Okay, you might be thinking: “It’s October, and he’s already starting to talk about the holiday season.” In an ideal world, I wouldn’t bring up Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, if I waited until then, many of the ideas, recipes, and DIYs I want to share would come too late and be rather useless.

With November on our heels, you can expect to start seeing a sprinkling of Christmas-related posts on IBC. If you don’t celebrate the holiday or have any interest in holiday talk until after Thanksgiving, please just keep scrolling. I don’t want to upset anyone by focusing on the holidays, but I do think we should be kind of used to the early start at this point. My holiday philosophy: Do what makes you happy, and be kind to others.

With all that being said, let’s get into this.

If you’re anything like me, come mid-December, holiday panic sets in. There are cookies to be made, gifts to be purchased, Christmas cards to be addressed, and lights to be strung. At one point, it seemed that you had all the time in the world to get ready, but then you blink and become a stressed-out mess because there are a million things to do and only days to do them. Well, that’s how it is for me. Maybe I’m just terrible at time management. (Maybe? Ha! I’m pretty terrible at time management.)

For the past couple years, I’ve haven’t fully enjoyed the holidays because I’ve been crazy busy baking, shopping, and decorating. This year, I want to change that by starting early. My goal is not to do more, but to spread out the tasks so that when the week of Christmas rolls around, I can relax in my pjs and stare at my Christmas lights while scarfing down cookies, watching Christmas movies, and spending lots of time with people I love.

Want to join me? These are my tips for getting a head start on the holidays.

Bake in Advance

Did you know that a lot of Christmas cookies and baked goods can be made ahead, frozen, and then defrosted when the holidays arrive? It’s true! So why not start now? Figure out which of your cookies are a pain to make, knock them out in November, and freeze them for later.

Tips for Getting a Head Start on the Holiday Season | inspiredbycharm.com

Yes, baking cookies is one of the things I especially enjoy doing during the Christmas season. However, I always reach a point (usually around the fifth recipe) when it’s no longer a joy. Baking a batch each week leading up to the holidays stretches out the pleasure and keeps it from becoming a burden.

Not sure what to bake? Check out all of IBC’s cookie recipes here.

Also, start shopping now for recipe ingredients and entertaining staples that won’t go bad over the next couple months: flour, sugar, alcohol, crackers, chips, etc. Imagine not having to run to the liquor store on Christmas Eve because you’re out of ingredients for White Russians.

Start those Holiday Cards

Sending holiday cards is a must for me and something I truly enjoy. But staying up until 2 AM on December 20 to get them out before Christmas isn’t so much fun. So why not start now while you binge watch your new favorite show on Netflix?

Tips for Getting a Head Start on the Holiday Season | inspiredbycharm.com

Even if you start by reorganizing your address book, writing out the envelopes, or placing your card order (Yep, most online card companies have their holiday line out already.), you can be two steps ahead and cut down on that last-minute frustration.

Begin Shopping

Going to a mall (or any store for that matter) during the month of December is probably one of my least favorite things. And that’s coming from someone who loves to shop. Over the past couple years, it seems that more and more people are rude and grumpy during the holidays, so being surrounded by hundreds of them while shopping just isn’t fun for me.

Tips for Getting a Head Start on the Holiday Season | inspiredbycharm.com

Start your gift buying now before the madness begins. I have a couple folks on my list who get the same thing each year, so I’ve already placed those orders. If you need little things, such as stocking stuffers, gift cards, or a gift for the mail carrier, start picking up those items now to eliminate a bit of the stress later.

Done shopping and need some creative wrapping ideas? Check out mine here.


This is a big one. During the holidays, excess “stuff” seems to accumulate so now is the time to make room for it. Start by clearing off a couple closet shelves and emptying a drawer for overnight visitors. If you can, look through your seasonal decor and donate items you won’t be using. Go through your closet and get rid of any clothes that are damaged or don’t quite fit anymore. You can even clear the fridge and your cabinets of items that have expired.

Tips for Getting a Head Start on the Holiday Season | inspiredbycharm.com

Trust me, having all this newly discovered free space will help when lots of holiday “stuff” starts to pile up. Plus, you can prevent those Clark Griswold mishaps.

And that’s it, friends. It seems simple, but when the chaos starts, it’s easy to forget. I’m on a mission to be a happier, less-stressed person this holiday season so I can truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Won’t you join me?

What tips or tricks do you have for getting a jump on holiday preparations? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that inspiredbycharm.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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  • Kristen at

    Love these ideas! I’ve been thinking of getting my cards ordered because like you, I love sending them!

  • Alexis at

    These are all great tips! I am all for early Christmas shopping & locking down a few fun friend events (i.e. annual cookie swap, night out to the Nutcracker) before calendars get too busy!!

    Can’t wait to check out your cookie ideas…I need some new recipes! 😉



  • Vanessa at

    OMGosh Michael!

    You won’t even believe how happy I was to see this post…already listening to Christmas music! I agree, do more early and enjoy the holidays. AND-I can’t wait for your tree/trees this year!! BRING IT ALL ON! 🙂

  • Terrell at

    I don’t think it’s ever too too early to talk about Christmas, because let’s face it, it nearly always sneaks up! I love your tips and didn’t think to freeze cookie doughs….genius!!! Love it and can’t wait to see more of your holiday line up 🙂

  • Debra at

    Alright — I’m in! You had me at “less stress”! I’m looking forward to all of your holiday ideas and tips. Let’s HOLIDAY smarter not harder. Thanks Michael!

  • Carrie at

    Great ideas!

  • Katie at

    Yes! I wanna be in my PJs, eating Christmas cookies and watching Christmas movies! I’m all for less stress. Thank you for these hints!

  • Pamela Smith at

    Just wanted to say I loved this list–your tips are GREAT! I am definitely thinking about my holiday shopping already. And decluttering is such a good idea. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kylie Wakeley at

    My Christmas motto is “wrapped and done by December one” Now, granted I’m in Australia so we don’t have Thanksgiving to get through but sticking to this has kept me sane. I work for a Church so December is a pretty insane work time. I start thinking about my “theme” in August & designing my cards. I find it so fun. Each pay I try and buy one or two gifts so that the spending is spread out. And it just makes the fun & beauty of Christmas last longer.

  • Leslie at

    For the past 5 years or longer, I have done my Christmas cards in Sept. and Oct. ….usually while watching SEC college football games on Saturdays! Yes, I’m a football loving female so it works well for me, and my hubby enjoys the fact that we are spending time together. I begin buying postage stamps as soon as the holiday ones are released, a few at a time so it is not one big expense all at once. I do around 150 cards each year, and it feels so good to get them done early. I don’t seal the envelopes until nearly mailing time…in case I want to write a last minute note inside. I ask our grandchildren to make their wish lists in early Sept., and I am adamant that all shopping is done by the week before Thanksgiving. If I do any shopping after Turkey Day, then it is usually online. This year I am attempting to go ahead and wrap and label any box presents NOW, then put them in a special place so I can easily find them later and add bows. I’ve found that keeping a list with the person’s name, their gift, and where I hid it is invaluable!!! After all, how many of us will confess that we hid Christmas gifts so well that we didn’t find them until Easter??? I work full time and have 8 grandchildren, so starting early is a necessity for me. Get started now, ladies.

  • Anne at

    You are so right about the panic thing! Love your blog.

  • Rosey at

    Michael, these are great suggestions. I would love your advice/help on appropriate gifts for people such as mail carriers (that you mentioned), trash collectors, the pool cleaning guy, hairdressers, pet sitters and such. I am always at a loss as what what I should give to show my appreciation for them. I value your opinion and taste, so if you have any suggestions, please share!

  • Missy at

    Hi there, I absolutely love your Christmas cards and was wondering where I could purchase them.

    • Sherry at

      I agree, where can we buy these lovely cards?

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