To help make the holiday season a little less stressful, we have developed a printable Holiday Checklist (click to download) and a  three month schedule, complete with links to our favourite holiday tips. Use these lists to plan your next dinner, party and all things gifting!

  • Shop for gifts year round when the stores have a good selection and you can take advantage of sales. Watch for unusual or “just right” items while on vacation.
  • Start handmade gift items or crafts in January to ensure they’ll be ready in time.
  • ​Make a few extra preserves in special jars during the summer for gifts. See our Preserving How-To section.
  • ​Keep all items purchased or made in one place. A list of items (what, for whom) lets you know at a glance what you have on hand.




Here are some great hostess gift ideas from the kitchen:

For more ideas, download our Gifts from the Kitchen PDF or visit our Holiday Baking page. 


  • ​Start a master grocery list. Buy items on sale and as the budget allows. Visit our Holiday Tips For Success page for more ideas on how to save money on groceries.
  • ​Decide what entertaining you wish to do and place dates on your calendar.
  • ​Complete redecorating projects.
  • ​Bake and season dark  fruitcakes. Learn more about seasoning a fruitcake here!
  • ​Start purchasing or making gifts.
  • ​If you do not have enough, purchase gift wrap, ribbon, tape, cards, candles, decorations and napkins. For decorating tips and ideas, visit our Christmas Decorations page.
  • ​Write a gift list of items already purchased as well as those needed. Set a spending limit.
  • ​Check the post office for a list of mailing deadlines. Add pertinent ones to your calendar.
  • ​Decide what holiday parties or family “get-togethers’ you want to have.  Set dates and begin thinking about guest lists and food.
  • ​Reserve babysitters as the dates of special holiday functions become known.
  • ​Stock up on often-used items as they go on special. Purchase specialty food items such as candy, nuts, crackers, specialty baking ingredients, etc. little by little as the budget allows.

  • ​Write and send holiday newsletters, Christmas cards or E-cards.
  • ​Wrap gifts. Save all receipts in one envelope until after Christmas. See our Christmas Decorations page for gift wrapping ideas.
  • ​Polish silver and then wrap in clean cloths.
  • ​Clean and press tablecloths and napkins and fold over a padded hanger to minimize wrinkles.
  • ​Prepare and season shortbread, light fruitcakes, Christmas puddings and other holiday baking. See our Holiday Baking page for ideas!
  • ​Freeze any special holiday breads or rolls.
  • ​Schedule some free time for concerts and parties.
  • ​Check Christmas lights and put up before weather gets really cold.
  • ​Check guest room for readiness.
  • ​Check table linens for cleanliness, stains, pressing required. Store ready-to-use cloths over a padded hanger to minimize the wrinkling​
  • ​Prepare and freeze casserole meals for busy nights in December. See our Make Ahead Meals page for recipes.
  • ​Prepare any food that freezes well for planned parties or anticipated guests.

  • ​Purchase all non-perishable groceries needed.
  • ​Decorate for Christmas.
  • ​Begin decorating the home. Check out our Christmas Decorations page for tips and tricks for decorating your home on a budget!
  • ​Prepare bread for stuffing and freeze.
  • ​Finalize menus.
  • ​Prepare cranberry sauce and freeze.
  • ​Record a holiday greeting on the answering machine.
  • ​Send Christmas plans to special friends and family.
  • ​Purchase turkey or remove from freezer and estimate thawing time. See our Turkey and the Trimmings page for information on purchasing to carving and everything in between.
  • ​Buy perishables.
  • ​Do a final housecleaning.
  • ​Put nuts and candy into serving dishes. Cover and store.
  • ​Decorate tree if it has not been done already. For decorating tips and ideas, visit our Christmas Decorations page.
  • ​Clean house.
  • ​Bring out inaccessible serving pieces, china, glassware, etc
  • ​Reorganize refrigerator for extra space.
  • ​​Put condiments into serving dishes. Refrigerate.
  • ​Set table with flatware, napkins, wine glasses, water goblets, candles and centerpiece.
  • ​Wash and prepare salad greens.
  • ​Prepare dressing ingredients in separate packets and keep refrigerated.
  • ​Thaw frozen food for Christmas menu in refrigerator.
  • ​Combine punch ingredients except for carbonated ingredients.
  • ​Set the table for Christmas dinner. Cover with drop sheet.
  • ​Prepare soup or other starters and refrigerate.


  • ​Combine and refrigerate any overnight breakfast dishes or stratas, coffee cakes or sweet rolls.


  • ​Touch up the house.

​Last minute get together? Here are some quick recipes perfect for spontanous events:

For more appetizer ideas, download our Appetizers - Winning Beginnings PDF.



Last updated on January 22, 2019