Is there any better time of the year than Christmas? Did you say, “Absolutely not!”? Correct answer. December is for spending quality time with friends and family, exchanging a thoughtful gift or two, and decorating every available surface with all things festive. If you love this time as much as we do, you’re going to love this list of 25 festive things to do in the lead up to Christmas.
1. Put up your Christmas tree and decorate like you mean it
In my family, we traditionally wait until December 1st to put up our tree and the rest of our decorations. Whatever your tradition is, this is the best way to kick-start the festive season. I love getting all my festive knick-knacks out of storage and spreading them right through the house. Whether your tree is big or small, traditional or modern, go nuts with classy, homemade or completely wacky decorations. Need some inspiration? Check out our best of the best celebrity Christmas trees post.
2. Start reading a Christmas-themed book
Early on in December (or even earlier, let’s be real) is the perfect time to start some Christmas-themed literature. And by literature, I mean (personally) some romantic and fluffy chic lit. But that’s just me. Also, if anyone has any great reading recommendations, leave us a comment below. Special points to anyone who can suggest some Australian Christmas chic lit – because reading about romantic, snowy rendezvous just isn’t the same when it’s super hot here in the southern hemisphere.
3. Drink a Christmas-themed coffee
Probably the only time I ever truly enjoy coffee from Starbucks, is when it comes in a festive red cup, and has the order ‘gingerbread latte’ on the side. These are available from early November, and they really get me in the mood!
4. Make some Christmas decorations
If you take a while to get the more crafty sorts of things finished, then early December is prime time. Get out your green and red wool and crochet something cute. These Christmas stars can be great on the tree, around the house, or used in your gift-wrapping. Or if embroidery is your thing, have a go at some cute hand towels.
5. Origami decorations
If you’re not handy with a crochet hook, how about some origami decorations? Get yourself some Christmassy paper, and fold away. These can be used as decorations for your tree, around the home, on presents or even attached to Christmas cards (see below). This is also a great way to up-cycle wrapping paper, or even use everyday items like newspaper to make something decorative. You can check out our origami Christmas wreath tutorial here.
6. Send Christmas cards
Putting this on here as a personal reminder to myself to actually get this done this year! Do yourself a favour and do this early in month so your loved ones know you’re thinking of them this Christmas. Extra points if you make your own cards!
7. Finish your Christmas shopping
Don’t leave this until the last minute and end up stressed. Plan ahead, make note of what you want to buy and try and get it done early in December to avoid huge crowds, no car spaces, and the threat of something being sold out. And place your online orders early to ensure the post arrives on time. Alternatively, the gift of an experience can be just as thoughtful a gift – perhaps someone you know has always wanted to go drive a racing car or ride in a hot air balloon? There are lots of websites that sell these sorts of experiences, often at a discounted price and with 12 months to use the tickets. Plus, if you have left your shopping to the last minute, this sort of purchase can be an instant life-saver!
8. Wrap your presents
Nothing excites me more than a Christmas tree with lots of presents underneath – I love giving people presents! While it’s nice to go all out and have Insta-worthy wrapped presents with all the trimmings, why not this year try something more sustainable? Check out our Pinterest board for eco-friendly wrapping ideas – such as using newspaper or even Japanese-style furoshiki wrapping.
9. Add carols and Christmas music to your playlist
Make sure you’ve got a selection of festive tunes at your fingertips. Maybe it’s blasting a CD from your car stereo, adding songs to your iTunes playlist, or finding a festive mix on Spotify. Or, you know, just listening to All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carey on repeat.
10. Watch Christmas episodes of your favourite tv shows
Dust off your boxed sets, get searching on Netflix, and queue up your favourite festive tv episodes. Check out our favourite Christmas episodes post here.
11. Add festive wallpaper to your phone and computer
A subtle way to get into the festive spirit is to add a Christmas image to your phone. Maybe it’s your home screen, maybe it’s your lock screen, maybe it’s both. A less subtle way is changing your desktop background – and even more so, changing your work computer’s background.
12. Create a festive movies watch-list
Let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’ve already started watching festive movies. I love nothing more than a nightly viewing of something festive and, honestly, the lamer, the better. I especially like the Hallmark/tv movie type of Christmas flick. Check out our must-watch Christmas movies here.
13. Bring out the Christmas mug
Sip your tea or coffee (heck – even your water!) out of a Christmas mug. It tastes better this way, really.
14. Festive mani-pedi
Give yourself a Christmassy manicure and pedicure. I like to have subtly festive nails for most of December, but go for the most outrageous in the week of Christmas. Have fun with your designs – use different colours, brushes and even the tips of bobby pins.
15. Decorate your work space
If your office allows, why not add some festive decorations to your desk at work? If we’re going to be stuck in the office during December, we might as well enjoy it. It could be as simple as stringing up a bit of tinsel or some nice ornaments. Or you could go all out.
16. Give to those who need it most
Christmas is all about giving – and not just to those around you! Why not make a donation to your favourite charity, or buy a gift for someone in need? For those of us in Australia, you might want to donate to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal or place a gift under the Wishing Tree at Kmart. Plenty of other charities host fundraisers over this period, so a quick google search will point you in the right direction.
17. Undertake a Christmas lights tour of your neighbourhood
I love looking at all the creative ways people decorate their houses over December. Why not get some pals together and take a walk outside after dark to view some twinkly lights?
18. Treat yourself
Don’t let the stress of the holiday season get you down. Be it a facial, a massage, eating something absolutely delicious, or buying yourself something special that you’ve been saving for – make sure take some time to treat yourself this Christmas!
19. Add something festive to your work outfit
Now we are getting down to the pointy end of the countdown. With only a few days to go it’s time to get serious and start adding some Christmas flair to your work outfit. Some Christmas earrings here, a Christmas brooch there, ugly Christmas jumper … you get the idea.
20. Bake something Christmassy
Homemade baked goods are a nice way to share the festive spirit with your friends, family and coworkers. So take in a plate of treats and share the love.
21. Festive pjs/bed linen all the way
Christmas is almost here! Time to embrace everything and start wearing festive pjs to bed! Or better still, update your bed linen to something Christmassy.
22. Make a gingerbread house
One of my favourite Christmas memories is the year my sister and I took it upon ourselves to make a gingerbread house for the first time. And while it wasn’t the most sophisticated, well-made gingerbread house, we had a great time making it. Not only did our house smell delicious from baking, but we ended up on the most hysterical sugar high from snacking on lollies while we decorated. It looked great as the centrepiece of our table on Christmas Day, and it was just as fun to pull it apart and eat!
23. Head to your local carols by candlelight
One of the many things I love about this time of year is gathering together and singing along (off-key) to Christmas carols. Many councils across Australia hold local carols events, and of course major capital cities also hold larger-scale events that can be quite magical if you can get tickets!
24. Watch your favourite Christmas movie
Christmas Eve for me is about watching my favourite Christmas movie! So put your comfy clothes on, gather the snacks and a Christmas beverage or two, and count down the hours until Santa arrives by watching your favourite movie.
25. Christmas Day is here!
From all of us here at Cactus Pop, we hope you have a safe and fabulous Christmas Day surrounded by the ones you love!