The only Christmas Eve checklist you'll ever need for a worry-free and peaceful Christmas Day

Because we all need a little help with last-minute prep

Dining room decorated with Christmas decorations and festive tablescape
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Yes, the time has finally come to round up your Christmas Eve checklist to ensure a streamlined and stress-free celebration. While you may be feeling a tad overwhelmed thinking that there's still so much to do within such little time, don't fret.

No matter how much preparation we've done, there's naturally going to be a couple of staggers here and there that we'll still be chasing up right until Christmas Day.

So, we're bringing you the ultimate Christmas Eve checklist to help you better tie those loose ends quickly before the big day – and if you're working against the clock it may be worth considering some easy last-minute Christmas decor ideas, too while you're at it.

Dining room decorated with Christmas decorations and festive tablescape

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Christmas Eve checklist

Here are nine must-do tasks to tick off on Christmas Eve to make for a fuss-free Christmas Day.

1. Start food prep for Christmas dinner

The last thing you want to be doing on Christmas Day when your guests arrive is to be up to your knees in food prep, chopping and peeling veggies.

If you've done your Christmas dinner dress rehearsal and know what's on the menu, start peeling and washing your veg on Christmas Eve so you can use Christmas Day to focus on other tasks. Whether you're cooking Christmas dinner in an air fryer or opting for the traditional way, believe us when we say a little prep goes a long way.

Therefore, to help you prep more easily in the kitchen, it's worth ensuring a clean cooking space. Better yet, you don't need to dedicate a lot of time to this task if you're in a time crunch – you can clean your kitchen in 15 minutes or less.

air fryer christmas dinner

(Image credit: Future / Millie Fender)

2. Prep your drinks station

Whether you're going for a simple approach or styling a bar cart to perfection, a well-rounded drinks station is a fail-safe way to keep your guests entertained if you're still finalising your Christmas party ideas.

Stock up on your drinks of choice, make sure you have plenty of ice to hand, and don't shy away from mixers. What's more, if you want to go the extra mile and add citrus fruit flairs, chop and prep them up ahead of time. Make sure any drinks you want to serve chilled are in the fridge on the night of Christmas Eve.

Red sofa in living room, white cabinet, drinks

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

3. Set the table

Yes, you heard us. If you have the space and resources to do so, laying the table for Christmas the night before is one of the top ways to avoid panic on the day.

Get your ducks in a row: cutlery, Christmas crackers, candles, and serving boards – everything you need to make your Christmas table decoration ideas shine – and set them out to your liking.

Tablescaping has been a huge trend to dominate 2023, so it's certainly worth paying a close eye to Christmas table centrepiece ideas and the like to really wow your guests.

Once you've laid everything out to a tee, leave it be. Allow yourself to simply appreciate the morning of the 25th.

Dining room with decorated tablescape and hanging paper Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

4. Finally wrap those last-minute gifts

No matter how prepared we claim to be, more often than not there'll always be a straggler come Christmas Day – it just sometimes can't be helped. If you're panicked, there's a chance you've abandoned all plans to make a Christmas Eve box, too. Instead, focus your time on the remaining gifts you still have lying around.

Set time aside to get those last-minute gifts wrapped up, especially if you need to brush up on how to wrap presents like a professional or remember how to tie the perfect bow.

Let go of the misconception that it's too late to try out gift wrap ideas to make your presents stand out. There are plenty of simple touches you can make to give your gifts the impression that they weren't just done the night before.

Gift wrapped presents and ribbons

(Image credit: Future PLC)

5. Stock up on stocking fillers

On a similar note, if you're going out to grab a few last-minute ingredients and supplies, it might be worth skimming the aisles for some small additional stocking fillers.

You never know if you'll need a few smaller treats to accompany your existing selection – plus, a little goes a long way.

Dark navy painted living room with white fireplace and mantelpiece decorated with Christmas decorations and stockings

(Image credit: Future PLC)

6. Clear away the clutter

Given the limited time you may have, we're not expecting you to deep clean your house, but taking a little extra time to just clear away the eyesores in some of the most important places to declutter before Christmas can make for a peaceful festive period, and make all the difference.

You'd be surprised by the many genius ways to fake a tidy home and super quick ways to declutter, such as the tidy toss organisation method or even just doing a full-on 10-minute declutter.

Marble decorated mantelpiece filled with Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

7. Don't forget the small things

The small things can often cross our minds when we have bigger things to worry about like prepping Christmas dinner and cleaning the house.

However, do you have enough batteries for the new gadgets and toys that may fill your home on Christmas morning, cling film and freezer bags for Christmas dinner takeaway, and enough ice to last the whole evening?

Don't get so caught up in sweating the big stuff that you forget about these important gems. Not to mention making sure you're stocked up on bin bags to toss and recycle gift wrap after Christmas morning.

Kitchen with blackboard design, mistletoe, and Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

8. Prep your Christmas Day entertainment

If you need to do a little prep for your Christmas Day entertainment, now's the time to do it. Trust us when we say you don't want to be met with the unwelcome surprise that all your games and activities are deeply tucked away in storage on Christmas Day.

This includes making sure you're brushed up on ensuring you've done the best you can to make your home feel welcoming to guests.

Dust off and check your board games the night before, plan your activities and have a couple of things to do and choose from on the day itself. Give yourself room for flexibility to keep the festivities going to make a good impression on guests this Christmas.

Kitchen decorated with dining table with Christmas tablescape and decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC)

9. Create a Christmas playlist

Lastly, collate all your favourite festive tunes on one playlist ahead of Christmas to curate an ambience-filled day of celebration. As per Queer Eye's Bobby Berk's tips for hosting, the right music is sure to set the scene and bring the festive cheer to an all-time high.

Living room with black mantelpiece decorated with Christmas decorations and hanging candles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

And there you have it, our very extensive Christmas Eve checklist to ensure you can celebrate this Christmas Day fuss-free.

However, even if you can't get to everything, the main thing is finally being able to unplug from all those tasks come Christmas Day, and indulging in the festivities – whatever that looks like for you.

You've worked hard, so celebrate that and take a well-deserved break. Happy holidays!

Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments.