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Your ‘Night Before Christmas’ Checklist

Christmas checklist

I love the night before Christmas; for me, it’s the most festive part of the whole season. The excitement and the anticipation is at its highest…

There’s Christmas music blasting out, the final presents are getting wrapped and little ones are feeling giddy and going to bed excitedly waiting for Santa’s visit. I also love the old poem about the Night Before Christmas:

“Twas the Night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

I would always read it on Christmas Eve when I was little, and now, I read it to my children. That’s just one of the many traditions we have for the night before Christmas (like mince pie baking with the kids, listening to the Crooners at Christmas, taking cards round to the neighbours…).

We also like to get a few other cooking tasks done after the children are asleep, to get them out the way ahead of the big day. Not that we find cooking a chore – we actually squabble over who gets to do cooking tasks sometimes. (I know, it’s odd…)

Here’s a handy checklist for the night before Christmas to help make your Christmas Day both fun and easy…

Get the Christmas music ON

No matter what you’re doing on Christmas Eve, you need to get fully into the Christmas spirit, so get your favourite festive playlist on the go to help you get into the mood.

Make reindeer food

We always mix some oats with glittery sugar with the kids. They then go and scatter them outside the front of the house for the reindeer to munch on when they arrive.

Read your Christmas books

Whatever your children’s favourite festive tales are, this is the perfect night to read them. We have an old, small red suitcase that has our Christmas books inside, along with a new pair of pyjamas for the children wear on Christmas Eve. We store the reindeer food in there if we’ve made it ahead, and it’s also a handy place to keep the Christmas stockings...


Let your little ones hang up their stockings ready for Santa, either by the fireplace, on their door handles, or the foot of the bed. (Also, make sure that Santa packs those stockings after the kids are asleep so that they’re ready first thing in the morning.)

Take care of Santa

Don’t let Santa Claus go hungry on his journey… Remember to ask your children to set out a mince pie and sherry for him, and a carrot for Rudolf wouldn’t go amiss either. (Also, make sure that these are nibbled on after your kids are asleep...)

Food prep

We always prepare our homemade stuffing (the best part of the meal in my opinion) on the night before Christmas. We also get a lot of other things started, like the base for the gravy (using the giblets from the goose), and peeling potatoes etc. It just takes the edge off the amount of work on the day itself.

Chill your drinks

Get your wine, fizzy and other drinks chilling in the fridge for the big day. Sort out some ice cubes for the freezer too if you think you’ll need them.

Wrap the final presents

Get those last gifts wrapped, tagged and under the tree ready for Christmas morning.

Set your recordings

Make sure you’ve scoured the TV listings and set your favourite programmes and films to record the next day. That way you’re not a slave to the timetable of TV and you can watch things whenever you like.

Sit down by the tree

Christmas Eve is a busy day, and it can go by in a flash. Take some time in the evening to just sit and relax. Enjoy the most festive time of the year sitting by the twinkling tree.

Go to bed!

It’s all very exciting, but try not to stay up too late on Christmas Eve. You want to have plenty of energy for Christmas Day, especially if you have children…(!)

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog,