tots was standing outside Walmart. How easy is that? Buy a toy and drop it in the box. The men standing out in the cold were sooooo surprised. That struck me. I must not be the only one who could grow in giving.

I love JessieLeigh’s idea for helping out Military families by donating at Dollar Tree. Give your kids each a couple bucks and let them share the joy of giving. You all generated some great ideas about giving as well. Thank you for the inspiration!

These all play an important role in my Christmas planning. They don’t make or break the holiday, but they give us so much pleasure from year to year as the traditions become more ingrained in our family.

What do you do for your Christmas planning?

Want more Christmas planning ideas? Grab a copy of my book, A Simpler Season.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. We had an artificial tree when I was growing up and when I got older and noticed friends w/ real trees, I also noticed the NEEDLES, everywhere! Often they’re sharp and poky and hurt your feet if you walk on them — so that’s what I think of when I think “real tree”. I found a good compromise for real tree lovers: real pine wreaths. One on the front door and one somewhere in the house if you like. That way you get the lovely, piney scent but the needles don’t shed everywhere. Also, that artificial tree doesn’t die, is reusable (like shopping bags!) and is less of a fire hazard. I’m not trying to rain on your parade. Just offer an alternative POV. I like our fake tree. 🙂

    1. You must not get my weekly newsletter! I bought a fake tree this year — in October. We put it up last weekend when we were stuck home for Thanksgiving with illness. I am thrilled with it!

  2. When possible, I like to plan things for Christmas way ahead of time. I enjoy doing as many handmade things as possible, and I’ll try to do things like that throughout the year. I like to wait until after Thanksgiving (sometimes the Monday after) to do decorations and Christmas music & really get into the swing of things. I put the decorations up a little at a time.

    Many years, we are in the middle of something extreme and planning ahead doesn’t happen. This year, I started thinking about specifics of Christmas a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve not done anything except plan holiday travel, get decorations to an accessible place, and some really vague thoughts about Christmas gifts.

    I did stick to the no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving this year. I LOVE Christmas, and once I start I pretty much binge on all things Christmas. If I start too early, I’m tired of it by Christmas, so I have to pace myself.

  3. I’ve been thinking about Christmas since the beginning of November, but it’s only this week, that I’ve got my act together! I have some planning forms that I’ve been using for the last few years. These really help to clarify what needs to happen when, and where I hid that thing I bought months ago. Making a list and checking it twice is definitely the way to go!
    We do an advent calendar, usually activites, but last year I was so tired before Christmas that I filled it up with jokes instead. I asked the boys this year whether they preferred activities or jokes, and jokes were the winners! Not that we won’t do fun Christmassy things, just not every day. On the list are baking, Christmas crafts, movie night, and favourite Christmas books.
    The decorations are coming down from storage this weekend, and the tree goes up as soon as school finishes for the year next week.