It’s the countdown to Christmas. Feeling a little stressed and unprepared? Here’s a six-week Christmas planning checklist.

I have been so focused on the new {old} house and the paint colors and the kitchen remodel and my own personal saving the cabinets campaign that I haven’t been paying attention to my surroundings.

And then?

I woke up yesterday to a month with Thanksgiving in it.

Did anyone else see November and panic?


I want to enjoy Thanksgiving.  I want to enjoy Christmas.  I don’t want to stress.  I don’t want to be rushed.  I want to relax with hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows and the 3500 exciting new movies I saw are coming out on the Hallmark channel.

You, too?

Oh, good.

Please come sit by me.

Let’s get our plan together.

Here’s a six week Christmas planning checklist (with super cute illustrations and a printable timeline) you and I can use to get ready and have extra time left over for hot chocolate.

click here to print or download

Christmas planning check list: Six weeks before Christmas

1. Order Christmas cards.  Or at least stop by the dollar store and find cute cards while there are still some left.  One year I waited until the last minute and the selection was limited to teddy bears on an island wishing you a “Happy Huladays.”

2. You may have bought ahead for Christmas.  This is the time to search your closets and your shelves and your drawers for the presents that you bought in July because there was a giant sale on handmade signs and you purchased 25.  I’m always surprised how many gifts I already have.  Assess the current gift situation and make a list of gifts still to purchase to get ready for the after-Thanksgiving sales.

3. Buy gift wrap and ribbon when you see it on sale.  They always put the gift wrap on sale now to entice you over to the Christmas section.  Use those 40% coupons and shop like a rock star.

4. Make a budget and stick to it.  If you read nothing else in this entire post, please imprint this on your heart.  December 26 will thank you.

click here to print or download

Christmas planning checklist: Five weeks before Christmas

(total aside:  please tell me how cute you think these graphics are.  I just wanted to create something fun to inspire all of us to get organized.)

1. Find a calendar with old-fashioned boxes.  You know.  The kind you write on with a thing called a pen.  Keep it in a central location and encourage everyone to write all their activities down on the corresponding date.  As soon as you hear of an event.  Write it down.  Put the calendar there now to get ready for all the melee to come.

2. Pull down your decorating tubs and assess.  Have a tentative decorating plan for your spaces you want to decorate.  Check the lights to make sure they work before you string them on the tree.  Donate any of your Christmas items you no longer need to a charity near you, so someone else can use them to decorate their spaces.

3. This line item is mostly for me.  Our family makes handmade gifts every year.  This is the week to figure out what I’m making and buy supplies. If I fail to plan, I plan to fail.

4. Put together a Christmas playlist.  I can help with this one.  I was in Altar’d State shopping with the twins this week and they had the BEST Christmas music playing.  They told me it wasn’t a CD, it was a playlist they put together on Spotify.  Here’s the link in case you wanted to check something off your list.

click here to print or download

Christmas planning checklist: Four weeks before Christmas

1. Start off December right with a wreath on the front door.  Even if the rest of the house isn’t ready, your front door will say “come on in.”  Add scented pinecones in baskets to make the house smell like it’s ready for Christmas.

2. Start wrapping gifts.  It accomplishes two things.  You can be all about you and your pre-wrapping self.  And?  Use the presents to decorate with.

3. Put up the advent calendar.  I have the cutest advent calendar idea here.  And here.

4. Start decorating.  The playlist will help.

3 week Christmas planning checklist

click here to print or download

Christmas planning checklist: Three weeks before Christmas

1. Mail out Christmas cards.  If postage is too high, you can also send them over free e-cards over e-mail–like these I found from American Greetings.

2. Plan out the holiday menu.  You may want to make holiday recipes in advance to try them out.

3. Watch a Christmas movie.  Obvi.  Or in my case—watch all of them.

4. Circle back to your gift list and assess the gift stash again.  You may want to pick up a few extra gifts for hostesses and surprise gifts you weren’t counting on.

click here to print or download

Christmas planning checklist: Two weeks before Christmas

1. Clean out your refrigerator.  There is nothing worse than bringing home a turkey and the fridge is full of Chick-fil-A sauces and old ketchup packets.

2. Start cleaning the house.  I know it’s painful.  I know it’s overwhelming.  But if you start small, you can tackle anything.

3. Invite a friend over for coffee.  I use this as inspiration for number 2.

4. Pile everyone into the car and drive around and look at Christmas lights.  All the girls in my family are going to see the Nutcracker this year.

1 week Christmas planning checklist

click here to print or download

One week before Christmas

1. Get the table ready.  Pull out the glasses and the placemats and make cute cards for every place setting.  Start on the centerpiece now to get it ready for Christmas Day.

2. Make stocking tags for all your stockings.  Here are the cutest stocking tags I made one year.

3. Go to the store and purchase everything for Christmas dinner.  This does not apply to me.  I work on number one and my mom handles number three.

4. Spread a little Christmas cheer.  Volunteer.  Smile.  Sing.  Practice random acts of kindness.

Christmas planning checklist

click here to print or download

Christmas Eve Checklist

1. Wrap any last minute-gifts and tuck them under the tree.

2. Play that playlist as loud as you want.  It’s going to be another 11 months before you hear most of those songs again.

3. Start meal preparations.  Or call your mother.  Whichever works.

4. You have worked so hard.  You have been so organized.  You are a rock star.  Let all that planning and dreaming and hoping settle in and press pause and enjoy.

Merry Christmas.

PS  You know I really wrote this Christmas planning checklist post for me.  Right? 🙂

PPS Looking for a little more Christmas inspiration?

Here are some of my favorite posts:

Christmas Tour 2019

Tour of a vintage Christmas cottage

These beautiful vintage ornaments


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for DeAnna DeAnna

    Thanks for the outline, because on November 1 I start getting a little worried that I won't be able to get it all together. Every day I ask God for two things - energy to cook and clean and time to sit and hold my sweet grands!

  2. Image for Jo Ann Bohannon Jo Ann Bohannon

    Sweetheart ( I can say this, I’m your grandmother ‘s age). You make me tired. Can I come and sit and just watch you swirl? You are too too precious. Love you, Waco Jo Ann

  3. Image for elizabeth@pinecones and acorns blog elizabeth@pinecones and acorns blog

    I LOVE THIS! I think people try to cram too much into the last week and get stressed. I like to work like this list too because I am all about the "25 days of Christmas on tv where I can watch all the movies, relax, drink coco and relish the season.

  4. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    Love it!! I admit I had a total freak out moment when read the title to this post and realized that there are only SIX more weeks till Christmas. Mostly because we decided to DIY tile in herringbone pattern no less, our main living floor, hallways, and all bedrooms in our entire house, The tile just arrived yesterday, in the store. Delivery isn't till Saturday. Oh and we are hosting Christmas dinner this year. AHHHHH ok deep breathing, Like my Dad said we are trying to ride a Dinosaur with a pony saddle. Good times

  5. Image for Renae Reis Renae Reis

    I am bound and determined to ENJOY the entire month of December. No putting things last-minute gift buying...going to tree lightings and making cookies, wrapping gifts to Christmas movies and nights on the sofa with my feet up.. Let's do it!! Together!!

  6. Image for Gina Gina

    This is adorable and looks like it took a long time to make! I'll be watching the Hallmark movies right along with you while I wrap, cook, decorate, write cards, and just chill out!!!

  7. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Love the lists! I have a post about Christmas planning coming up this week too! I am vowing to have all the "tasks" done by Thanksgiving (gasp) because this year I really am going to sit back and enjoy the season. Like seriously. Every year I say that and every year I "last minute it". Not this year!!! Nancy

  8. Image for Kris Kris

    Laughing at your #2 suggestion--yes, I'm always amazed at what I've already bought (on sale!) and stashed away. Funny you should post this today. I just got back from Christmas shopping for my nieces and nephews on my hubby's side of the family. We celebrate Christmas with the in-laws the day after T-giving (as it's too far away to make the drive twice in a short period of time). So .... I was feeling stressed (cuz ya know, I have about 15 things I'm trying to juggle right now) this morning but now I feel great, since I found everything I needed to purchase! I may even use the next hour or two to catch up on my Poldark or Durrells in Corfu viewing while I wrap gifts--that makes my time productive, right???? ;)

  9. Image for Celeste at Penultimate Home Celeste at Penultimate Home

    Oh November and December are going to be hectic. I have multiple concerts and rehearsals until Dec. 18. I have no free weekends until then. I need to get organized or I'll go crazy. I like the idea of putting up a calendar with to-do tasks I can see. My schedule will be slightly different than yours, but thanks for the push to get it done.

  10. Image for Carol Claremont Carol Claremont

    Any day now I will start recording Christmas movies on my DVR to watch when I get a chance. That way, I will be able to watch it when I can curl up and relax and not have to hurry to watch it during its scheduled time. Luckily, most of them are repeated many times during the holidays. Do you ever watch the ones you have already seen in prior years? I do if it is a good one. Thanks for the timetable. I have to get going!!!

  11. Image for Suzy Suzy

    This is terrific! I am always so behind on all things Christmas! The adorable printables will hopefully help. I am going to print them out to give them the opportunity to help me in my disorganization. It will be so wonderful to stay on track and get everything done in an orderly fashion.

  12. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Love it! Only thing missing is when to mail gifts to cross country friends! Thanks for reminding me to get off my rear end!

  13. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I've already started watching the new and old Hallmark Christmas movies. I truly enjoy them. Happy endings! I have my Thanksgiving cards and Christmas cards and wrapping paper so far. Can't wait to see your new/old home decorated for the holidays. Thanks for the weekly checklists.

  14. Image for SharonK SharonK

    One more thing .... bright red nail polish starting on December 1 all the way through to New Year's Day!! Just to add a little cheer ... ;-) Thanks for the encouragement.

  15. Image for Pat Pat

    Love the list and the cute graphics❤️. I am printing to keep myself on track, "failure to plan = plan to fail". Thanks, Pat

  16. Image for Holly Browning Holly Browning

    Thank you for doing the dirty work for us. I can see that if I follow your plan I will enjoy my night before Christmas so much more.

  17. Image for Michelle Michelle

    People like me need this. Yes we do. People like me save everything for the last minute. With regrets, of course, because we're always left thinking, "There's so much more I could have done if I'd been more organized. Next year..." Like all other procrastinators, 'next year' is forever elusive... Well, THIS year, I'm pinning this to my to do list and just following the step-by-step directions. Simple! I can do that! Thank you!!

  18. Image for Lyndsey Lyndsey

    This is so cute and it made me feel excited! Now, do you have one for the three weeks till Thanksgiving?!? I'm really stressing over here. 😊

  19. Image for Peggy Z Peggy Z

    Love this post! Maybe I should get in gear. Where has the year gone? Need to get things line out for Thanksgiving and begin the countdown. I did start playing Christmas carols a few days ago.

  20. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Super helpful post, KariAnne! With my daughter being a ballet teacher, we have gone to the Nutcracker for many years. About 5 years ago, her studio created and started to perform "The Gift", the Nativity put to ballet/dance. They have performed it for the past 5 years, at two different churches... one of them being "Big Calvary Chapel" in Costa Mesa, where there is usually over one thousand attendees. Very much a blessing! And... it's FREE!

  21. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    Oh my...GREAT list (love the graphics)! I did everything on the my mind. LOL...I need a nap!!!

  22. Image for Ruth Ruth

    Oh, dear! I did not see Jesus on your list, I hope you will schedule some time for the reason for the season.

  23. Image for Rev. Suzanne Rev. Suzanne

    Thank you, Kerianne, for this list as an early reminder of when to begin planning for this perfectly festive annual occasion. All of these suggestions are wonderful.

  24. Image for Lolly Lolly

    Love the graphics and the encouragement to uh, get organized. This is my first Christmas and Thanksgiving being retired - so I can't say I'm too busy at work. I haven't even pulled out my Christmas decorations or put up a tree in 13 years. But I plan on doing it right this year. Thank you!

  25. Image for Dorothy Dorothy

    KariAnne, your graphics are cute! Actually, they are, but I loved reading every word in this post. It made my heart jump into my throat, because, really? 6 weeks? Then I calmed down, because I made a list (or 5) already, so I can lean back and enjoy your total asides. And add the stuff to my lists that I forgot. Blessings.

  26. Image for Charley Charley

    Karianne, remember you get a pass for Christmas decor this year. When remodeling, give yourself a break & put up the tree, have Christmas fun and leave the other Christmas decorations in the attic. Use last year's decor for the pix!

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