Monday, September 12, 2022

The Ultimate Checklist for the Entire Holiday Season (Start of Fall - New Year’s Eve)

You asked for it, so I’m delivering!!  I have had OODLES of requests to share my ultimate holiday checklist, and today is the day! 

The last four months of the year are my VERY favorite months, but they can also be very overwhelming because of all of the events, holidays, and planning that’s required for all the things.  

A few years ago, I created a master checklist for the holiday season, and today I’m going to share it with all of you.  I keep mine in an Excel spreadsheet so I can tweak it as needed from year to year, and I print a fresh copy at the end of every August so I can start seeing what I need to do in the upcoming months.  Mine is organized by approximate date/timeframe that tasks need to be done, and tasks are VERY specific, so I don’t drop the ball on any little thing.  It’s basically one big holiday brain dump!

As I get tasks done, I highlight them in pink on my paper to check them off.  I stopped doing actual checkmarks a long time ago and started highlighting items instead because you can see tasks that still need to be done so much easier that way!  (I use that same method in my daily planner as well!) 

Please note that some of the tasks aren’t done every year – like buying Halloween PJ’s or graphic tees – I keep those tasks on the list year after year, but I only do them on the years when actually needed.  It basically serves as a reminder to check to see if their items from previous years still fit… if they do, then I just check that task off the list.  If they don’t, I buy something new.

And some of the tasks aren’t even things that have to be done… they’re just things that I like to do for the kids to make the season extra special, so again, these serve as reminders. 

When putting this blog post together, I considered making a printable list that you could save and print for yourself, but this list is so specific to our family, that many items may not even pertain to each of you. 

Therefore, today, I’m just sharing our list, but feel free to copy and paste it into a document so you can tweak it to fit your family’s needs… 

Without further ado, our family’s Holiday Checklist


Holiday Checklist


Fall Prep

Decorate house for fall

Make fall family bucket list

Plan outfits for fall family photo shoot

Do a fall family photo shoot

Buy for fall:

-       Fall soaps

-       Fall napkins for kids’ lunchboxes

-       Fall straws

-       Fall sprinkles


Halloween Prep

Decorate house for Halloween

Make Halloween family bucket list

Plan class Halloween parties for kids

Finalize plans for Halloween

Make haunted gingerbread houses

Carve pumpkins

Buy for Halloween Season:

-       Halloween graphic tee for Jacob

-       Halloween dress/graphic tee for Olivia

-       Halloween PJs for Jacob

-       Halloween PJs for Olivia

-       Halloween costume for Brian

-       Halloween costume for Lindsay

-       Halloween costume for Jacob

-       Halloween costume for Olivia

-       Halloween costume for Maui

-       Haunted gingerbread house kits

-       Pumpkins to carve

-       Halloween napkins for kids’ lunchboxes

-       Halloween straws

-       Halloween sprinkles

-       Candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters

-       Items for class Halloween parties

Buy for Halloween Dinner:

-       Mummy dog ingredients

-       Cheetos Bag O Bones

-       Googly eyes

-       Candy corn

-       Halloween gift for Jacob

-       Halloween gift for Olivia


Halloween Day

Have special dinner

-       Mummy dogs, Bag O Bones, etc.

-       Halloween place settings, centerpiece plates, cups, napkins, straws

-       Halloween gifts for kids on table

-       Halloween music mix

Take pictures of kids in costumes

Take a family picture


Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


Thanksgiving Prep

Decorate the house for Christmas

Make Thanksgiving family bucket list

Finalize plans for Thanksgiving

Buy for Thanksgiving:

-       Outfit for Brian

-       Outfit for Lindsay

-       Outfit for Jacob

-       Outfit for Olivia

-       Ingredients for Thanksgiving breakfast

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to my family dinner

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to Brian’s family lunch


Thanksgiving Day

Cook special Thanksgiving breakfast

Watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

Look at ads for Black Friday

Take a family picture

Cook for my family’s get-together

Cook for Brian’s family’s get-together


North Pole Breakfast Prep

Brainstorm Elf on the Shelf ideas

Buy for North Pole Breakfast:

-       Powdered donuts

-       Hot chocolate

-       Candy canes

-       Christmas Dots

-       Christmas sugar cookies

-       Marshmallows

-       Ornament for Brian

-       Ornament for Lindsay

-       Ornament for Jacob

-       Ornament for Olivia

-       Christmas PJs for Jacob

-       Christmas PJs for Olivia

-       Christmas book for Jacob

-       Christmas book for Olivia


Friday After Thanksgiving

Go Christmas tree shopping

Decorate Christmas tree

Decorate outdoors

Set up North Pole breakfast after kids go to bed

-       Cheek, our elf

-       Note from Cheek

-       Festive food (sealed, but ready to go for the morning)

-       New ornaments

-       New Christmas PJ’s

-       New Christmas books


Christmas Prep

Make Christmas family bucket list

Plan class Christmas parties for kids

Finalize plans for Christmas

Plan a Brian and Lindsay Day Date to go Christmas shopping

Plan girls annual ornament exchange

Plan Christmas get together with old coworkers

Get Christmas Gifts spreadsheet ready for the new year

Order Christmas cards

Address, stamp, and mail Christmas cards

Label all new Christmas ornaments with initials and year

Organize, lay out, and take pics of Christmas gifts (makes Christmas Eve easy!)

Wrap all Christmas gifts

Buy for Christmas Season:

-       Mrs. Meyers Peppermint soap

-       Christmas graphic tee for Jacob

-       Christmas dress/graphic tee for Olivia

-       Christmas Eve Mass outfit for Brian

-       Christmas Eve Mass outfit for Lindsay

-       Christmas Eve Mass outfit for Jacob

-       Christmas Eve Mass outfit for Olivia

-       Christmas napkins for kids’ lunchboxes

-       Christmas straws

-       Christmas sprinkles

-       Advent calendars

-       Gingerbread house kits

-       Items for class Christmas parties

-       Gifts for everyone on Christmas list (see spreadsheet)

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to Christmas Eve dinner with my family

-       Ingredients for Christmas breakfast at home

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to Christmas dinner with my extended family

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to Christmas lunch with Brian’s family

-       Ingredients for dishes to take to Christmas dinner with Brian’s family


Christmas Eve

Cook dishes for Christmas Eve dinner with my family.

Pack for Christmas Eve dinner with my family:

-       Dishes I cooked

-       Cocktail ingredients

-       Wine

-       Gifts for everyone

-       Kids’ Christmas PJs

-       Home Alone DVD (if it’s not streaming anywhere)

Prep for Christmas breakfast

Prep for Christmas dinner

Attend Christmas Eve Mass

Take a family picture

Have dinner with family

Watch Home Alone

Lay out gifts

Stuff stockings


Christmas Day

See what Santa brought

Open wrapped gifts from each other

Open stockings

Prepare breakfast

Cook dishes for Christmas dinner with my extended family


New Year’s Eve Prep

Take down Christmas decorations and put away

Wipe down countertops

Clean toilets




Tidy whole house

Do all laundry

Decorate for New Year’s Eve

Finalize plans for New Year’s Eve

Buy for New Year’s Eve:

-       Outfit for Brian

-       Outfit for Lindsay

-       Outfit for Jacob

-       Outfit for Olivia

-       Fireworks

-       Food for party (if we host)

-       Champagne


New Year’s Eve

Take a family picture

Shoot fireworks

Have a champagne toast at midnight


And that’s our list, y’all!  As I said before, this list is very specific to our family, but you could easily make one similar to fit your needs.  Every now and then, I’ll remember something that I forgot to include, and I just update the spreadsheet and add it for next year. 

What does your list look like?  Did I forget anything important? 


  1. I love how organized you are!!! I think I'm going to incorporate the North Pole breakfast into our set of traditions this year--I love this time of year, too!

  2. You and I share such a LOVE for the last four months of the year and this is indeed the perfect checklist! I’m going to do this and it’s going to be long, LOL!

  3. I suppose my list would be quite different due to different fall and winter holidays but you do have me inspired!

  4. This comprehensive list is AWESOME!

  5. I love this SO MUCH! It's giving me so many ideas. One specifically is a list of movies/books to read during the season! There are certain movies I love watching year after year and don't want to miss out on! Which probably would be good for a bucket list, haha, but also this, too!

  6. you have me inspired to get organized for the holidays.

  7. Such a magical yet busy time of year indeed! YES to The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. When Apple took over the rights to the Peanuts holiday specials, I scooped up all the DVD's so we could still watch our annual traditions <3

  8. Oh my goodness this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. Can't wait to start my own, thanks for a great starter!


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