The Truth About Holiday Stress and How To Conquer It Plus The Home for the Holidays Christmas Planner

Get holiday stress relief with these ten simple & timely tips. Conquer that to-do list and stay organized with the Home for the Holidays Christmas Planner!

front door open to entryway stairs with christmas garland

Holiday stress is real. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced it to some degree. It’s not unusual or hard to understand. Holiday stress is the direct result of having too much to do, and not enough hours in the day. Preparing for the holiday season adds to an already busy schedule, but there are ways to make it easier. So read on…and even if you get just one new tip to make things easier this holiday season, this post will have done its job. 

home for the holidays christmas home tour pin

Christmas Decor Ideas

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

10 Tips for Holiday Stress Relief


I’m starting at the top with perhaps the most controversial bit of advice. I know that many people hate the idea of beginning Christmas prep before Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing…we’re all looking for balance. Waiting until after Thanksgiving puts a TON of weight on December, and there’s not one good reason why you should do that.

I’m not suggesting to skip over Thanksgiving. Quite the contrary. Begin your Thanksgiving prep three to four weeks before the big day, but put the wheels in motion for Christmas as well. There’s not one of you out there who isn’t great at multi-tasking! Starting early allows you to really enjoy the entire process. Shopping isn’t as frustrating because everything is still in stock. You won’t feel frazzled…and you won’t fall into bed at night wondering how in the world you are going to get everything finished. 

front porch rocker with christmas decor for holiday stress relief

Christmas Porch Decor Made Easy


This tip goes along with the “start early” tip. Lists are super important, so start making them now. What you want to bake, a gift buying list, update your Christmas card list, etc. I included handy printables in the Home for the Holidays Christmas Planner that will help with this. Sometimes my mind is such a jumble of things I need to do…but if I take the time to put everything on paper, it all doesn’t seem so overwhelming. And you have admit…it sure feels good to check off those jobs!


This is something we should do every year, no exceptions. Decide well in advance how much to spend on kids, friends, spouse, etc. Tell your family what their budget is, so they know what they can and can’t ask for. You should have a pretty good idea from years past how much is spent on groceries. Personally, my biggest weakness is Christmas décor. I tell myself every year that I need to just use what I have…but that never happens. Setting an amount helps keep me in line because I could definitely get carried away. So make sure to budget for your favorite aspect of Christmas. You will definitely earn it!

twin bed with christmas bedding relieves holiday stress

Simple & Festive Christmas Bedroom Decor


If you like to decorate with a theme, decide that now. Some years I use a theme (like the red & black buffalo check) and other years it’s a free-for-all. This is definitely a personal choice, but it’s helpful to decide in advance, so if you need to purchase anything, you have plenty of time.

porch rocker with red buffalo check pillow to relieve holiday stress

A Buffalo Check Christmas Porch


Take a look at your decorations and decide if there is anything you want to donate. Doing that ahead of time helps to clear out your stash and you can better see what you have. If you have a theme, decide what you can use and then make a list of what you need to purchase. (There’s a page for this in the Home for the Holidays Christmas Planner.)

At this point, it’s helpful to organize your decorations and put everything you are using this year together. I did this last year and it was so much easier than rummaging through multiple bins looking for something.

cloved oranges on small cutting board

Cloved Oranges


When Thanksgiving is behind us, it will be time to set up a wrapping station. (If you have the space, set up your wrapping station before that and wrap as you buy.) Look at your supplies now and decide if you need anything new. Wrapping presents is my favorite part of Christmas, so I go all out. Every gift is boxed with tissue paper. Each present is adorned with a beautiful bow. If this isn’t your cup of tea, just go the easy route. Pre-made bows have come a long way since the 80’s!

wrapped christmas presents red bow and gift tag

Christmas Gift Wrap Ideas


This is such a time and sanity saver. Baking ahead of time not only reduces stress as it gets closer to the big day, but it makes the task much more enjoyable. Take one thing at a time. Plan everything out with the Home for the Holidays Christmas Planner. Try to have everything finished and in the freezer by mid-December. You will feel so accomplished and relieved!

traditional christmas cookies pecan tassies


Traditional Pecan Tassies


I know Christmas cards aren’t as popular as they were in the past, but if you still send one, get things going now. Take your picture, buy the cards, gather your addresses. I have had my list on a spreadsheet for several years, so I was able to print mailing labels. Last year, my daughter-in-law helped me upload my list to, so I was able to have my cards AND envelopes printed. Oh my gosh. What a time saver! The presentation was beautiful and the process was so easy. The very best thing is that this year, with just a few address updates, my list is ready to go. All I need to do is upload our new picture and order. Click {HERE} for more information.

air dry clay christmas ornaments doves hearts

How to Make Clay Tag Ornaments


Shopping online, at least for me, has become a way of life. I live in a small town in Ohio, with the nearest Target an hour away. Good shopping is not available, so being able to find what I want online has made such a difference. Make sure to always check Google for a coupon code, and don’t pay shipping unless you have no other choice.

free printable christmas planner 2020 pin


Avoid Holiday Stress!


When you are ready to pull the trigger on Operation Holiday, print this handy planner before you do anything. It will help organize your thoughts and minimize holiday stress. It will nudge you to make those essential lists. I decided to keep mine on a clipboard, but if you use a calendar binder, this Christmas planner can go right in front. Another idea is to put your Thanksgiving planner and Christmas planner in a binder of their own. That way when it’s time to add the planners for next year, you will have these planners right there for referral. You can think of it as sort of a holiday diary…and an organized one at that!

christmas planner cover 2020 reduced

I suggest printing the entire PDF file first, and then if you need multiple copies of some pages, print those as well. The best and easiest way to download and print PDF files is to use Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is a free product and simple to install. Click {HERE} to learn more. **Make sure to uncheck the optional offers for the McAfee products. 

I’ve gathered together some supplies that will make your calendar and planner organization easier. To see the 2021 Printable Monthly Calendar, click {HERE.}

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.


If you don’t currently subscribe to OSP, and would like to receive this planner, and avoid holiday stress, just fill out the form below. It will promptly arrive in your email inbox. You will also receive OSP updates, announcements, and other exclusive offers. 

Let’s avoid holiday stress and make this the best Christmas ever!

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  1. I downloaded the Christmas Planner but instead of 2020 it says 2018. Not a huge deal, I can fix it, but just was letting you know there may be a glitch.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Tori…this happened once before and I could not figure out what happened. I updated the link in the library…so I’m going to try deleting it and then upload a new file. Hopefully that will solve this problem! I’m going to email you the 2020 version. Thank you!

  2. I LOVE your Christmas planner! With the year everyone has had, there is no beauty like the fall and Christmas seasons.

    Could you tell me where you find the circles you put around your tags? I looked in your Amazon store but didn’t see them. I love your blog! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hello Ann – Thank you so much for the darling free Thanksgiving and Christmas organizers. I am a big fan of lists and keeping every thing together when planning. Your organizers are perfect and lovely as well. I appreciate receiving them free. It certainly makes my holidays easier and brighter!

  4. how do i get it to open on the box it won’t upload…

  5. One thing I like to do is send Halloween & Thanksgiving cards instead of the standard Christmas cards. I’ve also sent out Happy New Year cards some years. It is different and moves the card sending rush to another time of the season.

  6. Thank you for your site always love to print the printables♥️And look forward to them .

  7. joie Brinkley says:

    Dear Ann
    I know its January but I wanted you to know the Christmas planner was the best tool I had during X-Mas of 2018 . It keep me on track of what gifts I had , food I wanted to make for dinner. food I needed to buy and best of all I will next year know colors I used , my theme. It was
    so great thank you so much. Joie

  8. P.S. You didn’t know it but you gave me a lively birthday present for today is my b’day.

  9. Thank you Anne for the Holiday Planner. Time does fly and as I get older it seems I fall more behind in getting things done. I rely on lists and notes to keep me going in a forward direction so Thank You again. You are a life saver. Happy Holidays to you and yours…

  10. Good Morning Ann, Wondering if you might be adding the Christmas print w/ the Red Flyer wagon, gifts, & tree to your pillow covers this year. It’s such a darling print! Also, wondering about the black pillow, with the wreath and holly, that is on your bed in the above picture. Where did you get that pillow? As you mentioned, it’s not too early to be thinking ahead about Christmas, even though it’s not quite Thanksgiving. :) Thank you, as always, for your wonderful creative ideas! I so look forward to getting your emails! Enjoy your weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

  11. Thanks Ann!
    I love the planner and can’t wait to put it to use!
    Looking forward to a wonderful holiday season!

  12. I love this, Ann! It’s very helpful in breaking down all of our things-to-do in smaller chunks. As a busy homeschooling mom, it also helps me to remember that God gives me enough time to do the things He wants me to do. Thank you for your great blog!

  13. Thank you for the planner! Writing everything down definitely helps to keep me sane, and you’ve created such a pretty one. I have a question about your bannister in the first picture of the post. How did you attach it and then did you attach the small ornaments or did it come that way? It looks so full and lovely.

  14. Susan Brown says:

    Didn’t finish and hit sent! My home has so many of your things and ideas. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  15. Susan Brown says:

    Might you consider making the holiday planner cover as a frame able picture?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Susan…it’s coming soon!

  16. Thank you Ann.
    This is perfect for the holiday season.
    So sweet of you to give this to all your followers
    Have a wonderful day
    Much love 💕

  17. Botanic Bleu says:

    I received your most recent weekly newsletter and LOVE it! Thank you so much for offering free printables to your subscribers. Your graphics are always the prettiest!

    Happy Holidays,


  18. Dear Ann, I am getting married and moving from Cleveland to Austin. I am happy and sad at the same time. Your emails I always look forward to. The lists are great. I am a firm believer. Right down to coffee is planned. Not sure about gifts. I think cookies will do it this year. We are all late 50’s and I will have the honor of turning 64 on Black Friday. Shopping on line is mandatory. I can’t walk anymore. Don’t like crowds. Have a wonderful Christmas. I get twins for January. Grandma. That will be me.

  19. joie brinkley says:

    Hi Ann printed out the Christmas planner. my husband really liked it.

  20. Hi Ann,
    I just love everything you do. I only wish I had the ability to print off some of your pretties. Your home is absolutely my taste also. Keep up your beautiful work!

  21. Great post. Thank you. I really liked the first photo of your stair railing. Just gorgeous. Then you shared the stockings and your beautiful clay items, and that is awesome. I am so glad I ordered your pillow covers, clay items, and your stuffed hearts and stars ornaments. Love your blog, my dear fellow Buckeye.

  22. Thanks for the info and always love reading these kinds of articles……..although I consider myself a person who is organized and a planner, I’m always receptive to further development!

  23. Got the tubs of decorations out yesterday and started putting some out some faux greens which will be the theme this year along with neutrals, keeping it simple.I always try to stay organized, it keeps anxiety levels low !! Your tips are spot on, enjoy !

  24. Thank you, Ann, for the wonderful tips and printables (which I just printed). I love the idea of keeping a holiday notebook as well as all the other tips and ideas. I love your blog. You have impeccable taste and great ideas. I always get lots of inspiration from you. Thanks again and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  25. One more advantage in decorating early is after I have finished I pack up what I am tired of or don’t need and take it church resale shop. They are happy to have it on December 1 …Then I fly to Georgia and decorate my daughter’s house for Christmas. My grandson is 8 and has inherited grandma’s decorating gene and loves to unwrap everything and nestle (his word) things in his tree and help with all the other rooms too. I really enjoy your blog…good ideas and love the printables. Have a joyous season.

  26. But, I will bake your Cranberry Citrus Loaf . I have been doing so since you first posted your recipe. It’s a winner!

  27. I decided not to celebrate Christmas this year (what a relief). I will celebrate the birth of Christ without all the paganistic rituals, that is. I don’t have the energy nor the time to waste. I respect those who do celebrate Christmas the way they wish but I am pulling the plug this year.

  28. Great suggestions and I love, love Christmas so why not start some of these items early on to stretch the season as long as possible? Thanks for the printables! They are so pretty and I love the idea of making a diary of sorts to look back on next year.

  29. Sharon Millsap says:

    Ann, gosh I love you! Your tips are right on. I always start with the decorating and do the cards & baking last. Time to reverse the order and start earlier. Thanks for being my sanity keeper!