A Big Ol' Guide To Planning For Christmas

One giant checklist to help you get organized for Christmas in an easy and effective way.
Planning for the holidays doesn't have to be stressful and complicated.
Planning for the holidays doesn't have to be stressful and complicated.

Unless you're living in a very comfortable cave, under a rock in the middle of nowhere, you probably know Christmas is fast approaching. And if you're like most of us, you probably have a ton of Christmas planning you've been putting off.

But procrastinate no more, because we're here to help you with all the info you need to have fun, easy, and organized holiday celebrations. Whether you're hosting Christmas dinner or having a party, here are all the links you need to get ready for Christmas.

Sometimes holiday planning can seem like a big looming anvil hanging over your head. But there are lots of ways for you avoid stress and host confidently. You got this.

If you follow this calendar, you and your guests will all be merry and bright during the most wonderful time of the year.

Whether you're throwing an intimate dinner party or a big holiday bash, here are a few helpful hints to help you host your next get-together with style and ease.

There are lots of things that can be easy to forget when you're in the planning stages — where is everyone going to put their coats? Do you have enough soap in your bathroom? What's the right music level? Luckily, here's a checklist to make sure everything goes according to plan.

You too can host a party with all the coolness and confidence of this Santa hat-wearing man.
You too can host a party with all the coolness and confidence of this Santa hat-wearing man.

This is one use for pomegranates you never saw coming.

Even if you don't have room for a tree, there are a ton of creative ways to decorate for Christmas. (Snowflake mobile, anyone?)

Your kids will be home over the holidays, so you better find some things for them to do.
Your kids will be home over the holidays, so you better find some things for them to do.

Let's be honest — for parents, this is a pretty big concern.

For many parents — and often moms in particular — Christmas is the most stressful time of the year. Here are some tips to help squelch the holiday stressors.

Many parents might be getting increasingly anxious about what to do with the kids with all the extra time on their hands. Here are some free family activities — and, as a bonus, none of them involve a screen.

There are a ton of delicious, seasonal vegetarian meals you can serve on Christmas.
There are a ton of delicious, seasonal vegetarian meals you can serve on Christmas.

Pro tip: make sure you find out everyone's food preferences well advance of the big day.

Deciding what dishes to make when you have guests that are vegan, ketogenic, paleo and/or gluten-free might seem impossible. But the good news is there are a number of ingredients that accommodate everyone.

Turkey and ham are far from your only Christmas dinner options. From squash galette to vegan moussaka, to mushroom Wellington, here are a ton of vegetarian-friendly recipes.

Turkey is only one part of the equation.
Turkey is only one part of the equation.

Turkey is only one part of the equation. There are lots of appetizers, sides and salads that you can prep in advance, and here are some of our favourite suggestions.

From goat cheese balls to vegan walnut pâté, and even bacon-covered dates, these canapés will satisfy everyone's cravings.

Polenta crostini with roasted red peppers and olives? Tomato soup with parmesan dumplings? Cranberry martini? Yes, yes, and yes. If you're not intimidated by a slightly more upscale menu, try these winning recipes.

Yes, turkeys are terrifying if you're a first-timer. But it can be done.

Ultimate Turkey Hacks

Here's a video to show you everything you need to know in order to not give your guests food poisoning.

Don't worry, non-turkey meat eater, we're here for you too.

Roast beef, shrimp, even chicken can be worthy of the Christmas treatment if you do it properly.

Mark McEwan's excessively delicious recipe — and it even comes with a wine pairing.

So glad you asked.

Turkey sandwiches are just the beginning.

Did you know that ham makes great stock? Or that champagne can be used in salad dressings?

How much do you want this right now?
How much do you want this right now?

Because eating, drinking and being merry is what the holidays are all about — with an emphasis on drinking for many celebrations.

Hot chocolate is great. But have you tried bourbon hot chocolate?

Let's be honest: it's not impossible that something will go wrong. No matter your level of experience, this is bound to happen.

With these tips, you can deal with the kitchen nightmares that come your way, whether you don't have enough oven space, you've burned your cookies, or your gravy just isn't cooperating.

We all love cookies, of course! But what about mince pies? Adorably decorated cupcakes? Rich chocolate cakes with festive icing? The world of non-cookie holiday desserts, both traditional and modern, is too rich to ignore.

Kids will love these — and some adults probably will, too. (Ahem.)

Through your cooking and decorating and shopping and wrapping and drinking, it's important that you remember to take care of yourself.

Remember that scene in "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" where Indiana is trying not to get run down by the giant boulder? That's what the holidays can feel like due to the avalanche of food attacking you from every direction.

According to one expert, toxic behaviour can ramp up during the holidays because it's a time of year when difficult folks have their largest audiences and "when they can gain manipulative control over their family members." But there are ways around this.