Preparing for Christmas can be stressful—but it doesn’t have to be. If you divide your tasks into bite-size pieces week by week, it can even be a pleasure! To help you get there, we came up with this handy 5-week Christmas planner. (This might just be your new favorite holiday tradition!)

5 weeks before Christmas:

Time to go shopping! Make a list of everyone you need to get presents for, and give yourself at least a month to make the mall trips as stress-free as possible.
Speaking of lists, now is a good time to gather names for your Christmas card recipients. Think about people you’ve grown closer with over the last year, those you’d like to develop a relationship with either personally or professionally, anyone you’d like to thank or stay in contact with, and any loved ones you will or won’t be seeing over the holiday season.

4 weeks before Christmas:

Next comes the most important part of the card: the family photo. Decide who will be taking the picture (a professional photographer, a willing friend, or maybe just the timer on your camera). Before you say cheese, put some thought into the setting, clothing, facial expressions and poses you’d like to capture.
If you’re hosting for Christmas this year, it’s time to send out invitations! Whether it’s just your immediate family or close friends, instead of inviting guests by text or with a phone call, add a little extra holiday spirit with an online Christmas invitation.

3 weeks before Christmas:

Smell that sweet scent of pine? It’s time to get your Christmas tree! Depending on which tree you’re after will determine exactly when you should buy it. The traditional Christmas tree, the spruce, lasts about 12 days before the needles start to drop—so buy this tree closer to Christmas time. If you’re too excited to wait to decorate, go for a fir – they cost more but the needles won’t drop.
While you’re in the decorating spirit, this is an appropriate time to hang your Christmas lights, stockings and other festive decorations around the house.

2 weeks before Christmas:

Now you should be thinking about food. Plan your meals, shopping lists and maybe even online grocery deliveries. Stock up on non-perishables and stocking stuffers. It’s also a good time to start wrapping those piles of presents.
Next, pick out your favorite photo from the family shoot, and finalize that Christmas card. If you want to avoid post office stress, postage costs, and the headache of tracking down mailing addresses, go for an eCard. It’s easier, quicker, and less expensive than traditional printed cards. It’s also a much more practical way to get your card to friends and family near and far: whether they’re travelling for the holiday season, in the military, across the globe or even next door! For ideas on perfecting your Christmas card look, check out our huge collection of professionally-designed, easy-to-customize eCard templates for Christmas.

Christmas card templates from Smilebox

1 week before Christmas:

Christmas is almost here! Now’s the time to cook, clean, launder, finish wrapping any remaining presents, and buy the perishable food. Double check that you sent your Christmas card to everyone on your list. Start arranging those gifts under the tree. Now, put on some Christmas tunes, pour yourself a glass of eggnog, kick up your legs, and take a breather—you earned it!

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂