The 12 weeks of Christmas: How to make this your most stress-free festive season yet

Week 7: Wrap and label all gifts as you go. For close family members use a different wrapping paper

Week 7: Wrap and label all gifts as you go. For close family members use a different wrapping paper to make it easy to identify. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We can hardly believe it, but today marks 12 weeks until Christmas Day. This means there’s plenty of time to make this festive season stress-free - just follow local decluttering expert Tracy Ross’s top tips…

Tracy Ross. Picture: Claire Lane Photography

Tracy Ross. Picture: Claire Lane Photography - Credit: Archant

Most of my clients start thinking about Christmas as soon as they’ve restored calm after the summer holidays. If this fills you with dread, follow my 12-week Christmas planner to feel Blissfully Organised.


Start following Tracy's simple steps now and a stress-free Christmas could be yours. Picture: Getty

Start following Tracy's simple steps now and a stress-free Christmas could be yours. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Week 1: Check lists and budgets

• Agree where you will spend Christmas, and where family and friends are going. This can sometimes be complicated so it’s a good idea to start the discussion early

• Set your budget for gifts, food, travel and entertainment

• Write a gift list: who are you buying for, what’s your budget and what are your gift ideas?

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Week 2: Entertainment and 2019 diary

• Book to see Santa and Christmas shows

• Check when the nativity plays are happening at school and book time off work

• If you are hosting, think about any activities that you would like to do with your guests such as days out in London, local walks, carol services, and so on

• Book babysitters early for pre-Christmas events and New Year’s Eve

• Purchase your 2019 diary and transfer key dates before the busy Christmas period

Week 3: Travel and catering

• If you are spending Christmas or New Year away from home, book your travel arrangements and accommodation

• Book a Christmas food delivery slot and start menu planning for the festive period. Place an order for your meat, fish and wine

Week 4: Pre- Christmas decluttering and home organisation

If you are having guests to stay over the festive season it’s useful to start thinking about where they will sleep and what they will need

• Audit your linens and towels. Purge worn or unwanted items and determine if you need to replace any items

• Declutter your freezer and kitchen storage cupboards. You will need additional space for food and accessories over the festive period

• You will also need to create space to store gifts and additional larder items in the run up to Christmas

• Review the children’s toys and clothes. Purge any broken or unwanted items to make space for gifts

Week 5: The gift list, pampering and style

• Ask the children for a Christmas wish list and make one of your own

• Order any difficult to buy gifts and look out for seasonal promotions on high value items such as Black Friday

• Experiences or vouchers always make lovely gifts

• Book your hair and beauty appointments to avoid disappointment

• Plan your outfits for the festive season to ensure you have what you need


Week 6: Decorations and Christmas cards

• Review your Christmas decorations. Do the lights work? Do you have everything that you need? Will you go for a real or artificial tree?

• Update your Christmas card list and ensure you have all contact details. Write cards in small batches. Hand deliver any cards locally and check the last postal dates for international deliveries (

• Consider sending a Christmas e-card (with a festive family photo) and donating to your favourite charity instead of sending cards

Week 7: Gift wrapping

• Wrap and label all gifts as you go. For close family members use a different wrapping paper to make it easy to identify

• Keep a list of everything that you have bought for each person with a note of where you have stored each item

Week 8: Post and supplies

• Post your cards and parcels early to avoid queues later

• Stock up on key supplies - lightbulbs, batteries, medicines, toiletries and kitchen essentials

• Generic gifts: Keep a small number of gifts for the unexpected

Week 9: Tree, decorations and Christmas items

• Put up your tree and decorations

• Think about how you will display cards and store gifts that you receive pre-Christmas (under the tree or hidden away)

• Take any Christmas crockery and linens out of storage and store in an accessible place


Week 10: Christmas events and final declutter

• By now you will already be in the middle of Christmas festivities and will start to feel the benefit of early planning

• Do a final clear out of the freezer and kitchen to create space for the seasonal items that you need to store

• Request final confirmation of guest arrival dates/times and check on sleeping arrangements

Week 11: Non-perishables and beauty appointments

• Buy final non-perishables

• Enjoy your pre-Christmas pampering

Week 12: Perishables and guests

• Collect/take delivery of perishable/fresh foods. Be prepared for any last-minute rushes to the supermarket

• Prepare rooms for guests

• Don’t forget to delegate tasks to all members of the family – remember it’s your Christmas too

• Relax and enjoy the festive season!

If you need help decluttering and organising your home for Christmas, please contact Tracy Ross at