Christmas preparation planner

Fancy a happy and hassle-free Christmas with more time to enjoy yourself? This handy checklist can help

Christmas – however magical – can also be pretty busy and stressful when you’re a mum. But if you want to make sure you feel more festive than flustered, then getting ahead with the preparation is the key. Don’t forget that Christmas isn’t entirely down to you either. Your husband and kids can help (yes really!). So why not use this list as a starting point and divvy out those jobs.

As early as possible

Start buying presents! See our savvy gift shopping tips.

If you get a chance, it’s great to have a bit of a clear-out of old toys. This will make room for the new ones when Santa arrives!

Buy any batteries you’ll need for the kids’ toys. Few things are harder to explain to a four-year-old than why his brand new remote-controlled car is refusing to ‘go’!

Four weeks to go

If you do your Christmas food shop online (and if not, why not? It’s sooooo much easier!), get your order in as soon as the delivery slots are up for grabs. You can update it over the coming weeks, but at least you know you’ve got a slot.

If you order your turkey from the butcher, now’s the time to do that too.

Make a list of who is coming on the Big Day and over the holidays. Use that to work out how many people you’re feeding for each meal. Remember to make a note of how many vegetarians there are – sprinkling grated cheese on a few Brussels sprouts won’t magically turn them into Christmas lunch!

Your freezer can be a real lifesaver at Christmas, and now is a good time to make a few meals to have on standby. You might be surprised just how many of the key players in the Christmas lunch can be put on ice too, from stuffing to mince pies to gravy. Check out our get-ahead guide to Christmas cooking.

If you hate writing lots of cards in one go, why not keep your address book and cards in a bag by the side of the sofa so you can get a few written at a time over the next week.

Three weeks to go

One of the nicest bits of Christmas has got to be putting the tree up, and it’s one job the kids will be only too happy to help out with. Crank up that Christmas music – the cheesier the better – and have fun.

Now’s the time to stock up on all the things that won’t spoil, from drinks to turkey foil.

Two weeks to go

Wrap presents. Wrapping takes longer than you think and you don’t want to leave it until Christmas Eve.

Check you have enough wine glasses, plates and cutlery for guests.

Get the kids to plan any games they want to play with visiting cousins etc and to dig these out of cupboards for you.

One week to go

Okay, it’s time for the big Christmas clean. The best way to make this a breeze is to get all hands on deck, so don’t miss our tips for getting the kids to help with the chores. Don’t forget that the right products make a huge difference too. Viakal, for example, will blitz through limescale and keep it at bay for three times longer.

Now’s the time to get as much laundry as you can out of the way. Sort your guests’ bedding too, especially if spare duvets need airing.

Two days before D-Day, make soups and sauces that will keep in the fridge.

Christmas Eve

Buy any last-minute bits you need, give the house a quick tidy, then sit back and relax – you’ve earned it!

What are your tips for a hassle-free Christmas? Let us know in the comments section below