What to do BEFORE December to enjoy the holidays for 2021!

Written by ElizabethThrives

what to do before december to enjoy the holidays

What to do BEFORE December to enjoy the holidays for 2021!

Christmas time can be so wonderful, but it can also be a source of stress too! The key to THRIVING through the holidays is to do some quick steps ahead of time. The key is to do some steps BEFORE DECEMBER! The following will show you what to do before December to ENJOY the holidays!

Why doing holiday prep BEFORE December matters…

I know it can feel wierd to think about Christmas in say, October. But, if you do some small quick steps in October and November, you are freed up to enjoy all that December has going on.

Get togethers, giving gifts, enjoying friends and family are all taken care of. You will absolutely LOVE how much you enjoy Christmas doing the holiday things before December starts!

Make December your THRIVE time!

No more stress and feeling the pressure to manage the calendar of holiday events and needs! When you do these following things before December, you are set up to ENJOY Christmas like never before! Instead of December being crazy and stressful, it will be a time of THRIVING through the Christmas season!

Here’s the deal: We start doing small steps in October (if possible)to be set up to enjoy the holidays!

(  HERE.)

October steps to take BEFORE DECEMBER to enjoy the holidays:

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

When October hits, you are probably soaking up the fact that it’s finally the wonderful fall season. And the only holiday that may cross your mind is Halloween at the end of the month, right?

Well around the 2ND WEEK OF OCTOBER, you can start these steps. And guess what? You can take all of 30 seconds to just assign these steps to a day and time on your October calendar. Then voila!

You will be so thankful you did!!

2nd week of OCTOBER steps to do BEFORE December to enjoy the holidays:

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

1st – Make a list of all NON-FAMILY that you want to give a Christmas gift!

what to do before december to enjoy the holidays

This can be neighbors, friends, your kids’ teachers at school, teachers at church, coaches, etc.

Just make a quick list on your phone or in a notebook.

2nd– Add what gift you will give each person to the list!

Take another few minutes and plan what you will give each of these people.

As a busy mom, I prefer to order online as much as possible for convenience. Not much is easier than that.

I also like to give baked goodies as a Christmas happy as well!

It certainly helps SO MUCH to have access to different gift guides. I’ve made some gift guides that have tried and true gift ideas for a lot of different kinds of people here: THRIVING through the HOLIDAYS!

Because yes sometimes you need to spend a few minutes getting ideas from helpful lists of gift items that you know come highly recommended! Every single gift I recommend in those gift guides are ones I have used personally and can vouch for the quality and durability, etc!

So yay! Enjoy a cup of tea while you scroll through these gift ideas! It’s ok if you get interrupted because hey, it’s OCTOBER baby!

(I also like to scroll through REI.COM for many different types of special and unique gifts. And for self care gifts for skin and body, you can’t go wrong with ARBONNE.COM.)


3rd week of OCTOBER steps to do BEFORE December to enjoy the holidays:

how to thrive through the holidays

3rd– BAKE and/or BUY all baked treat gifts!

Around the 3rd week of October, we bake and/or buy the baked treat gifts for neighbors, teachers, friends, etc! I like to give about 20 neighbors a baked treat at Christmas time. Plus I give baked treats to a variety of others too.

Check out this amazing PRO tip I was so thrilled to learn a few years back:

Baked treats freeze PERFECTLY.

Are you hearing me? Most desserts Freeze PERFECTLY!

That means they are as good and fresh, moist and lovely as the day you made them!! How crazy helpful is that?! This makes baking treats before December totally a way to enjoy Christmas!

You can go ahead and add the holiday treats to clear bags like this, tie them with a ribbon, and put them all in gallon freezer bags. Toss them in the freezer and go on your merry way.

We bake goodies and put them in clear bags tied with this  red plaid ribbon!

delightful and memorable christmas traditions

Then in December, when you are ready to gift them, you just take them out of the freezer as needed. For real, this kind of low stress will get have you enjoying December like never before!


Last week of OCTOBER steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays:

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

4th– Make a list of all FAMILY gift recipients!

what to do before december to enjoy the holidays

We think through non-family gifts first and get those figured out. Now for the last week in October, we make a list of all the FAMILY MEMBERS that we will give a gift for Christmas.

I do this on a note on my phone, but some people prefer to add to notebook or planner.

I have a note on my phone with a list of all family members who will get a gift from us. This includes my husband and kids, our parents, and our siblings.

Easy Peezy and takes only a couple of minutes!


Download your printable version of these steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays!



5th– Add what gift you will give each FAMILY member!

Now you’re just going to write what you plan to get each person by their name.

If you give more than one gift to any family, such as your kids, you just put all your gifts by their name. For kids, I group the gifts into

  • stocking stuffers,
  • wrapped presents,
  • and presents that we will have sitting out unwrapped.

So this does sometimes involve talking to the person and asking what they may want this year. Again this is OCTOBER so you have time to gather this information!

You will probably need some help with ideas, and I point you to the fabulous gift guides that can be of help if you’re buying toys that you want to actually last, timeless gifts to keep your kids attention, books, and more.  Or if you want to get things that wives and moms would love, either way, you can see our GIFT GUIDES HERE all in one place.

Again my favorite sites for gifts are AMAZON.COM (for all kinds of things), ARBONNE.COM (for self-care, pampering, luxiourious gifts), and REI.COM (for quality outdoor clothing, gear, shoes, etc)

This is a quick planning phase. Just do a little here and there that last week of October until you have your list complete. Again it is so amazing how it feels to already be getting your mind around all the fun gifts! Which takes a huge chunk out of the holiday craziness!




6th– BAKE and/or BUY treats to have on hand for family and guests!

what to do before december to enjoy christmas

Earlier in the month, you baked or bought the treats that you would give as GIFTS to others.

They are freezing now staying absolutely perfect for you until December!

Now we talk about the baked holiday goodies that are just traditions you like to have on hand during the holiday season. They are things your family loves to have, and they are things you want to have on hand when you have guests come in and out of your house.

Because most baked goods freeze so well, you can have such a variety of things in your freezer to be able to pull out when you have people over.

We like to have a Christmas Drop-In time for our boys and their friends. October is the time that I bake everything for that! If your feeling really festive, you can even turn on Christmas music while baking! But Christmas music in October (even if it’s only for a couple of hours) is not for everybody!

In addition to cookies and fudge, I also bake a few quiches, cinnamon rolls, and sausage balls because those are things my family thinks are special during the holidays. Those are quick and easy to put together and have those in the freezer as well! (Ofcourse after eating these kind of treats, you may need the 3 simple ways to AVOID holiday weight gain!)




NOVEMBER steps to take BEFORE DECEMBER to enjoy the holidays:

Now we are beginning the first week of November! The following will show you the rest of what to do to finish all you need to do before DECEMBER to enjoy the holidays!


1st week of NOVEMBER steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays:

1st- By any needed Christmas decorations!

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

I’m just going to say, “You’re welcome,” for this awesome experience you’re about to have!

When you shop the first week of November for any Christmas decorations you might need this year, it is nothing but a pleasure. You know why? Everything is SO WELL-STOCKED and the prices are usually already priced for holiday sales!

If you wait for Black Friday to get what you actually need and not just some extras that would be nice… then you are usually disappointed because everything is picked through and gone. So shopping for Christmas decorations early is a game changer!

I want to highlight Christmas lights because there’s nothing worse than decorating and realizing your lights need to be replaced. Having to make a special trip and get them is the pits. Plus they usually are just sold out early in the season.

So this first week of November, get all your decorations either in person or online. Then you will be set up to enjoy Christmas!

2nd- Buy all needed wrapping paper and supplies!

Again everything is beautifully well stocked and ready to go. The first week of November is quiet and serene in the store and if you’re ordering online, everything is in stock there too! Here is our favorite wrapping paper!

This reversible Hallmark wrapping paper is thick and beautiful for all your presents! I just grab tape and ribbon on Amazon or in a local Hobby Lobby store! Only takes a few minutes and whew! Totally prepared to wrap presents for Christmas!


3rd- Order first half of ONLINE gifts!

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

In the 2nd week of November, you want to just look back at your list of gifts that you want to give non-family AND family. Decide what you can buy ONLINE for greatest convenience.

I try to buy everything online that I possibly can, because it is simply so much easier to be sitting in the comfort of my home to shop!

So you just take half of the online gift items list and go ahead and order them now!

Again everything is in stock and if something happens to be back ordered, no problem! This is only the 1ST week of NOVEMBER!

So just enjoy being cozy at your house and order half of your online Christmas gifts today!


2nd Week of NOVEMBER steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays:


#4- Order the second half of online gifts from your list.

In order to keep doing the things before December that will help you enjoy the holidays, go ahead and get the rest of your online purchases ordered! Only wait on any gift items that you know are discounted Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Otherwise go ahead and take care of the rest of your ONLINE gift items now.

I usually have maybe two or three gifts I am waiting until Black Friday to purchase, which is not a stressful thing at all.  I’m not sitting there on Black Friday with a huge gift list and feeling overwhelmed.

No overwhelm when you already have the bulk of everything ordered the second week of November! So go ahead, get that done, and GET EXCITED! BECAUSE you are going to enjoy the holidays like never before coming up in December!


#5- Map out all the stores you need to go to IN PERSON

what to do before December to enjoy the holidays

When you think of the stores you need to visit IN PERSON to purchase Christmas gifts, try and group them into as few stores as possible. So then you can just take a small amount of time and you are done!

#6- GO to those stores and purchase the gifts!

The second week of November is when you want to go and visit those stores. Enjoy shoping in well-stocked uncrowded stores! Because that is what you get this early in November!

I usually get the IN PERSON store gifts done in two different mornings. It’s really fun to know we’re getting this done!

Even people who hate to shop, find that shopping for Christmas gifts in November is the way to go! This may be one the best things to do before DECEMBER to enjoy the holidays!


3rd week of November steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays:

#7- WRAP all Christmas presents!

what to do before december to enjoy Christmas

Thanksgiving is close at this point, and it is a blessing to enjoy making plans for that special holiday!

So early in the third week of NOVEMBER, we simply wrap all the presents that need to be wrapped! The first time I did this I was blown away at how great it feels to get the present wrapping DONE!

Ask your kids to help you too – some kids think it’s super fun to wrap presents!


Now don’t put up your Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving if you don’t want to do that. That is pure preference on when people like to have the Christmas lights twinkling through their house!

If we go out of town for Thanksgiving, I usually decorate for Christmas right BEFORE we leave so that when we come back in official Christmas time, all the decorations are ready and up! I have everything decorated except the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. We like to do that together as a family after Thanksgiving.

I know different people have different amounts of holiday decorations. It seems that if you have a lot or a little, just setting apart one day to get it done works!

Try me on it and make sure you do this before November ends!


RELATED: 5 Memorable Thanksgiving traditions for families!


Black Friday Weekend steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays:

#9- Finish any IN-STORE and ONLINE shopping you may have left!

Now to finish things up, you buy any ONLINE GIFTS or IN-STORE gifts that you have left.

This is just a tying up of loose ends!  If you like to go out and shop Black Friday weekend, it’s great because you are not stressed and pressured to get all the gifts, supplies, etc, but it’s just fun browsing. You may get a final one or two gifts to add to what you’ve already bought.

And now! Look at you!

Here comes DECEMBER, and now that you have made simple steps here and there BEFORE DECEMBER, you see what a great impact this has on your enjoyment of the holidays!

hello december


You can download the PRINTABLE VERSION OF THESE STEPS here to put on your fridge.



Concluding thoughts on what to do before December to enjoy the holidays in 2021…

As you can see it is totally doable and actually pretty FUN to make a few steps before December. Then watch how it opens up the month of December for pure enjoyment of the season. Let me know how it goes!


Download your printable version of the steps to do before December to enjoy the holidays!




You May Also Like…


  1. Rebekah Mckee

    I love this! I’m trying this this year. I have two kids birthdays that take my time and money in the fall and then Christmas sneaks up on me. Maybe if I use this list it will keep December focused on adverb. ❤️❤️❤️

    • ElizabethThrives

      Thanks for your comment! Yay so glad! Yes birthdays in the fall here too and they can definitely lead to the Oh no- it’s full on Christmas time crazy! I trust this list will help you as much as it has me!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This