In the immortal words of Krampus’ Toni Collette, “It’s Christmas. It’s Christmas. It’s Christmas. Merry Christmas!” However, you don’t have to share Sarah Engel’s distress in what’s meant to be the most wonderful time of the year. From HVAC maintenance to festive traditions, planning your Christmas preparations in advance can help you have a holly, jolly holiday against all odds. So pull out your planner or look to a calendar, make yourself a to-do list, and get ready for Kris Kringle to make his way down the chimney.

Prepare your home

Most often, someone stressing out about preparing for Christmas feels that way because they’ll be hosting the festivities this season. To head off a crisis before it arises, make sure your home is maintained and any repairs are made. There are many reasons you shouldn’t attempt to repair your AC system yourself, and the holidays make this all the more important. If nothing else, a trained technician can handle your HVAC system while you worry about everything else that’s on your to-do list! Of course, emergencies can still happen, but these preparations will help lower that risk and prevent many common issues with your HVAC system and beyond.

List out traditions

Whether it’s your first time hosting a holiday celebration or your dozenth, family, cultural, and religious traditions are some of the most critical factors of the Christmas season. So, well in advance of the big day, sit down and write out each of your traditions, whether it’s lighting advent candles or watching fairy lights twinkle. With this list prepared, none of your beloved traditions will slip through the cracks, even when you’re especially stressed. No pre-existing traditions? Try making a list of options you’d like to try, whether that’s DIY projects or finding the perfect wreath. Some people also celebrate Christmas in July as part of their tradition. You can learn more about the origins of Christmas in July here.

Create a menu

Some families share a candle-lit dinner each Christmas, while others make a tradition of Chinese takeout. Whatever your festive plans, make sure you’ve decided upon a menu early. If you’re cooking, you’ll have to give yourself time to shop for all the necessities. A potluck-style meal means each guest will need advance notice. Even takeout could use a bit of planning—you never know when your go-to eatery might decide to close for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

This way, you won’t have to scrounge for something to eat while stores are closed. You won’t even realize you forgot to grab cranberries while doing your Christmas wrapping! Instead, you picked up all your groceries well in advance.

Do your shopping early

Dinner ingredients aren’t the only items on your shopping list this holiday season. If you’re like most people, you’re facing a list of gifts to buy, DIY supplies to purchase, and even decorations to upgrade. Getting this shopping finished early offers two particular benefits. On the one hand, you’ll avoid the crowds and excess chaos that grow all the more intolerable as the holiday approaches. But, on the other hand, you’ll have one less thing to worry about as the pressure builds. It might not seem like much, but every small piece on your shoulders adds to your burden, and the converse is true, too.

Relax and enjoy!

Preparation or not, there may be times along the Christmas planning season when you’re feeling anything but merry. Nevertheless, remind yourself that the big day will be here soon enough. Advent doesn’t last forever, and you know it will all be worth it when you see your family’s faces come to Christmas Day, however it is you’re celebrating.

From food and gifts to to-dos and traditions, preparing for Christmas is often the most stressful time of the year. By keeping these essentials in mind and tackling your festive tasks strategically, you can take control of your one-horse open sleigh and truly enjoy the holiday season. Unlike the cast of Krampus, you’ll be quoting the Peanuts gang, joyfully exclaiming, “Christmas time is here!”