Christmas Planning – 2011 Christmas 10 Week Plan

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It is now less than 10 weeks until Christmas. I do love Christmas and the festive season in the lead up. I have found through experience the easiest way to make sure that I enjoy this time is to plan for it.

Over the last few years on the blog I have shared my 10 week preparation plan (2009, 2010). Each year is the plan is different, as it depends on the theme chosen for Christmas that year and also how we are spending Christmas Day. If you are haven’t chose a theme for your Christmas this year and are after some inspiration you can check out my post on Christmas Themes.

Naturally these plans don’t include every single thing that I do to be organised for Christmas, but it covers off most of the big ticket items.

Some weeks depending on my workload and what is happening with the family, I may swap around the activities. But the ability to do this so easy is the beauty of planning – it actually gives you flexibility!

This is my plan as it stands now:

10 Weeks To Christmas – Christmas budget

As the budget review process doesn’t actually change, nor does the spreadsheet I use, this part is the same as last year. However I have added protection to the cells that have formulas, to prevent any accidental overriding. It is not password protected, so if you wish to unprotect these cells, just go to “Tools”, then “Protection’ and then “Unprotect sheet” (this is for excel on a Mac.)


I have found the best was to keep expenditure under control at this time of the year is to have a budget and track expenditure against it. This is what our Christmas Budget Spreadsheet looks like:

Christmas Budget Spreadsheet

We have another spreadsheet that is integral to keeping us on budget. It tracks expenditure on all Christmas presents, for family and friends. Also by documenting what presents we buy each year, we have a comprehensive list to refer to, preventing buying people the same thing year after year.
Christmas Present Spreadsheet 2010

Both of these spreadsheets can be found in the one file and you can download a template here 2011 Planning With Kids Christmas Planning Spreadsheet.

We have kept our family budget the same for the last few Christmases even though our family has expanded. The budget won’t change this year either. Key factors helping us to keep to budget have been:

  • Closely monitoring expenditure.
  • Buying at sales through out the year.
  • Hand making gifts for teachers, friends and family.

Have you starting planning for Christmas yet?


  1. says

    I have, and it makes me so excited for the festivities! Last year I had presents bought and wrapped by December 1, and even that made the season so much more enjoyable. This year I plan on being more organized, as our 2yo is really into the idea of Christmas already and sharing the joy of that will be top priority in Dec.

    This year I’ve already started shopping and have planned out everyone’s gifts. I’m making about half of them so I really need to start on that!

  2. says

    You read my mind. I’ve been thinking about Christmas for a couple of weeks. I’ve written a list of people to buy presents for so far. I’ve kept a spreadsheet for years now, which include gifts given and a list of people to send cards.
    We’ve been thinking to host the day at our place which we haven’t done in a while so a little more planning will be involved this year.

    • says

      It is so handy to keep a list of what you have given people previously. I think I will remember what I have given the year before – but I actually can’t always recall!

  3. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Was only yesterday starting to feel flustered about everything I had to do and how I was going to do it. Love the templates. Thanks again!

    • says

      JUst checked our your Etsy store Meg and is gorgeous. Any readers who This want something unique for the child’s room should definitely check you out!

  4. says

    No it can’t be less than ten weeks already! AAAAARRRRGHGHH!
    Ok, panic over. I am SO going to follow your planning advice and get myself super organised for Christmas.
    I have bought a Star Wars Lego Advent calender for the boys, I guess that is a start!
    Great planning advise as usual! thank you Planning Queen!

  5. Jacquie says

    Thanks for the great reminder. I have started a few things, I’ve ordered my boys a Lego advent calendar each as they love these. I’ve bought a few presents for 1 niece & nephew & some stocking fillers for my kids. Ive organised to have Xmas at our place for my family on Xmas eve & we have organized to go to my inlaws on Xmas day with my husbands family. I’ve stocked up on a supply of xmas cards & wrapping paper from a newsagent that was closing down last week. And now thanks to your post I think I’ll write up my list and plan for the next 10 weeks! And in the meantime we’ll have my middle boy’s 6th birthday in nov, I’m going to visit my best friend who lives overseas after she has her 2nd baby and term 4 is about to start next week! So yes I need to be organized!

  6. says

    You read my mind! I blogged about xmas cards this morning so good timing. I have to say I always have good intentions to have everything ready on time but some reason Christmas sneaks up on me. This it’s all different this year – my family are coming from overseas on the 16th Dec so I sort of HAVE TO have everything ready so I can enjoy their company while they are here. I’m trying to make most of the pressies myself this year so I have started already and also made a xmas calendar fro my son. So bring it on!

  7. says

    My love for Christmas was revitalised in 2006 when I spent the 25th in Canada. The cold and snow makes it so much more magical. Ever since I’ve believed that Christmas in Australia is what you make it and my excitement starts when the decorations come out in the retail outlets. We make all of December about Christmas. November is for planning and October is for getting excited! I bought photo frame Christmas cards in January and have the plan already of how we will take our yearly photo. I bought most presents much earlier in the year and now just have a few photo gifts to get now that our family has expanded. And something for my new nephew who was a surprise this year!

  8. Jacquie says

    My oldest son is a member of the Lego club so I ordered one direct from them. The other 2 I got online from Bricks to the World (They are in Australia & offer flat rate postage of $4.99) the other good online Lego shop is Bricknet – http://www.brick (also Australian & they have free postage if you spend over $150). Their Lego Kingdoms calendar is $34.95 but then you have to add on postage. Otherwise yes the cheapest other one I found was $45, Brooke. This will be part of their Christmas present cost for us though as they are all Lego mad. These sites are usually comparible in price to the shops I’ve found but they often stock Lego I can’t find in the shops (especially here in Perth).

  9. says

    Aw man, I really need to do that whole budget thing! The only thing I really stick to every year is buying at least one ornament from Myer every year to build up our collection. And last year I made all my presents, which was a bit fun! Am thinking of doing something similar this year, but you’re right… I need to start organising now.

    Thanks, as usual! <3

  10. says

    I got my lego advent calender at my local Toy World store, and it’s a country one at that! You could probably order one online through My eldest is also a lego Club member so we usually get an invitation via mail to purchase one. This is our first bought one this year. Most years I make my own with this fantastic home stitched advent calender with cute pockets from my Mother in Love. I usually fill it with little party favours and lollies. I have to say though, hubby and I are most excited by the Star Wars Lego advent calender!

  11. says

    Thankfully I’ve got most of our Christmas stuff sorted out.

    Biggest issue now is finding a decent app for the iphone to track gifts – as we’ve got 16 nieces and nephews to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for I really like to spread the purchases out over the year. Be super helpful to have handy iphone app that I can refer to when out shopping.

    • Zoey says

      Marita – I have found a brilliant and free app called ‘Santa Shop’ – it allows you to add lists of your nearest and dearest, with a budget for each which tracks towards your total spend. You can change each person’s gift status to ‘to buy’, ‘bought’ and ‘wrapped’ which I am just loving because of my baby brain at the moment.
      Also love the wish list they have on there for gift ideas – perfect for either yourself or your little ones as you can list off ideas for relatives as you think of them!

  12. Charnaine says

    I haven’t started yet…but I will with your helpful spreadsheet. Thanks for sharing. Time to put my thinking cap on..really have no idea what we are going to do.

  13. Zoey says

    I’ve gone through your book Nicole & have flagged out all of the Christmas sections – it’s sitting on my bedside table! With some extreme nesting urges going on, I’m LOVING Christmas planning and have purchased around 2/3rds of our gifts this year. I wasn’t keen to be waddling around the shops and thought it would be nice to spend some pre-Christmas time with our little one before No 2 arrives. I’ve even taken to a smartphone app to track my gift purchases to prevent any baby-brain over purchasing mistakes!

  14. says

    I really admire your plan Nicole. I’ve started my Xmas baking already and am using it as a special theme on my blog with a new recipe each week. I am determined to have a stress free Xmas this year!

    I’ve also started making my Xmas cards and an Advent calendar…seemed like a great idea last week!

    This year I’m giving predominantly baked gifts to family and friends. Kids will still get presents but for the adults, a gift baked with love will (hopefully) mean a lot more.

  15. Belinda says

    Would love to hear what idea’s you have for children’s presents like you have done in past years??


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