With this Christmas countdown prep list, you’ll get most of your holiday duties out of the way weeks before the big day — so you can actually enjoy Christmas when it comes. Start planning roughly six weeks ahead of time and you’ll be cool, calm and collected when the holiday hits.

Six Weeks Ahead: Plan Your Presents and Feast

Start your Christmas plans at the beginning of November for a stress-free holiday. Contact your loved ones early to work out the details of the get-together — if you're hosting, you'll want to know roughly how many people you're cooking for. Order your Christmas turkey or ham and send out invitations by mid to late November.

Plan your gift list as early as possible to avoid the Christmas shopping crowds. Separate it into three sections: presents you’ll mail, presents you'll give in person and card-only recipients. Prioritize mailed presents and head to the post office by Dec. 1 when there will be next to no crowds.

Three to Four Weeks Ahead: Set Up Your Decor

When you deck the halls is up to you, but it's a good idea to start looking for decorations shortly after Thanksgiving. Pinecones and red bows are a pleasantly-scented classic combo, but you can easily get more creative. Try icy-blue and silver candles for snowscape-inspired decor.

If you're interested in DIY decorations, try festive garlands made from cranberries and dried orange slices, dusted with cinnamon for a spicy holiday scent. Or make winter snow globes using mason jars, bottle brush trees and iridescent glitter. Place small mason jar globes throughout your home or arrange three to five jars together for an easy centerpiece.

Two Weeks Ahead: Prepare Your Baking and Finalize Your Plans

The start of December is an ideal time for early holiday meal preparation. Use your Vitamix machine to whip up cookie dough for delicious traditional shortbread cookies. Make a small batch of dough for freezing and pop them in the oven on Christmas day. You can also freeze pastry dough to easily assemble pumpkin or sweet potato pie close to the holiday.

Use the dough during your holiday celebration or for holiday gifts. From breads to cookies to marzipan, there’s a wealth of holiday recipes that you can whip up in your Vitamix machine. Get creative with the containers you send them in, too. Instead of a throw-away basket, give your holiday confections in mason jars that your loved ones can reuse for their own sweet treats.

At Christmastime

With weeks of planning under your belt, the days before Christmas should be a breeze. As the bird bakes in the oven and the last-minute presents are wrapped, don’t forget to use your Vitamix machine for holiday staples like this stress-free turkey gravy or a cranberry relish sauce. You can’t do everything beforehand, but on Christmas morning, you can rest easy knowing that the holiday craze is behind you.