Last Minute Christmas To-dos

Are you all set for the big day? With less than one week to go until Christmas Day, I thought I would share some of my last minute Christmas ‘to-dos’ as it may also help you with your final preparations.

Present Ready

Does everybody I need to buy for, have a present or have the right number/selection of presents? I find the best way to check this is to get all my presents out and display them on the floor in groups, by recipient. Immediately I will see if one person hasn’t got enough gifts or, if the selection of gifts isn’t quite right. Do this NOW if you haven’t already done so as it will leave you with a few days to get back out to the shops to pick up those extra few presents!

Meal Plan

Plan the three key days around Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing Day) and consider two extra days with back-up supplies. In terms of ‘back-up’ supplies, I’m talking soups, breads, picky foods, freezer items, eggs, cheeses etc. All the things that you can make something out of when you don’t want a main dish after 3 full-on feasting days! Write down the menu for each day with a list of all items. Here is my Christmas Day meal plan, for example;


Eggs Royal/Florentine, Champagne & Orange Juice


Turkey (meat eaters)

Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington (non-meat eaters)

Chipolatas in Bacon (meat eaters)

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary

Brussel Sprouts


Parsnips in Honey

Cauliflower Cheese

Red Cabbage

Bread Sauce

Cranberry Sauce




Christmas Pudding & Cream

Ice Cream

From there, make a separate list of all the food/ingredients that you need to buy as part of the big Christmas food shop (don’t forget to add drinks to this list too!). You may need to do two food shops – one a few days before Christmas and one the day before to pick up last minute fresh items.

Food Prep

Preparation is key, always remember that! If you want to make any homemade food dishes this Christmas, then do what you can in advance of the big day. Even if it’s just small dishes, try not to leave them for the day itself. You want to stay present for the day so keep the food preparation to a minimum.

I try to make a day, or evening, of Christmas food prep during the week before Christmas. By doing it all in one go, it means that I’m not food prepping all week which, let’s face it, would drag it out and make the whole thing all consuming. This year I am making the Mushroom & Chestnut Wellington (which I also made last year and really enjoyed), bread sauce, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Sleeping Set Up

Organise the sleeping set up for guests coming to visit this Christmas. Simple I know, but it’s best to plan and check you have enough pillows, duvets/sleeping bags etc. Plus, it’s good to tell everyone in advance so there’s no surprises when they arrive! Also ensure shower gels, shampoos and conditioners are all topped up and you have clean towels and hangers for your guests to use.


We love our music so for us, it’s really important to have the perfect playlist for Christmas Day. In the morning we like to play classical music which calms the space and brings a real sense of magic and theatre as we come down the stairs to see what Father Christmas has left. After brunch, we go for music that is a little more lifting and upbeat – perfect for when the children are playing boardgames with the grandparents and as we drink a glass of bubbles and prepare our Christmas dinner!

Prepare your Christmas Eve Box

I absolutely love the idea of this but do I not go overboard with it! I have a personalised wooden box which comes out each year and I generally fill it with a new set of pyjamas for each child, the Night Before Christmas book and a tin/jar of biscuits. And that’s it!

Get on top of things in the house

The last thing you want to face post Christmas is a house that is overflowing with life admin… as well as the usual dishevelled aftermath from all the family fun! I like to ensure my ‘house admin’ is up to date – washing, bins, recycling, animal care, general cleaning and tidying, fridge and cupboard maintenance, all before the festivities commence.

I write a list of the key tasks that need doing (in order of priority) to ensure the house is ‘Christmas ready’. Don’t forget, if you do clear out your kitchen cupboards, be sure to donate any excess food to your local food banks as there are still plenty of people in need of a little help at this time of year…

Keep stock of non-Christmas essentials

Something you do not want is a house full of people and no toilet roll…!! Ensure to add on to your Christmas food shop any house essentials that need restocking. These may include;

  • Toilet rolls
  • Kitchen roll
  • Fairy
  • Dishwasher Tablets
  • Animal Food
  • Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil/Cooking Oil
  • Shampoo & Conditioners for guests
  • Tea Bags
  • Toothpaste

Postman/milkman (and others…)

Don’t forget the people who help you with your daily lives but you don’t always think about. A hand written card, a bottle of wine or perhaps a box of chocolates would be a lovely touch just before Christmas. Remember, a small gesture goes a long way.

Plan for the Unexpected

It’s always a good idea to have a couple of extra gift items tucked away just incase you have any unexpected visitors or perhaps receive a gift from someone that surprises you.

Table Ready

Set the table ahead. I like to lay my table on Christmas Eve so it’s all ready for us the next day. There’s something rather magical about seeing a beautiful table as soon as you come downstairs on Christmas morning.

It’s a good idea to get out your serving spoons, dishes, heat plates, condiment bowls etc. all in advance and place them in one location (I use our utility room for this) as it prevents you from scrambling around for them whilst in the heat of cooking and serving up.

So there you have it, my last minute Christmas ‘to-dos’, all in a bid to be ready for the big day! I will do my very best to get all these done but there will inevitably be something that slips through my grasp. If it does, need not panic. Remember, it’s a time to be with the ones we love and that’s all that really matters. However much we want everything to be perfect, it does not matter if it isn’t!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I wish each and every one of you a very happy New Year.

Lots of love, SJ xxx



  1. December 20, 2019 / 2:47 pm

    Great post! It’s so helpful to think through everything and make a list, otherwise my brain feels like it’s going to explode:) Merry Almost Christmas!

  2. Jay
    December 20, 2019 / 7:08 pm

    Thanks SJ. Do you make your wellington ahead?

    • justalittlebuild
      December 20, 2019 / 7:10 pm

      Yes, I’m going to make Christmas Eve c

    • justalittlebuild
      December 22, 2019 / 9:47 pm

      I’ll make on Christmas Eve x

  3. Teresa
    January 6, 2020 / 4:16 pm

    Hi happy new year to all ,I done yr over the table Garland after seeing yours ,it was beautiful, just wondering now are you going to do an alternative hanging piece ,now that its after Christmas or will you just leave it ,? Love your posts keep up the good work .regards teresa from Ireland x

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