Christmas is certainly a time for celebration and fun. The catch is, that these celebrations can often take a bit of organising to pull together, and at times it can start to feel a little overwhelming. You don’t have to let this year’s festivities get the better of you. Our quick tips for making a last minute Christmas checklist will help to keep you festively organised and ready to go!

Christmas is that one day of the year where things have a tendency to go into hyperdrive. And for those with hosting duties, you know that you are in for a busy day even before the house gets flooded with guests. From ensuring everyone is comfortable, to feeding the masses with that all tasty Christmas cooking and keeping everyone entertained. Hosting on Christmas can be hard work... but only if you let it.

Our team at The Christmas Cart have tried and tested the waters of Christmas chaos. And we have all since discovered that having a well-planned, last minute Christmas checklist in our arsenal can help to make holiday season entertaining a breeze. Even for the busiest of families. Because it doesn’t matter how hectic things get, having a well-planned last minute Christmas checklist (and checking it once, twice or even more!) can help to identify a problem before it even arises.

So, what’s the secret formula to our last minute Christmas checklists? Simple - the secret is planning and then, planning some more. After the house is festively decorated and guest-ready (don’t forget to dust the fans and stock the toilet with plenty of extra toilet paper), take a few minutes to draft up your last minute Christmas checklist.

Together, our last minute Christmas checklists cover more aspects than Santa’s navigational system. But we believe that thorough lists provide the option of being able to chop and change as we need.

So, without further ado, here are The Christmas Cart’s quick tips for creating a last minute Christmas celebration checklist.

Christmas Checklist #1: Catering – Food Planning and Sourcing Ingredients

You might have your menu all locked in, and all of your Christmas catering ideas ready to go, but have you planned properly for your ingredients and exactly how and when everything will magically come together? Do you know where to store and when to buy everything? We use this simple list as a last minute Christmas checklist to consider and cross-reference our Christmas catering.

Planning Your Christmas Catering

  • meat and seafood – do you need additional cold storage (an extra esky or two and/or some ice)
  • condiments for the Christmas table
  • salads
  • snacks – pre-dinner nibbles and post-dinner snacks, lollies and confectionary
  • desserts
  • fruit – a great family-friendly snack to have available at Christmas time
  • beverages (don’t forget ingredients for your Christmas punch too) – where and how do you plan to keep these cold? You could borrow some eskies or a mini bar fridge if one of your guests has that at the ready
  • milk for tea, coffee and Boxing Day breakfast perhaps

Work through the list and break each item down so you know where and when you are going to purchase them and where they will need to go once you get them home. It might seem like overkill to detail absolutely everything but we assure you that the joy of a detailed list is that you can tick each thing off as you have completed it, a great sense of satisfaction when it’s all feeling a bit too much, and you can be extra sure that you haven’t missed anything along the way.

Another great catering tip is to keep all of your Christmas catering ingredients together as you buy them. Non-perishables work great put aside in a dedicated box or tub until they are needed and don’t fill up your pantry when you are still trying to access your everyday items. Leave any fresh ingredients like dairy and seafood for purchasing on the days leading up to Christmas.

Christmas Checklist #2: Serveware and Other Catering Essentials

Ok, so it’s all well and good to have your menu planned and ingredients bought and stored, but have you thought about how you are going to present and serve it all up? And how your guests will be able to eat and enjoy your wonderful creations? Remember to include a last minute Christmas checklist for your Christmas serveware. Before the day, double-check that you have enough:

  • platters and bowls for food displays and serving
  • plates and cutlery for guests (remember to consider entrée, main, dessert and snacks if applicable)
  • tongs, serving spoons and spatulas (which are especially beneficial for serving slices)
  • glassware or plastic cups and mugs
  • a water jug with fresh water available or bottled water on ice
  • napkins and table linen
  • extra paper towel to wipe up any spills or mishaps
  • do you need to keep food warm? Have you considered a mini bain-marie for the table (you can pick these up fairly inexpensively at Kmart and they are great for all sorts of gatherings)
  • don’t forget some festive Christmas bon bons for the table too
  • table place settings – do you need places cards or are you happy for guests to choose where they sit
  • bins and extra rubbish bags

Christmas Checklist #3: Keeping Your Guests Happy and Comfortable

Not only do they come to gather; but they come to eat, drink and be merry on Christmas Day! So, ensure that your last minute Christmas checklist covers all aspects for keeping your guests comfortable too. Here are a few things to think about.

  • seating – do you have enough chairs for dining and sitting in other areas? Do you need to borrow some or ask guests to bring chairs with them?
  • table space – unless your catering is stand up-friendly, do you have space for everyone to sit and eat their meals? Will you need extra trestle tables for guests to sit at as well as a place to set some of the catering down?
  • weather - what is the forecast for Christmas day at your place? Do you have provisions for cooling and/or heating to keep guests comfortable? Could you do with an extra pedestal fan or heater? If it’s likely to rain, do you have enough undercover area available to keep everyone dry?
  • set the mood - plan and arrange a music playlist to keep up the ambience for guests – think about different types of music for different parts of the day. Bluetooth speakers are great as they can be transported as necessary
  • gifts – where are guests to place their gifts on arrival? Under the tree or on a designated table? Is it obvious?
  • signs and directions - do you need a welcome sign to tell guests where to enter, where to park, etc?
  • staying for a while - for any guests that might be staying the night (or a few days!), do you have enough fresh bed linen and pillows available? Towels for showers if needed too.

Christmas Checklist #4: Special Traditions and Pieces to Remember

As a host, are there any special family traditions that you need to be ready for on Christmas Day? These can be anything from having a special outfit or accessory to wear while handing out gifts to the little ones or a toast for all the adults after Christmas dinner. Save a place on your last minute Christmas checklist to tick off those pieces for your special traditions as well.

As busy as it is, Christmas is where plenty of memories are made and the time spent together is precious. Cherish those around you, remember to ask for help when needed, and above all, have a wonderful day! With our handy tips, and last minute Christmas checklists, you can spend less time in a last minute panic and more time enjoying the fun and joy of the festive season.

If you need to stock up on anything Christmas – check out the amazing range of Christmas goodies that we have available at The Christmas Cart. From Christmas serveware to gifts and Christmas d