Christmas tips

10 Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas in November

It seems there are camps this time of year. You are either Camp Thanksgiving or Camp Christmas is coming. While I love everything about Thanksgiving, I also do most of the heavy lifting for Christmas in November so I can enjoy the season even more. So, what do I do now? There are 10 simple ways to prepare for Christmas now and if you do them, you will thank yourself later!


1. Create a Christmas Shopping List

Go ahead and print off a printable shopping list like the one above and start making a list of all the people you need to shop for and ideas you have. Once you have that started, you can determine what you need to buy and where.. When you have a plan and a list, you are more likely to stick to your budget and shop purposefully.

2. Create a Christmas Budget

This could be interchanged with creating a Christmas list. For me, I like to determine who I am buying for and then set a budget from there. For my husband’s family, we draw names and have a set price limit for each gift (around $30 for kids and $40 for adults) which really helps. I tend to stick to the same price point for other family members too. Then I also determine what my kids want and establish a reasonable budget for their gifts. There is no need to go into debt to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

3.  Begin Shopping

Now that you have a list you can begin shopping.  Often times on Amazon things go up in price as the season goes on.  Last year, my son wanted a particular lego set and the price jumped 30% after Thanksgiving.  Supply and demand people.  Shop early!

I also was that parent buying a $20 American girl dog from a 3rd party vendor because it was sold out on the website and that was THE ONLY THING my daughter really wanted for Christmas.  Don’t risk items selling out if you see it and you think you want it, buy it and tape the receipt to the item.  You can always return it.

Check out these gift guides for great ideas to get you started –

Advent Calendar Gift Guide

Elementary Age Boys Gift Guide

Family Games Gift Guide

Picture Books Gift Guide

4.  Create a Christmas Bucket List

There are only 24 days until Christmas in December.  You might say that’s obvious but inevitably if you don’t plan for the things you really want to do, your days will be filled with other engagements.  Every year, we plan to go to a lighted holiday display and have a pizza picnic in the car, I put that on the calendar now so that we don’t miss it.

The Simple Purposeful Living Shop will be selling a simple, fun and purposeful Advent Activities kit. The kit comes with 43 perforated ideas to put in an advent calendar so you can plan to do a little simple fun with your family.  Buy yours here.  Bonus, $5 from every sale of that kit goes back to adoption care as part of the Simple Purposeful Living Gives Back project!

Annual Christmas Lights and Cocoa Party

5. Plan Your Family Christmas & Christmas Parties

If you have family and you are coordinating when to have Christmas, start planning now.  Have you ever tried to coordinate 2-5 families’ schedules and find a date that works?  If you have, then you know it’s good to plan early!  Be flexible with one another,  although Christmas is on December 25th, the spirit and purpose of Christmas can be celebrated on any day!

It might be an office party or inviting your small group over for a Christmas meal, but whatever it is, it’s good to let people know early so they can mark their calendar and gives you time to plan a fun party.

Need some party inspiration, check out these posts –

Snowball Party Games

Adult Party Game Ideas

Simple Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

Simple Baked Mexican Dip Recipe


6.  Find & Purchase Christmas Attire

It’s never too early to think about what your family will wear for Christmas.  For some of you, this is not important but it’s one of two times a year I try to have all 3 of my children coordinate, the other is Easter.  The days are fleeting they will comply.  Even if you don’t want to dress clothes, who doesn’t love matching holiday pajamas?

Last year I waited too long and it was hard to find coordinating clothes and pajamas in all the different sizes.  Take it from me, shop early so you can get exactly what you want.

7.  Prepare Christmas Cards

Go ahead and take a family photo or compile some photos from the year and order your cards.  Places like Vista Print or Shutterfly have some great options.  Right now Vista Print is running 50% special with code NOVEMBER19 and Shutterfly is running 50% off + extra 20% sitewide.

You have time to gather all the addresses of your card recipients, get stamps and get a fun, festive return address stamp.  Create an assembly line with your family and get them all ready to send and then mail them right after Thanksgiving.


8.  Purchase Wrapping Supplies

It’s a great time to stock up on Christmas gift wrap.  My favorite place to buy it is Hobby Lobby.  Their paper is thick and high quality and you get huge rolls.  Costco also has large packs of tissue paper for a great price.  Don’t forget bags, gift tags, bows, tape, and scissors.

Once you have purchased all your supplies, create a space in your home, maybe a spare bedroom or a drawer in a buffet or dresser so you can be ready with all the essentials in one spot.


9.  Create a space for your presents

Around here little minds will want to know what I have bought so I create a space in our storeroom to hide all the presents.  I hide them in totes out of eyesight and reach.  I will periodically pull all of it out to make sure I have everything I need and crossed off the list and wrap it all up.

Many times the Christmas totes that are emptied of decor are where I hide all the presents :).


10.  Put Up Your Exterior Christmas Decorations and Lights

Especially if you live in the midwest,  it’s safe to say the cold is going to set in soon (if it hasn’t already).  Take advantage of a warm day in November to put up all your decor.  You don’t even have to turn them on but when you are stuffed full of turkey the day after Thanksgiving all you have to do is plug them in.


Are you motivated to get started now?

No matter what camp you fall in – Thanksgiving first or bring on Christmas, you can do these few simple things now.  I promise you will thank yourself come December when you have fewer items on that to-do list.  Give yourself the gift of a headstart this Christmas season.  You don’t even have to put up the tree.  What are you doing now to prepare for Christmas?

Don’t forget to get your kids a fun advent calendar?

Advent Calendar Idea for Every Age

You might also like these Christmas-related posts –

Christmas Home Tour

Bake Now Serve Later Quiche

5 Tips to Stay Sane

Have you Lost your Christmas Spirit?

Christmas Party Game Ideas

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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5 Simple Christmas Tips to Keep You Sane


If I could I would hand you a hot cup of something (I prefer water, yes I know #oldlady) and give you a hug while I turn on the Christmas tunes because it really is the most wonderful time of the year even if we feel slightly crazy!  Today, I am sharing 5 tips that keep me from going totally crazy at Christmas.   Friends who can encourage you are not included on the list, but a given! Amen?

5 Simple Christmas Tips to Keep You Sane

1.  Make a Master To Do List

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get so overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done ON TOP of all the normal stuff, you know like clean undies and dishes.  You will feel so much better once your brain dumps it out on paper and you can see it all.

It’s never too late to start and write a few things you have already done so you can get the sudden sensation of crossing something off that list!  Make sure if your kids can see your list, you watch you write.  #takeitfromme

2.  Do a Christmas Morning Dress Rehearsal

There is nothing worse than realizing you need batteries #beenthere or you don’t have enough for one kid’s stocking.  Lay it all out and check your list twice.  I even like to place all the stocking items in the stocking just to see that it all fits.  Then I place all the items in a grocery sack and write each kid’s name on it so that on Christmas Eve, all I have to do is stuff and know I have everything I need.

Also, some toys take forever to put together (I am looking at you play kitchen) so if you can plan ahead to have that built and ready to go, you will thank yourself.

3.  Do a Little Every Day

As you get deliveries, open up the boxes and place everything where it goes.  Wrap the items you can.  My favorite hiding spot for Christmas presents is in the empty Christmas decor bins in my basement storage room.

Check your master to-do list and pick a few things every day to do.  If you are making a dish for one event, think can I make 2 and plan ahead for Christmas.  I just made a quiche for a neighborhood lady get together and made an extra for Christmas morning.  Now all I have to do is rewarm it Christmas morning.


I love having my gift wrap at my disposal in my front entry dresser.  I have tape, scissors, tissue paper and tags all there so it’s easy to wrap a gift right when I get it.

4.  It’s Ok to Say No

I wrote a guest post on my friend Sarah’s blog.  (You can read it here)  I also shared my thoughts on saying no this Christmas on Facebook live.  My biggest takeaway is that saying no this season doesn’t mean no forever.  Maybe, it’s just not the year for Christmas cards or you can’t attend that charity Christmas party.  It’s okay to say no so that you can say to the best stuff this season!

5.  Give Yourself Grace

My other encouragement is that “some” is the name of my game this year.  Our Elf is lazy and we have not gotten to our evening devotion more times than we have. We even missed a few of our 25 days of activities because of LIFE.  It’s okay.  Some is better than none!  

So there you have it, 5 simple Christmas tips to keep you sane this Christmas.

You might also like these articles —

If you have lost your Christmas spirit, you aren’t alone, read this post.

10 Things to do Now for Christmas 

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simply purposeful life.
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