Make this holiday easier with the Ultimate Christmas Plan for 2022, for the most Christmassy Season of your life. From crafts, homemade decor ideas, planning calendars, Christmas card ideas, Thank you note templates, Christmas lists, and so much more, you’ll have a Christmas to die for and less stress along the way.
Christmas is the best holiday of the year. However, I know that eggnog-filled, crazy relatives and a money-sucking holiday can be stressful. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the abundance of holiday stress. This post is my little present to you. It will help you create an ultimate plan – one that will make it the most Christmassy season ever! You’re sure to feel the magic this year! I’m shopping in June, play Jingle Bells before Halloween, leave up my tree until March kind of girl, and I want the holidays to be just as magical for you as they always feel for me.
This isn’t the best part, but it’s necessary – especially if you’re anything like me. I want to go crazy and ball out. Christmas feels like a vacation, and I’m naturally irresponsible on vacation. I’ll worry about it when I get home. I’m sure you can relate (right?!?…I’m going to presume you said “right” so I can pretend this is normal and I don’t have to deal with my problem). Creating a plan and preparing ahead saves a world of trouble. You can thank me later.
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1. Christmas Calendar:
Start with a Calendar. It’s essential to a Christmas plan because it helps you organize the season and keeps you focused on your goals. You can download one here or grab a regular one from Amazon that works just as perfectly! Keep track of all those appointments, deadlines, parties, and workday events not to mess up plans. This helps me ensure I’m not over-Christmasing- if there’s such a thing as “over-Christmasing.”
For example, we have a very busy holiday season. We start our holiday in November, the day after Thanksgiving, decorating and sharing small presents in our home. Tack on a Christmas Eve dinner and present exchange, Christmas Eve-Eve game night, Christmas breakfast, A three-hour drive to my mom’s house after breakfast, and it’s already craziness.
Now, add so much more:
- Christmas pictures.
- Send out Christmas cards.
- Find matching Christmas Pajamas.
- Watch the Christmas light show up CandyCane Lane.
- Find a way to celebrate and exchange gifts amongst ourselves with our son
- Shop our own Christmas list
- Decorate our own home
- Send packages out of state
- Remind our child that Christmas is about Jesus
- Find a way to give back
- Celebrate my birthday
Pew, I’m tired just thinking about it! With so many obligations during the holiday season, it’s our way of forming traditions for our household.
With events piling up, there’s no way to get through the holiday with all of your marbles in tack without a concrete schedule. It’s all worth it because we all come together to hang out, have a good time, and make new memories for the kiddos once a year. Because of this, we keep a Christmas Calendar. Mark dates, and check your schedule before committing to anything new. Whether a work party or family gathering, don’t over-extend yourself.
Remember, if your schedule is too busy and it’s causing stress, or you don’t have enough me-time in there, say “no” to some things. It’s okay. People will understand, or they won’t, but taking care of yourself is what’s most important.
2. Christmas Planner:
I love this planner because it has a place for your gifts, so you can manage who gets what and when – no more surprises! You’ll love how much money this saves you if you tend to over-buy because you forgot that you already purchased something for someone. You can get this digital version which is perfect for those who are constantly on the go, and it’s available as a Christmas Planner printable for those of you who like to stick with the traditional paper planners as I do. I love the nostalgia of good ole fashioned pin and paper.
My planner is different from my calendar, as my planner includes details. The calendar is a quick visual reference- dinner with mom, order groceries for Xmas dinner, Birthday party. In comparison, my planner includes my full grocery list along with activities, times, and locations. Gifts are also listed here, as well as dinner recipes. I’ve included a holiday box with ideas/instructions on things to do and make a note if we need any last-minute supplies from the
My planner includes an area for my Christmas cards – designs I like, an address list of everyone, a cards list, and a Postable link for those who still send holiday cards. Friends and fam can post their addresses and receive cards through the same link. In my planner, I also have an area to include notes from our Eve-Eve game night, Eve dinner with my side, and Christmas morning gathering. My planner also includes a section for Christmas movies, so we have options without spending hours surfing the internet arguing about what we like and don’t like.
3. Keep things simple:
It’s Christmas! You don’t need to go overboard with your Christmas decor. Please keep it simple and small yet festive. This year I’m adding a few new things – switching out a few string lights and possibly adding an “It’s Cold Outside” welcome mat. The rest of my decor is pretty much the same as last year. I’m keeping things simple and small yet festive this year.
I don’t need anything extravagant or expensive to enjoy my holiday! The less extravagant and more simple, the better. For example, our seasonal cards are happening in October this year. Last year I tried this, and it saved me so much agony hoping they were shipped in time; one less thing to rush through during this busy time of year, leaving me a stress-free holiday. I love holding a card in my hand. Also, knowing that most people won’t print the cards if I send them digitally, I opt for physical copies. I mean, think about it, how often have you printed something someone texted or emailed you that wasn’t essential? Never, right?
Therefore, I prefer to still print cards and send physical copies. I love giving people the option to hang them if they choose. I still hang holiday cards all around my home like my great-grandmother has done my entire life- it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without the gaudy influx of family and friends cards cluttering my house).
However, if everyone receiving the card knowing they were thought about is enough for you, though they may skip the printing process, go digital. Not only does it save you time, but it also saves the earth and saves you money.
It used to be that we would have to wait weeks to receive our cards from Shutterfly or Printerpix, who is swamped all of December and a big part of November. Not to mention we’d easily spend over 100 dollars on stamps alone. I still do because I’m a crazy person, but there is another way, and sometimes when things get too chaotic for us, we opt in for a digital card as well. Take a load off this year by going digital. Then, spend lots of time and energy collecting addresses and updating old addresses from our mailing list. Again, Postable is awesome. You can collect the addresses and send cards directly through their app. They make the process easier and more efficient (P.S, I don’t get a commission or anything for mentioning them, I love the app’s ease).
Other ways to keep things simple is:
- Brain dump everything you feel is a necessity this holiday
- Leave a few spaces for miscellaneous things that are sure to come up.
- Circle the things that are “must-do.”
- Cross out the things that can wait or are optional.
- Here’s your new list.
*Pro-Tips: Your loved ones want to see you because they love you. They may be disappointed that you cannot show up to everything, and that’s okay. Remember, it comes from a place of love. Try to find other, less time-consuming ways to show you care without giving up so much of yourself. Perhaps you can’t commit to another holiday party, but you can commit to tea and coffee over zoom with girlfriends and their little ones. Maybe, another Secret Santa isn’t in the budget. Still, a scheduled Christmas Craft day (on video or in-person) could be entertaining- everyone can bring supplies that they have lying around, from old clothes they don’t mind being savaged for the fabric to ribbon. Tissue paper from old packages, and everyone gets to leave with a craft that they made and put their heart into. Get creative with your time.
4. Christmas Plan for 2022: Shop for presents early
Xmas is a hectic time of year. For most people, the festivities start the day after Thanksgiving. Most people are done shopping by Christmas Eve and have everything they need to enjoy their memorable Christmas traditions! Not I. For a simple Christmas, your best bet is beating the crowds. Planning and shopping before everyone else does is your secret weapon. When you go to Target or make an Amazon purchase, add an extra item to your cart. Check the sale section for anything your children, nieces, nephews, or parents may like, and you may be surprised by the great deals you find.
Typically my Christmas shopping starts in August, at a minimum. I store away a few things over the weeks and grab items that have longer shipping times to get them out of the way. We all know that shipping this time of year is madness. This year with Product shortages, we should expect things to be worse. To avoid stress and keep calm, I tackle those items first and add the names and the items to my planner to keep track.
Not only does it keep me sane, but it also saves me from overspending simply because I can’t resist a deal during Black Friday. If we finish our shopping early, we can stay out of the stores altogether during their promotional Christmas campaigns designed to lure us in and spend all of our money. Work smarter.
The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, not agonize week after week over budgets and “stuff.” The best way to do this is to plan ahead and make small purchases over time.
5. Make decorating A Family Affair:
Moms try to do it all, mostly because our husbands don’t care. At least mine don’t. But, somewhere in my frantic brain, I manage to get the tree up, put up cards, have Christmas decorations throughout the rooms, and handle all of the decors like a Ninja. However, last year my mother-in-law enlisted the grandkids, and that’s when it occurred to me- Make them help. This doesn’t have to be a solo mission. The children helped place ornaments on the tree and garland around the house. Though not perfect, and perhaps there were a few sections of the Christmas tree with six trims while other areas of the Christmas tree were empty, it saved time, they enjoyed it, and we moms weren’t utterly exhausted by the end of the day. All in all worth it.
In my house, we take the day after Thanksgiving to put up Christmas decorations together. We then celebrate the monumental task by eating the cookies we put in the oven before the decorating began and watching Christmas movies to signal that Christmas has indeed started. If you’re into cheesy holiday movies, you’re in for a treat because there’s a whole section of recommendations later in this post.
More fun family-involved ways to decorate for Christmas includes
- plan a gift-wrapping day with mimosas and friends
- Christmas Craft day, where the kids make popcorn garland, handprint Christmas ornaments, and other decorations (I don’t love how it looks on my tree, but I give Jack his own (small) tree to decorate however he likes)
If you really want to share the duties, plan another “Event” day after you’ve celebrated with your loved ones to get help tearing down/dumping the tree. You’ll look like a fun mom who loves to make memories when really they’re helping you clean. It’s genius!
Christmas is a busy time of the year. The best way to keep it magical is to plan ahead and spread out your work over several days! You’ve got this.
6. Christmas Plan for 2022: Make a list
It never fails. When I don’t have a list, I over or underbuy- mostly over-purchase toys because I’m paranoid about forgetting someone. My guess is that you do the same thing when you grocery shop without a list. It’s inevitable. That one thing that you knew you weren’t going to forget gets forgotten. Same with presents. Don’t forget anything. Make a list.
We keep it simple during the holiday and do our best to keep our list to the minimum- 99.9% family and less than a handful of friends. However, there are plenty of nieces and nephews to go around, with my husband being the youngest of four. So, our list gets complicated pretty quickly.
- Trent (husband)
- Jackson (our kid),
- My parents
- Trent’s Parents
- Nieces and nephews, 9 total (Rule of thumb: I don’t buy for people I won’t see during the holidays. I’ll catch them later.)
- Siblings (they’re optional because they’re all adults)
And then I extend it to optional gifts depending on our budget this year.
- Jackson’s godparents (because they are amazing)
- godchildren (if they’ll be in town and I’ll see them, or if I particularly know that their parents could use the help this year)
- A few miscellaneous gifts for an unexpected guest or people that I somehow forgot.
7. Christmas Plan for 2022: Make a budget and stick to it
There’s so much joy in giving, and more often than not, we generous folks do a lot more giving than our bank accounts are ready for. One surefire way to release some stress during the holidays is to decide on a budget ahead of time and stick to it. Listen, I don’t care who wants what. If it’s not in the budget, we’ll have to find something else, or we can give them cash towards the purchase of the big-ticket item that they want. The great thing is that kids’ lists tend to have many options. Adults aren’t as flexible, but there are many great, thoughtful gifts that they’ll love just as much.
Christmas budget estimates
Though it changes yearly, depending on our obligations, here’s a rough estimate of what we spend on our relatives for gifts during a typical year. Remember that inflation this year may drastically effect the choices and gift quality options. Its ALL expensive this year!
- Ourselves: It honestly depends on finances and if we really want anything. We’ve been pretty fortunate that most Christmas’ we’re looking to find things we want because we’ve been so blessed throughout the year.
- Jackson (our kid ): $500-1500 as he grows up, we’re moving away from toys and more towards activities. Activities are more expensive, but the memories long outlast the toy and that’s worth it to me.
- Parents $100 each
- Nieces/Nephews $40-50 each
- Siblings $30-50 each
- Godchildren $40-50 each
- Godparents $30-50 each
- miscellaneous (unexpected additions-white elephant exchange, unaccounted for guest, etc) $60-140
- TOTAL spending:$2000-$3000+ My husband and I (the bulk of it goes to activities for our son).
8. Christmas Fun- Plan holiday activities
I absolutely love Christmas, and I’m always looking for ways to make it better. Now that Jackson (my son) is getting older, we’ve found a few activities to do together that are family-friendly and keeps him interested! Rather you decide to add some excitement the week leading up to, the day of, or the week heading into the New Year; these activities are the inspiration for a Christmas like no other.
- See Christmas lights: light shows are by far the best part of Christmas, especially for children. I find them fun to watch, but the best part is passing on the experience to my son, as it was something that we did pretty religiously when I was growing up.
- Decorate Christmas Ornaments
- Make hot chocolate bombs….and then drink hot chocolate together
Hot Chocolate Bomb Supplies:
4. Decorate a gingerbread house (another one of our household favorites)
5. Candid photoshoot underneath the Christmas tree in matching Pajamas
6. Candy cane hunts- like an Easter egg hunt, but with candy canes. It’s also nice to throw in random gift cards and other low-ticket items attached to the candy canes
7. Elf on the shelf- I must admit that I have yet to do Elf on the shelf, but my BFF did it last year with my goddaughter, and she has convinced me to join the Elf party this year. I’ll share pictures later
8. Advent Calendar- Create a week-long, or month-long, December to countdown with the kiddos
9. Bake Christmas Cookies- The sweets are the best part of the holidays. Besides seeing all of my cousins, I always looked forward to the desserts. Determine a few special cookie flavors that you’ll make the week of Xmas and enjoy the aroma of throughout your home
10. Wrapping Paper Hot Potato: That’s what I call it. It’s a random game that my mom found on Facebook a few years ago. I don’t know if she’s ever played it again, but it was a lot of fun, and I find a way to play it at every event now. Fill a box with surprise Knick knacks, wrap it in gift wrap, get a set of dice, whose ever turn it is will use oven mitts to attempt to unwrap the gift while the person next in line tries to roll doubles. Once the person next in line rolls doubles, it’s their turn to put on the mittens and attempt to unwrap the box. Continue this process until the box is unwrapped and opened. That person is the winner and receives everything inside of the box.
9. Declutter in early November- pre-Christmas Season
Seeing that families are looking for gifts in December, it’s best to organize early- November. I like to do my clutter-catching before our home gets crazy with Christmas shenanigans. Take a moment to go through your kid’s room with them.
Take inventory of their clothes and toys. Anything they can no longer fit goes into a donation bag. Anything they have not played within the last 90 days also goes into the donation bag.
I do, however, give a little wiggle room here. If it’s an item tucked away or out of direct eyesight, I will leave it out for 2-3 weeks to see if he’ll play with it. If the toy gets no love, donate it.
By doing this before the gift-giving season starts, you’re able to declutter your space and make room for the new things that your household will likely acquire, and offer those goods to someone who could use them. When keeping an organized home, it’s essential to think ahead and plan for space before the clutter occurs because damage control is a lot more work.
10. Meal Planning: Christmas Plan for 2021 and Reuse as your Christmas Plan for 2022
Food is a big part of every holiday tradition. Meal planning dinner takes a huge weight off your shoulders. Along with planning out recipes and grocery lists ahead of time, it lifts a huge burden and eliminates a lot of last-minute stress. In my house, we eat soul food at Christmas, so our dinner consists of Macaroni and cheese, potato salad, collard greens, baked beans, deviled eggs, ham, ribs, and yams that may be sweet potatoes (I don’t know the difference) and cornbread as a basic list. Here are a few recipes for a great soul food Christmas. These aren’t exactly the recipes I use, but they’re the most similar to my recipes that I could find already spelled out for you. So, they should be just as yummy. I’ve also added a few notes for things I’d switch up.
Soulfood Christmas Dinner and recipes:
- Macaroni and cheese – I’m not a fan of Velveeta. Real cheese is best. I prefer Sharp cheddar cheese(more of this than anything), Colby, asiago, -a little bit of pepper jack for a kick.
- Collard greens– I would also mix in some kale because its a superfood, an onion, and a little more seasoning
- Ham– I don’t eat a lot of pork, but my husband does so I cook ham for him. One pro tip is to use a syringe and inject some of the juice inside the ham.
- Baked beans– I don’t typically cook baked beans from scratch. A can of Bush’s maple and brown sugar-baked beans with melted cheese and bacon is usually a quick solution that’s also tasty.
- Potato salad– Hot chorizo potato salad is the only way that I’ll eat potato salad. It’s delicious. However, I must warn you that this needs to be made fresh. Reheating this dish will ruin it. Letting it get cold will also ruin it.
- Devilled Eggs- I made these colorful eggs for Easter with Easter dyes, but I plan to make them during Xmas and use seasonal colors like red and green.
- Ribs– Don’t be shy with the flavors. Add in a lot more herbs and spices, but this is a good starter recipe
- Cornbread: If you’re a sweet cornbread girl like me all you’ll need is a few boxes of Jiffy cornbread and the instructions on the box. I play with the recipe a tad, but the recipe on the box is good enough.
- Candied Yams
11. Holiday Playlist Planning:
Nothing sets the mood quite like a bomb playlist when planning for the greatest season of love and giving. Rather you’re looking for something upbeat to get you in the spirit or something traditional to play in the background at your holiday party. I’ve got you covered. Hearing the beloved traditional songs is the true sign that Rudolph is near. Here are a few pieces to get you started. These would also make an awesome Christmas Carols song list for those of you that don’t sound like a wounded bird as I do.
Religious Christmas Playlist:
- Joy to the world
- Silent Night
- Hark The Herold Angels Sing
- Drummer Boy
- Mary Did You Know
- Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Soulful (upbeat) Holiday Playlist:
- Santa Baby
- All I want for Christmas is You
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town
- This Christmas
- Merry Christmas Baby
Traditional Xmas Playlist:
- Holly Jolly Christmas– If you have small children, check out this Blippi version. My son was excited to hear Blippi at Christmas
- Let It Snow
- Jingle Bell Rock– However, Mickey’s version is pretty cute too
- Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- The Christmas Song
- 12 Days of Christmas
Christmas Love Songs:
Shady Christmas Song
11. Christmas gift exchange planning:
Budgeting for presents is only the beginning of getting ready for Christmas. Once you know how much you can spend, it’s time to buy gifts—knowing what to get, for who can be difficult, so I provided a quick list of some of the things we love- for all age groups to help you prepare and stay sane.
Holiday Toy Ideas for Kids 0-2 (First Christmas Toy Hacks)
- Smart Noggin Lightup Rattle– This was one of Jack’s fav toys as a baby. I’ve also purchased it for all of my nieces and nephews and they’re a fan fav.
- Stacking Rings
- Mickey Push Car
Holiday Toy Ideas for Kids and Teens
- Remote Control Monster Trucks
- Building Blocks
- Barbie Camper
- Nerf toys (We don’t play with guns as toys, but lots of children do, and if your relatives are among those that do, you best believe that they love Nerf toys)
- Journal sets
- Gift cards
- Bluey Water Bottle Tumbler (or Bluey ANYTHING)
- Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage Race Track (we got this last year, and my 5 yr old still loves it… Bonus because there’s a large Dinosaur)
Christmas Gift Ideas for Adults
- Golf balls
- Facebook Oculus
- Echo Show
- Wine Bottle Stoppers
- Personalized Beer Bottle Opener
- Single Serve Coffee Brewer
- An Audible Membership to read their favorite books each month (Books: Bridgerton Series, , Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry, Atomic Habits, and more)
For A more in-depth list that fulfills all of your Christmas Gift Giving Needs, check out my post: Ultimate Guide to Christmas Gifts the whole family will love. This post is perfect if you’re hoping for inexpensive but well-worth-it items. You’ll find toys for all age groups, Christmas crafts, and budget gifts to have a special holiday no matter what.
12. Christmas Movie Marathon Planning
Lastly on the Ultimate Christmas Planning plan is to squeeze in as many Christmas Movies as Possible. This is where it gets serious. From Hulu to Amazon, to Netflix, and the goat- The Hallmark Channel, Christmas movie marathons are the ultimate sign that Santa’s coming. For me, the cheesier, the better. A good feel-good story with a little comedy and a cute love story gets me every time. Yes, the guy gets the girl, or the girl gets the guy. We know the story, but it’s still great every time! Yes, the little factory in the middle of nowhere saves the company, and everyone gets to keep their jobs because it’s a Christmas miracle.
With so many options, you have to plan your weekends accordingly. Be sure to add your movie dates to your planner. Plan a few Girl’s Nights, Movie Nights, and Movie Nights to make it more exciting with wine, pizza, and snacks. It’s a special time of year.
I made a list to get you started.
Favorite Netflix Christmas Movies List
- Holidate (Romcom)
- The Holiday Calendar (Romcom)
- Trolls Holiday (movies together)
- The Knight Before Christmas (Romcom)
- Dash and Lily (new seasonal series, not a movie)
- Mighty Express A might Christmas (movies together)
- Home for the Holidays (movies together)
This plan will keep you sane during the happiest time of year. I tend to overthink everything, and without a set schedule or a checklist to keep me on task, I look like a deer in headlights. I’ve found that sitting down and taking a little time before things get crazy is the best way to manage the chaos. I hope you can do the same this Christmas with a few tips from this plan.
Free Christmas Planner
Please share your experience in the comments. I’d love to know if you played any of the games or activities, watched any of the movies, tried any of the recipes, or found a way to relax because you deserve it.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Your new friend,
If you want to get A jumpstart on organizing your kid’s space before all of the new toys arrive, see