From FlyLady I learned how helpful it can be to start thinking about it all in advance and doing some things in plenty of of time to make the holiday relaxing and fun with no last minute rushing around.
I start with a list in my notebook and have my calendar to hand -
Advent calendar - needed first. Along with the spare cards I put it in a more accessible place last year, separate from the main decorations boxes which are in a cupboard under the eaves.
Travel- dates need to be confirmed
Cards and stamps - I need more cards and like time to find ones I love
Decorations - culled last year, but lights will need checked in good time
Gifts - write the list
Wrapping paper - check if I need more, and look for some I really like while out and about
Food, baking ingredients - two main menus to plan and a little batch baking now to put in the freezer will be good
Clothes - will I have something new?
Guest room - check the warm bed linen is ready and bring out the thick blankets from the linen cupboard and have an extra heater on hand in case....and I need a new lamp.