The Ultimate Holiday Checklist: Things to Accomplish Before Christmas

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There are only six weeks left before Christmas. It’s time to get your jingle bells on!

For sure your family follows a tradition every holiday season, whether that’s watching an MMFF movie, going to a relative’s house for a grand family reunion, or house-hopping for aguinaldo. Nevertheless, Christmas preparations can be a stressful task, especially if you’re the chief executive holiday planner.

Preparing for Christmas requires thorough planning, from thinking about your Christmas gift ideas to creating a menu for Noche Buena. Are your Christmas decorations already in place? Have you started on shopping? Do you know what recipe you’re serving on Noche Buena? How about your Christmas day family activities?

If you haven’t done any preparations just yet, don’t panic! There’s still enough time. Follow this Christmas planning checklist to avoid cramming and stressing yourself out in preparation for the big day.

6 Weeks Before Christmas (November 12 – 18)

If you haven’t decorated your home just yet, you can do it this point! Make sure that by the end of the week, you have all your decorations in place so that you can move on to other preparations. Decorating your home will take up approximately one to three days, depending on how elaborate your Christmas décor is, and how much help you have. If your whole family is helping you do this, you can finish it in just one day.

You can spend the rest of your free time filling out your Christmas planner. Use a small notebook or diary dedicated to all your Christmas planning, where you can write down your master gift list, your Christmas gift ideas, your menu, and your holiday activities. (Here’s an awesome Christmas gift guide that can help you shop according to your budget!)

Establish an overall budget, and then allocate a specific amount from this budget to Christmas gifts and the actual celebration. Decide on a budget for each category – Christmas gifts, aguinaldo and giveaways, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. This will help you ensure that you don’t overspend and blow out your savings or year-end bonus on your Christmas celebration.

5 Weeks Before Christmas (November 19 – 25)

Now that you have your list in order, you need to start shopping in earnest! Shopping in November will help you avoid the Christmas rush and the traffic that goes along with it. You don’t want to elbow your way through the mall in December, trying to cram your Christmas shopping in just one day. So, make sure to get most of your Christmas shopping out of the way on the 5th week before Christmas.

Head to your favorite mall and start ticking off names on your Christmas gift list. Don’t forget to ask if they provide free gift-wrapping service, so you can get some gift-wrapping work out of the way. Try to wrap and label your presents when you get home.

If some of your Christmas gift ideas can be ordered online, start placing your orders this week. So as not to risk the chance of your intended recipient signing off on the item upon delivery, have it sent to your office or work address. Or, you can just make sure to intercept all deliveries at home.

4 Weeks Before Christmas (November 26 – December 2)

It’s the end of November, and December is just a few days away.

The Christmas rush is about to start, so schedule another shopping spree to make sure that you have all of your Christmas gifts. This is the perfect time to do your last-minute shopping but mind the traffic. During the end of the month, malls usually hold sales and discount events.

If you have an extra vacation leave that you haven’t taken yet, now’s a perfect time. It’s best to go to malls during office hours to avoid the crowd doing their Christmas shopping. Plus, you get first dibs on the best deals!

While you’re on your way to the mall, drop by the bank and ask them to change your money for aguinaldo and pahagisa. Use your quiet evenings to plan your holiday menu and family programme, so that you can get what you need for it the following week. Decide on your main dish, side dishes, desserts, and drinks that will perfectly match your programme. Check out this blog with the top Filipino Christmas traditions for ideas on what to include in your programme.

3 Weeks Before Christmas (December 3 – 9)

Now that you have set a menu, review your recipes and research for new ones that will make it even more delicious. List down the grocery items you will need for your recipes on your Christmas planner. Separate the perishables and non-perishables, so you can determine what you can start making early. You can also create a Christmas playlist this week to make your programme even merrier with upbeat music playing in the background.

Remember that couriers get busier during the holidays. Mail your Christmas gifts and cards to friends and relatives in the province or abroad, so that they make it in time for Christmas.

While you’re at it, do some grocery shopping for the non-perishables that you will need for Noche Buena such as queso de bola, other cheeses, flour, condiments, pasta, fruit cocktail, and more. Get your holiday ham as well, because some stores run out of it right before Christmas. You can keep it sealed in the fridge or chiller, and just slice it up on the 24th, right before serving. Buy most of the groceries you need this week.

2 Weeks Before Christmas (December 10 – 16)

The Christmas rush is here! It’s a good thing you’ve done all your Christmas shopping weeks ago. Revisit your Christmas planner to check if you have all your Christmas gifts wrapped and ready for Christmas eve gift-giving. Perhaps there’s someone or something you forgot. Most exchange gifts, monito-monita, or secret santa events are announced around this time. So, now’s the perfect time to do some last-minute shopping. Finish wrapping your presents as well.

Do a whole-house clean-up to prepare for the coming festivities. Make sure your Christmas decorations are perfectly in place. If you have holiday beddings, change your beddings this week so that you can dream of the perfect Christmas at night.

1 Week Before Christmas (December 17 – 23)

It’s crunch time now! Only a few days to go before the holiday festivities officially begin. Make sure to buy fresh ingredients such as meat, seafood, and poultry three days before Christmas, so that you can start cooking and baking the following day.

On the 24th, finish cooking by early afternoon and have the rest of the afternoon to rest, relax, and dress up for the evening’s festivities. Serve a light early dinner early in the evening, around 6:00 PM so your family won’t be hungry while waiting for midnight. Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries and take lots of pictures!

If you have kids, encourage them to go to bed and nap for a few hours, while you set the table and make final preparations for Christmas eve. Wake them up right before the clock strikes midnight. Enjoy Christmas and have a happy holiday!

You can just heat up your Noche Buena leftovers on Christmas morning, before you head out to your family reunion or Christmas day activities.

Follow these tips and tricks, and you’ll definitely be #SleighingChristmas! Share your holiday experiences with us by tagging us  – @nbsalert on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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