By Kellie Drayton

The holiday season is a busy time of year — so busy that some people start their preparation for next Christmas on December 26th! Check out the following Ultimate 12 Checkpoint Christmas List to ensure you have the best Christmas yet!

Checkpoint 1: Decide Your Home’s Christmas Theme

Date: November 30

Over the years, thousands of festive themes have emerged to suit different decorating styles and seasonal interests. Though you do not have to set a theme, it does makes shopping easier. Rather than buying a lot of decorations and realizing the house looks more like a hodgepodge than a merry wonderland, you shop can shop specifically for theme-related decorations. Additionally, retailers often sort products by style/color to make shopping easier for you. Make your first shopping list (there will be more!): Decorations. Tree decorations will need to be included. Or you can always make your own: check out our DIY Holiday Decorations Anyone Could Make.

Checkpoint 2: Choose And Decorate Your Tree

Date: December 1

Since your Christmas tree is the center of the festivities, choose the tree that suits your home and theme. While we all dream of a real tree with a natural, aromatic pine scent, this style is not suited to all homes and can cause undue Christmas disappointment. The key things to arrange for your tree are: type (real, from a box etc.), size, color (green, white etc.), decorations (tinsel, lights, ornaments etc.), and angel or star for the top of your tree. If you don’t have a tree skirt, then place a rug or mat under the tree. The gifts can be placed there, and if you have children, they will be able to sit at the foot of the tree and open their gifts, providing an excellent photo spot.

The Ultimate 12 Checkpoint Christmas List

Decorating the tree can be a central part of the Christmas tradition.

Checkpoint 3: Wish Your Family And Friends A Merry Christmas (Cards)

Date: First week of December

We’re living in the digital age, but people still love handwritten Christmas cards. They are festive, personal and make beautiful decorations in your home, reminding everyone about the the sharing and caring qualities of the season. Your checklist:  the cards (or materials to create the cards), envelopes (if making your own cards and if you are buying packs: you do not want to make a mistake on the envelope and be without one), a pen (felt tip is nice), candy canes (one in each envelope or taped on the outside of the envelop is very cute) and stamps (if you will be posting them).

Checkpoint 4: Invite Your Family And Friends

Date: First week of December

Your friends and family will love spending Christmas with you, but you need to invite them! And by inviting them in the first week of December, you give them time to organize themselves.

Checkpoint 5: Get Tuned Up for Christmas

Date: Frequently in the lead up to Christmas Day

Christmas carols really set the mood in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Whether you are downloading them to your mobile device or breaking out a Christmas Greatest Hits CD, the classic tunes remind us to Come All Ye Faithful and jingle all the way while we’re decking the halls and dreaming of a White Christmas.

Checkpoint 6: Gifts

Date: Anytime. But try and finish by 20 December so you leave yourself time to wrap.

Gift buying is a whole other blog. But a quick tip is not to forget stocking fillers when you get your big gifts — these small presents can end up costing more if you wait until the 11th hour and just get whatever’s left.

The Ultimate 12 Checkpoint Christmas List

Remember to get stocking stuffers early so everyone is happy with their gifts.

Checkpoint 7: Wrap Up The Gift Shopping. Wrapping Paper, Tape, and Scissors

Date: Buy your wrapping paper early to avoid having one choice… the leftovers!

Wrap, tape, and scissors are do not forget items. But people do forget. Gift shopping can take a lot of time and energy, and the moment you’ve finished you might simply want to go home and relax. Do that… but not without the wrap! Name cards to go on the outside of the gift are also important but if you have a computer and a printer these can be taken care of and personalized later. To make your gifts look (and your family feel) extra special, put ribbon around them.

Checkpoint 8: Think With Your Stomach. Plan Your Christmas Food

Date: Have your ‘menu’ ready by 4 December. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. A menu plan by this date gives you two weekends to have everything organized in the kitchen.

You have to plan for meals, snacks, and drinks for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Make a very thorough list that includes every meal you must prepare food for, including snacks between meals, treats, and drinks. Your list could include: Christmas Eve dinner and dessert, eggnog, Christmas Day breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, treats, nibbles, and drinks. Make sure you do not forget anything. You want to write a very detailed list to take shopping with you, especially if you are baking as baking requires precise ingredients and one missing ingredient can ruin the entire recipe.

Checkpoint 9: Treats Beyond Mains

Date: Preferably decided by 7 December as Checkpoint 8, but can extend to 20 December for packaged treats.

Festive treats are not desserts, they are the additional treats that can be found on the Christmas tree, are eaten throughout the day and on Christmas Eve, and are given to guests. Sweet-treating at Christmas can be done by buying or basking your festive favorites. Traditionally these treats include chocolate, candy, and biscuits, but nuts and berries are also a healthy and seasonal option. Have a look on to see the stores and brands offering holiday treats with Cash Back.

Checkpoint 10: Get The Rest Of Your House In the Spirit

Dates: 11 December (Home). 20 December (Hang Stockings). 24 December (Table Decorations and then update on 25 December). The Christmas Tree is the core of the excitement. By doing the rest of the decorations later you reignite the excitement.

Christmas is such a happy time of the year. In this month we form lifelong memories. The backdrop of these memories is your home. The best way to decorate is by first choosing a theme. The ‘Christmas theme’ is overarching, but beyond that you can set a specific theme that will make decorating easier. A nativity theme, a Santa’s grove theme, a snow theme, a gold them, anything that suits you. Make a note of the colors and important characters in your theme and then make sure you have the matching tree decorations, serviettes/tissues, table cloths, cookie cutters (if necessary), Christmas party invitations, lights, wreaths, table ornaments, and stockings. There are many ways to decorate but by planning your decorations in advance you avoid frustrations close to Christmas and minimizing Christmas Day frustration is a priority.

The Ultimate 12 Checkpoint Christmas List

Bringing the Christmas theme into everything livens the holiday spirit.

Checkpoint 11: Snack For Rudolph

Date: 22 December

If you have little ones waiting for Santa, do not forget the cookies for Santa and a snack for Rudolph. They have so many places to visit and without a snack how will they have the energy to do it all? And if Santa remembers the delicious snack at your house then maybe next year he will be extra excited to come back (in the sweet imagination of your little one).

Checkpoint 12: “Other”

Date: 22 December

“Other” is important as it includes the things we too often forget. Christmas Day is special, you do not want to be sitting at home with no toilet paper because you forgot the ‘Other’ checks. Make sure you have: batteries (remote controls or toys that Santa could bring), charger cables, tissues, toilet paper, hand wash/soap, salt and pepper, tea bags, detergent, tea towels, sponges, and essentially anything you always need but for some reason do not seem have on the days that the shops are shut on.

Christmas Day is around the corner! Do not leave anything to the last minute. Make Christmas 2016 the best one ever. offers Cash Back from 12,000 of your favorite brands that will make your shopping even better. Subscribe to the Newsletter and we will keep you updated with the best and latest Cash Back offers available.

Merry Christmas!

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