Thanksgiving is in a week and a half (I’m just as shocked as you are!) so, believe it or not, it’s actually a really great time to start doing some initial prep for Christmas (get those advent calendars ready so the Christmas countdown can begin shortly after Thanksgiving!). The holidays really should be the most wonderful time of year with time spent with loved ones, time away from work, and with the happy memories of the year past and excitement for the new year to come. During the holiday season, traditions are underway, decorations are hung, parties are hosted, family time is cherished, travel is alive and well, and a merry atmosphere is hopefully felt by all.
In order to really appreciate this, it’s best not to spend the days leading up to Christmas running around and trying to do a million checklist items all at once. With this in mind, I’m sharing a post on how to prepare for Christmas without missing the holiday spirit in all the hustle and bustle. A great way to cut out some of the chaos that inevitably picks up the moment Thanksgiving cooking starts (and doesn’t end until around January 2nd) is to start now with your prepping, planning, plotting, deep cleaning, and shopping. having children definitely adds to the holiday fun but also increases the holiday to-dos, so keep that in mind and do yourself a favor by letting this post help you. Here goes, how to prepare for Christmas…
How To Prepare For Christmas
I have a holiday decor headquarters over in my Holiday Home Shop but I also wanted to share a few other items here that are timeless Christmas decor items…
Wreaths: Magnolia / Woodland / Holly
Tree Collars: Wicker / Willow / Rope
I light a candle in our house every single day of the year. I’m a huge candle person. No doubt, I have my mother to thank for this because a day never went by in our house without lit candles. I associate multiple different distinct candles with different phases of life, seasons, holidays, and times of year. At the holidays, there are few things as ritualistic as lighting a candle and infusing the house with the smells of Christmas. I have a few suggestions for you on tried and true Christmas candles to warm your house up with this year.
When in doubt, the Thymes Frasier Fir candles are my absolute favorite.
This scent ignites a feeling of warmth and comfort inside me that I just can’t deny during Christmas. I go through multiple of these candles every holiday season so I also really love the large 3-wick candle.
Christmas in Charleston is truly magical! Our city is dotted with large decorated Christmas trees, homes are grandly decorated with wreaths and garland, and festivities are aplenty. That’s why I never ever mark a Christmas without burning through a few Charleston Candle Co. Charleston Christmas Candles. The scent is divine and I love supporting the local small business.
The Holiday Candle from Nest is also another classic Christmas candle that can’t be beat.
The jar is a pretty gold design too so it looks nice mixed in with holiday decor. Nest also has a really cozy wintery Birchwood Pine Candle that is another great option.
Anthropologie is a go-to source of mine for a unique decorative candle every Christmas.
This year, they partnered with Susannah Garrod for create a Merry Moments Boxed Candle. Susannah’s festive illustrations adore the beautiful candle jars and boxes of three holiday scents: “Frosted Mistletoe & Holly,” “Peppermint Stick,” and “Fresh Balsam & Cedarwood.” These are a wonderful hostess gift! If these fit your holiday decor, then you might also like these wooden tree candles, bell candles, and leaf glass candles.
I also thoroughly enjoy every candle I’ve ever burned from We Took To The Woods.
They are a South Carolina small business (based in Greenville) so I love supporting them. Their entire woods line of candles just screams Christmas and winter to me.
Tapers! We can’t forget tapers!
When it comes to timeless tapers, I always rely on Colonial Candle tapers. They have every color and every height and are just an all around great + reliable candle source!
For a few fun tapers that will add a touch of whimsy to your holiday table, I suggest Berner & Co Twist Candles, Violet Rose Marbled Candles, Northern Lights Country Christmas Candles, and Chefanie Mistletoe Candles, Skier Candles, or Star of David Candles.
Shop Christmas Lists Early
There is no secret that there are shipping delays this year. The advice everyone is giving is to shop your Christmas lists early to avoid having to pay more for shipping costs down the road, avoid having to buy backup gifts if your original ones don’t arrive in time and to avoid backorders and low stock lists. All of this will give you holiday stress that you don’t need so remember to shop for Christmas early this year, aka now and during Cyber Week.
Are you hosting a Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning breakfast, or Christmas day dinner this year for your family members? If you’re planning to try any new recipes for your menu, my #1 tip is to test them out before. You don’t have to cook everything at once in a big test run but, instead try cooking a side dish here and a side dish there until you try out all the recipes you want to test out. Alternatively, test out your whole menu at once and invite friends over to enjoy your practice round. If you need some recipe guidance, I recommend referencing:
Half Baked Harvest’s Christmas recipe guide from last year (stay tuned for this years)
Minimalist Baker’s large Christmas recipe roundup
The Defined Dish also has some delicious side recipes, yummy salads like this kale + roasted delicata squash salad and warm brussel sprout + bacon caesar salad, as well as crowd pleasing mains like this pot roast, this rack of lamb, and this roast chicken
Whether you’re heading to a cookie exchange or thinking up recipes for Christmas morning or trying out a new cookie recipe for Santa, holiday baking is part of the fun of the season. Here are a few holiday baking recipes I love (plus, more here):
Snowflake Pull-Apart Monkey Bread for Christmas morning
Gingerbread Layer Cake for Christmas Dinner
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies for Santa
Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies for a cookie exchange
Cinnamon Baked Apples for any holiday occasion
Nothing sets the tone of Christmas quite like Christmas music. We all have our local radio stations that switch over to Christmas music around now but a Spotify playlist is just more convenient. I have a Christmas music playlist for you of classics that always ring true to the spirit of the season. You’ll find your old friends Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and more.
Christmas Wrappings and Ribbons
I find wrapping presents to be such a relaxing task. I love to put on Christmas movies and get down to wrapping lots of gifts at once. There are so many talented artists that do their own unique wrapping paper now so I wanted to share some special gift wrapping options with y’all. This way your gifts will have their own personality and special touch.
Ruby Stripe Wrapping
Sara Fitz Wrapping
Rebecca Green Design Wrapping
The Illustrated Life Wrapping
Dogwood Hill Wrapping
Anastasia Marie Shop Ribbons
Fringe and Rose Ribbons
Container Store Ribbons
Anthropologie Wrapping and Ribbons
Dogwood Hill (here and here) Gift Tags
It is definitely not too late to get your Christmas cards ordered! There are fabulous, easy options out there like Minted but, if you want something a little more unique, then I’d suggest Christmas card hunting from:
What to Wear on Christmas
Oh what to wear on Christmas! It really depends on how formal your family dresses. Are you coming off the ski mountain on Christmas day and putting on comfortable jeans and a cute sweater or are you sitting down for a suit and tie style formal family dinner party? Either way, I’m trying to curate different Christmas looks with my Christmas style shop! Remember I’m adding to it every week so it is a great place to bookmark and check back in on.
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Christmas morning pajamas. I’ve created a one-stop-shop for Christmas pajamas for the whole family here but I just have to shoutout these adorably whimsical festive forest holiday pajamas by illustrator Inslee Fariss. Oh what fun!
Baby’s First Christmas
To mark your baby’s first Christmas, I really commend the Christmas memories book I mention below in my next section. It will become such a special piece of family history. Another idea is to buy an annual Christmas ornament for the year your baby was born. Croghan’s Jewel Box also has an entire section of heartwarming baby mementos that make for beautiful Christmas tokens and gifts. Lastly, two cute little Christmas items for baby’s first Christmas are this precious footie and this personalized book.
I’m such a sentimental person who cherishes the past so I jump at any chance to mark memories. Last year, I started a Christmas Memories Book for Rowan. I plan to do one for any future children we have as well. You can also do one for your family as a whole but I like the idea of each of my children having their own personalized book to flip through and reflect on one day.
This Christmas Memories Book is so so special. The book covers 20 years so it will ultimately be filled with memories from 20 special Christmas seasons. The book is adorned with fine calligraphy and drawings with each year featuring a pen and ink drawing of a different 19th century tradition, accompanied by an explanation of the holiday custom featured. It has prompts to record visitors, gifts, memories, and happenings as well as spaces for Christmas cards and family photos. Truly something to be cherished!
Set a Budget
There is clearly so much that goes into Christmas and between spending money on gifts, Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, outfits, food, hosting, hostess gifts, parties with gifts (ornament exchanges, secret Santas, white elephants etc), wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and travel it can really add up quickly before your very eyes. As a result, it is helpful to look at your end of year finances and set a holiday budget to stick to so you don’t add extra stress to the Christmas season. Pssst, take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings too when you do your holiday gift shopping. Every penny counts!
I hope this post helps you get ready for Christmas with your family and friends! My philosophy is that there is a lot to take into consideration with the holidays and the sooner we all get a jump on it, the more we’ll be able to enjoy the holidays when they arrive. Can you tell I love Christmas!? Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!