Here’s how you can make this year’s Christmas shopping and preparations simple, smooth, and painless. (Hint: Start now!)

We know what you’re thinking: It’s too soon to start planning for Christmas. It’s barely even October! I just put my Halloween decorations up! But before you know it, you’ll be packing up the giant skeletons and oversized spider webs from outside your house, and the full-on sprint to the holidays will commence. That means if you want a worry-free, hassle-free Christmas, you need to act now.

Here’s how you can plan and prepare for Christmas before it’s too late.

christmas shopping tips with woman looking at giant christmas tree

Christmas shopping made easy

October, in fact, often is the best month to shop for Christmas gifts. Many retailers have extended their holiday shopping season ― including Personalization Mall ― meaning it’s in your best interests to start Christmas shopping early. You no longer have to wait until after Thanksgiving for the best deals: You can get all the popular holiday offers, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and doorbuster deals, right now.

As always, you should start by creating a holiday budget and Christmas shopping list. Your budget should include all the gifts you need to get for family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and everyone else on your list. You should also include expenses for holiday decorations, Christmas cards and stamps, gift wrapping, holiday outfits for the family, your charitable donations, travel costs, and anything else you’re planning on purchasing. Add a small buffer for incidentals, and make sure to track your purchases and expenses so you stay on budget.

Below, you’ll find a holiday checklist with approximate dates to help you plan and get everything done on time and on budget.

christmas shopping tips with christmas tablescape

Christmas planning checklist

To help you plan and prepare for the most important details of this holiday season, we’ve put together a Christmas planning checklist so you can avoid the stress of getting everything done to make this year’s holidays cozy and relaxing for the whole family.

12 weeks to Christmas – Oct. 2

10 weeks to Christmas – Oct. 16

8 weeks to Christmas – Oct. 30

  • Start Christmas shopping in earnest – Black Friday deals are already here!
  • Talk with your family and decide on when and how you will meet during Christmas
  • Update the address list for your Christmas cards

7 weeks to Christmas – Nov. 6

  • Order your Christmas cards, address labels, and stamps (or craft your own cards)
  • Check your Christmas supplies and order any decorations you might need
  • Stock your pantry with nonperishable items, alcohol, baking goods, and other essentials

6 weeks to Christmas – Nov. 13

  • Clean, organize, and donate items to charity (especially toys and winter clothes)
  • Make Christmas ornaments and other holiday crafts to decorate with
  • Order holiday gift wrap, tags, bows, and other necessities

5 weeks to Christmas – Nov. 20 (Thanksgiving week)

  • Send out your Christmas cards
  • Mail your care packages and gifts to family & friends
  • Order your fresh Christmas tree or visit a Christmas tree farm

4 weeks to Christmas – Nov. 27

3 weeks to Christmas – Dec. 4

  • Make a gingerbread house, go ice skating or sledding, or enjoy a walk in the woods
  • Finish Christmas gift shopping by placing your last-minute online orders
  • Wrap presents that are ready and hang up your stockings by the fireplace

2 weeks to Christmas – Dec. 11

  • Plan your Christmas Day menu and test any recipes you’re unsure about
  • Find a creative way to display your Christmas cards
  • Host an ugly Christmas sweater party with friends and family

1 week to Christmas – Dec. 18

  • Listen to your favorite holiday tunes and finish wrapping Christmas presents
  • Bake Christmas cookies to share with neighbors, family, and friends
  • Finalize your holiday menu and go grocery shopping
christmas shopping tips with cup of cocoa

Christmas Eve – Dec. 24

  • Make hot chocolate, get the fire going in the fireplace, and have a Christmas movie marathon
  • Enjoy baking, crafting, or games, or read a Christmas classic (like “The Night Before Christmas”)
  • Go for a walk or drive to see the neighborhood Christmas lights
  • Have kids open their Christmas Eve boxes or exchange one small gift
  • Leave Christmas cookies and milk for Santa (and carrots for his reindeer)

Christmas Day – Dec. 25

  • Wake up to gifts from Santa and exchange gifts with family members
  • Enjoy your favorite Christmas traditions with family and take memorable photos
  • Sing Christmas carols or watch a favorite holiday movie and relax with loved ones
  • Call or zoom with long-distance family and friends
  • Write thank-you notes or make a list of what you received so you can write them later

Kasia Lorenc is a writer and editor at Personalization Mall, covering gifting, home decorating and more.


  1. Cheryl Zahn Reply

    My comment has to do with Halloween. Is it possible to have the Trick or Treat bags be glow in the dark?

    • Kasia Reply

      Hi Cheryl,

      At this time, we offer glow-in-the-dark trick or treat totes. Simply search our site for glow-in-the-dark or click here.

  2. Carol Fuggio Reply

    When will there be free shipping? I have quite a few gifts to buy and when you have to pay shipping it becomes so expensive.

    • Kasia Reply

      Hi Carol,

      We will have multiple offers for limited time free shipping this month – including this week! Keep an eye on our email notifications or sign up for text alerts by texting the word “JOIN” to 52817.

  3. Christine Sullivan Reply

    I ordered 3 ornaments last week. Can you tell me when I can expect my delivery?

  4. Louise Hurst Reply

    I have several mugs that I would like to order. Each are different with different photos and comments. How do I do that?

    • Kasia Reply

      Hi Louise,
      You can find a variety of photo mug designs here: Photo Mugs. Once you choose your mug style and color, simply upload your photos, add text and other custom details. If you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Support.

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