It’s never too early to start on your holiday checklist. The holidays can be an extremely stressful time but you can irradicate anxiety with proper planning. Don’t go into the Christmas and holiday season flying blind. If you have a plan in place with actionable steps, you can check things off your list until you’ve achieved all of your holiday goals. There’s so much to do during the final months of the year so stay on top of your checklist to stay on track.
We have devised some excellent tips to create the perfect holiday checklist that will allow you to make the most out of your time and to get all the things that need to be done checked off. From budgeting for gifts to sending thank you cards after the holidays, we’ve got all the hacks you need to make the most of the holiday season. Let’s go!
Mamas Uncut is a participant in multiple affiliate programs, including Skimlinks, ShareASale, Commission Junction, and the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Mamas Uncut may earn a percentage of revenue generated from purchases made via the links in this post.
1. Create a Holiday Budget
Before you purchase your first holiday gift, create a budget for how much you can actually afford to spend over the holidays. Many of us end up with maxed-out credit cards by the end of the year but it doesn’t have to be that way.
$6.99 at the time of publication.
This cute Christmas planner is an excellent option when you’re starting your holiday checklist. It contains a budget planner, a gift list, a monthly planner, a place for you to create a to-do list, a place to record holiday recipes, and so much more. Once you’ve calculated that budget, stay on track with the budget planner inside. Don’t miss the coloring pages inside either for helping to reduce stress!
2. Make a Holiday Calendar
If you’re skipping the Christmas planner we just shared with you, there are a number of ways to plan your holiday calendar. We recommend starting with ordering those online presents first and then moving on to your Christmas cards.
2022 Christmas Calendar
$8.99 at the time of publication.
No, you do not need to purchase this Christmas Calendar but it looks so cute you might just want to use it to help with your checklist. It has all sorts of organizational sections that will really help you out.
Papyrus Holiday Cards Boxed with Envelopes
$11.31 at the time of publication.
If you’re not having your Christmas cards printed, we suggest these magical cards that are bursting with color.
3. Create an Inventory of Your Holiday Supplies to Discover What You Will Need to Purchase
Next up on the checklist, is to pull out all of your wrapping paper and supplies, holiday decorations, etc. Do you need more ribbons? Has a string of lights died? Make a list of all of your supplies and make sure to budget for them as well.
Christmas Wrapping Paper: Brown Kraft Paper with Red and Green
$22.39 at the time of publication.
If you need to restock your wrapping paper, try our editors’ favorite paper. Order today and mark it off of your checklist.
4. Plan the Perfect Holiday Menu
The very first Christmas Planner we shared with you has a checklist for all of your holiday recipes. Write down all the foods you want to prepare. Then, time them out to figure out what can be made ahead and how to stagger your baked items. For instance, deviled eggs can be made a day or two ahead while other items like a dressed salad will need to be made right before the meal. Time it out right and you won’t lose your mind in the kitchen this year.
5. Set Aside Time for Decorating and Do It Early
High up on your checklist should be putting up the holiday decorations. Go ahead and get it out of the way so can turn your attention to other tasks. Decorating for the holidays always takes longer than anticipated so be sure to budget plenty of time to get it done.
6. Purchase Your Christmas Tree
Purchasing a tree should go hand-in-hand with the last item on your checklist. Plan where you want to buy the tree and set aside some time to get it home, erected, and decorated.
National Tree Company Pre-Lit Artificial Full Christmas Tree
$59.12 at the time of publication.
We understand that people have really strong opinions about having a real Christmas tree, but if you’re not married to that idea, go for a faux tree. It could not be any simpler and it will save you plenty of time and money. Get it marked off your checklist early and you won’t miss the hassle of a real tree.
7. Go Grocery Shopping for All of Your Holiday Needs
Get the shopping done as early as possible. Make sure to get the ingredients for your make-ahead items that can be frozen (think casseroles and pies). This can be done in more than one trip but just take time to plan your menu and shop accordingly.
8. Wrap Those Gifts
Who among us has waited until the last minute to wrap gifts and has stayed up until the crack of dawn wrapping all of them? We’ve been there. Get as much of your holiday wrapping done as early as possible and you will thank yourself. You could set aside time on a given day of the week to wrap what you already have that way a mountain of presents is not waiting on you come, Christmas Eve.
9. The Final Countdown and Inspection
At this point in your checklist, you should be assessing all of your decorations, ensuring that you have pulled all the special dishes you will need for the feast, and getting into the final stages of your food preparation.
10. Christmas Eve
You’re almost through it! Next on your checklist, is to put the presents under the tree. Make sure the tree is looking as you want it. Then, take some pictures to celebrate all that you have accomplished.
11. Christmas Day
The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Because you’ve stuck to your checklist, it’s time to enjoy time with family feasting and opening gifts. Pat yourself on the back because you made it through another year!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 30 Best Holiday Recipes That Are Pretty Easy and Absolutely Delicious
12. Send Thank You Notes
You’ve nailed another holiday season and the very last thing on your checklist should be sending Thank You notes to your friends and family It’s a small gesture that people will really appreciate.
Paper Frenzy Christmas Greenery Thank You Note Cards
$9.99 at the time of publication.
We love these botanical-themed Christmas Thank You cards. They are a good deal with 25 coming in this $10. Folks will love seeing your thoughtful notes inside!
There you go! You made it. We hope this holiday checklist will help you out this year. Just follow these steps and you will stay on track and sane this Christmas. If you would like to learn about our favorite holiday recipes, keep reading. We’ve got dozens of delightful yet easy dishes for you to try.
Starters, Appetizers, Snacking
Cheesy, spicy, sausage balls are a popular holiday recipe that can be made in advance and even frozen. We encourage you to up the spice in this basic recipe from Betty Crocker. Add mustard powder or sage (can there ever be too much when paired with pork?) or red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Pro tip: prepare the balls but don’t bake them a day before you want them prepared. Sitting overnight in the fridge allows the flavors to marry and become even more delicious.
Cheese Ball Bites
The classic cheese ball we all know and love gets a makeover with these cute little cheese ball bites. We like the pretzel handles but they can also be placed on top of crackers if that’s more your speed. These are a perfect starter to make ahead. Just pull them out of your fridge to come to room temperature before serving.
Frozen puff pastry makes quick work of these cheesy spinach puffs. These vegetarian puffs are filled with cream cheese and a Mexican cheese blend for a little kick.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
If you prefer your spinach delivered in dip form, this classic spinach artichoke dip is going to be the holiday recipe for you. This dip’s prep is an absolute breeze and will take you no more than 15 minutes. You can assemble everything ahead of time and bake it about 40 minutes before you want to serve it.
A classic shrimp cocktail with a zesty/spicy homemade dipping sauce is a real crowd-pleaser that’s never going out of style. It’s one of our go-to holiday recipes. You might think it’s an undertaking but the cocktail sauce can be made 2 weeks ahead, and shrimp can be poached a day or two ahead, both kept wrapped and refrigerated.
Ree’s Classic Hot Wings
Ree Drummond‘s hot wings are the ones to beat as far as we are concerned. These wings are easy to come together and have a spicy sauce that’s hot but not too hot for most. Who says you can’t have messy fingers this holiday season?
Pull-Apart Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread
It doesn’t get much more festive than this! This cheesy bread is rolled into balls and shaped into a Christmas tree. Grab a ball of dough from your grocery store or favorite pizza shop and this will come together so quickly.
Million Dollar Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are one of the most classic holiday recipes that have been on Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads for decades. This recipe kicks up the flavor with punchy ingredients like the addition of pickle juice. These can be made a day in advance.
Roasted Carrots with Whipped Tahini, Sticky Dates & Crispy Quinoa
Update the old roasted carrot recipe with one that offers creamy, nutty goodness from the whipped tahini and a surprising crunch from the crispy quinoa. Yum!
Asian-Inspired BBQ Brussels Sprouts
These Brussels sprouts get a fresh makeover with the addition of BBQ sauce and other Asian ingredients that bring tang and depth of flavor. These babies can be prepared in your air fryer for convenience but if you don’t have one, that’s totally fine. They crisp up just as nicely in the oven.
Chorizo and Calabrian Chile Stuffing
Classic stuffing is so great you might not want to mess with perfection. But, for us, a little spice is always nice. Chorizo and mild Calabrian Chile bring a meaty heat to this dish that cuts through the richness of the stuffing. If you’re looking to try something new, this is one of the most exciting stuffing recipes we’ve come across.
RELATED: Make Your Favorite Starbucks Items at Home With These 25 Copycat Recipes
Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese
IYKYK about the Mac and Cheese from Panera. This copycat dish captures the sublime creamy, cheesy, goodness of Panera’s signature. It will get along well with your other holiday recipes and is as easy as it gets.
Hasselback Butternut Squash with Sage
Have you ever seen a more elegant Butternut Squash Side? This holiday recipe finds roasted squash topped with a buttery sauce with all things warm spice and some sweet additions to bring out the natural sweetness. This could be the holiday recipe that your friends and family will not stop talking about.
Kabocha Squash in Maple Soy Brown Butter
Kabocha squash has become more and more readily available in supermarkets across the country. If you have not had it yet, treat yourself to this deceptively simple preparation that pairs salty miso with sweet maple for some seriously amazing flavor.
Celery Caesar Salad
For some families, celery is a polarizing ingredient. If that’s not the case for yours, you are in for a real treat with this crunchy and refreshing Celery Salad. Instead of gloopy dressing, this one is finished closer to a vinaigrette so it’s lighter and brighter.
Chrissy Teigen’s Broccoli Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing
If you’re looking for lighter holiday recipes, consider your salad options and go for something a bit more unconventional. Chrissy Teigen‘s Vegan Broccoli Salad has a little sweetness, a little spice, and a hint of creaminess thanks to the dressing. Not every holiday recipe should result in a food coma.
Green Beans and Greens With Fried Shallots
Sure, that mushroom soup green bean casserole is fine but we prefer something a lot lighter with much more texture. Alison Roman‘s Green Beans and Greens holiday recipe is crunchy, punchy, and totally comforting. This dish is sauteed quickly and comes together in about 20 minutes. As with most of Roman’s recipes, a few ingredients tell an outsized story.
Roast Sweet Potatoes with Kimchi Butter
If you want to skip the souffle this year and go with something out of the box, consider roasting Sweet Potatoes and topping them with funky Kimchi Butter. Sweet, salty, earthy, and balanced once you try these sweet potatoes you will wonder how you ever ate them any other way.
Very Good Turkey with Tangy Roasted Shallots and Excellent Gravy
Okay, we admit we’re in Alison Roman’s cult but her holiday recipes are simple to come together and really deliver. The same is true for her Turkey Recipe which encourages you to season your bird with reckless abandon. In addition to the basic steps to follow, she’s also included ways for you to spin the recipe to add new flavors and more dimension to the holiday turkey.
Mustard-Crusted Boneless Prime Rib Roast with Cream Sauce
This crusty, juicy Prime Rib Roast uses a reverse sear method for a great crust but with meat inside that is evenly cooked and very tender. If you follow this method, you will not have a dry, tough roast but just in case, there is a delightful horseradish and mustard cream sauce. This holiday recipe could replace turkey for Thanksgiving this year or land on your Christmas table.
Brown Sugar and Mustard-Glazed Ham
Ham is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas and this Sweet yet Salty Ham is the holiday recipe that will really please a crowd. This large ham will take a few hours to roast in the oven but needs almost an hour to rest. That means it can hang out and cool while you roast your sides. It’s just as delicious at room temperature as it is warm.
Grilled Vinegar Turkey With Chiles and Rosemary
This Grilled Turkey is split in half before hitting the grill to ensure even cooking and deliciously crisp skin. In this holiday recipe, vinegar spiked with chiles offers a satisfying zing next to the richness of the turkey meat. If you want to bust out the grill this holiday season, here’s the holiday recipe for you!
Beef Wellington with Green Sauce
Beef Wellington is a retro dish that’s delightful and much easier to make than you might expect. Mushrooms add depth and complexity to the beefy filling while an herbaceous and citrus-infused sauce brings brightness and acidity that cuts through the richness of the beef. It’s Beef Wellington for the modern era.
Smooth and Spicy Pumpkin Pie
Our favorite Pumpkin Pie holiday recipe is from King Arthur Flour. Say no to bland pumpkin pie! This spice-forward pie has one of the smoothest, creamiest interiors which is a match made in heaven. It does call for one specialty ingredient, Vietnamese Cinnamon, but you can order it today to get it before you back. Trust us, it’s worth it.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Beautiful Bakes From Former Great British Bake Off Contestants That Will Make You Drool
Oreo Ice Cream Dessert
Are you not looking forward to baking a pie this year? We’ve got a holiday recipe for you that can be made weeks ahead as in today to be enjoyed on Thanksgiving. In fact, it keeps in the freezer for several weeks so you could do a batch for your next holiday gathering as well. Oreo cookies and cream is the classic flavor combo in this delightful holiday recipe.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Some folks prefer cake over pie and if that’s true for you and your family we highly recommend this Pumpkin Bundt Cake. Bake it once and prepare to count it among your most prized holiday recipes.
Cinnamon Crunch Crinkle Apple Pie
Want to take Apple Pie to the next level? You must try this holiday recipe that takes all of the elements that make apple pie special (cinnamon, sweet apples, and a touch of tartness) but bumps up the flavor and crunch factor a ton!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 1. Create a Holiday Budget
- 2 Christmas Planner
- 3 2. Make a Holiday Calendar
- 4 2022 Christmas Calendar
- 5 Papyrus Holiday Cards Boxed with Envelopes
- 6 3. Create an Inventory of Your Holiday Supplies to Discover What You Will Need to Purchase
- 7 Christmas Wrapping Paper: Brown Kraft Paper with Red and Green
- 8 4. Plan the Perfect Holiday Menu
- 9 5. Set Aside Time for Decorating and Do It Early
- 10 6. Purchase Your Christmas Tree
- 11 National Tree Company Pre-Lit Artificial Full Christmas Tree
- 12 7. Go Grocery Shopping for All of Your Holiday Needs
- 13 8. Wrap Those Gifts
- 14 9. The Final Countdown and Inspection
- 15 10. Christmas Eve
- 16 11. Christmas Day
- 17 12. Send Thank You Notes
- 18 Paper Frenzy Christmas Greenery Thank You Note Cards
- 19 Starters, Appetizers, Snacking
- 20 Sides
- 20.1 Roasted Carrots with Whipped Tahini, Sticky Dates & Crispy Quinoa
- 20.2 Asian-Inspired BBQ Brussels Sprouts
- 20.3 Chorizo and Calabrian Chile Stuffing
- 20.4 Copycat Panera Mac & Cheese
- 20.5 Hasselback Butternut Squash with Sage
- 20.6 Kabocha Squash in Maple Soy Brown Butter
- 20.7 Celery Caesar Salad
- 20.8 Chrissy Teigen’s Broccoli Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing
- 20.9 Green Beans and Greens With Fried Shallots
- 20.10 Roast Sweet Potatoes with Kimchi Butter
- 21 Mains
- 22 Desserts
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.