Christmas Grocery Shopping Challenges

Christmas Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping for Christmas foods can seem like a MAJOR task, but with a little preparation and planning, you can break it down into smaller tasks.  

As you make out your list for each section, divide your ingredients into perishable and non-perishable lists.  By making separate lists, this allows you to start purchasing non-perishable items a few items at a time during each grocery trip you make.  Just add a couple of items from each of your grocery lists to your grocery list for the week.  It is much easier to add $5 or $10 worth of things onto your weekly grocery bill than everything at once in December.  

I have personal experience in this area. The first year I was married and was doing my own Christmas baking had a significant shock.  I ventured to the grocery store with a list of the things I wanted to make, and I got the ingredients and made my way to the register.  When the total was over $200, my whole food budget for the month and I had nothing for dinners, I almost cried!  Needless to say, I have not made that mistake again.

After you have made your lists for each topic, you can make a master list that you combine items that you can tuck in your purse for easy reference.  

Don’t forget to find a shelf or tub to place the items in so they do not get used before you need the items.  

This topic can be a little tricky and seem complicated; therefore, before we begin, I will list out the steps I take to make my lists: 

  1. I have my lists of items I want to make, bake, give, etc.
  2. I locate the recipes for the items.
  3. I create a master grocery list with all my items on it for each category.
  4. I then break my lists out into non-perishables and perishables using the master list for each category.

Finally, I have one additional master list of both kinds (perishable and non-perishable) that I fill out and take with me to the store each week and begin shopping from my non-perishable foods months in advance, buying $5 or $10 worth of items.  It helps not to break the budget in December.

Taking the extra time to make out your grocery list will save you time and frustration in December.  Think about other ways to reduce stress when it comes to grocery shopping in December.  

  • Are there items you can order online with free delivery?  Sams Club has many non-perishable items available for free delivery for plus members. 
  • Do you have a grocery delivery service in your local area?  Aldi is a great one that can be shopped via Instacart (see link at the end).  During the craziness of December, it is often worth the extra $5 or $10 to not have to go into the grocery store!
  • Do you have a grocery pick-up service where you pull up, and they bring the items out to your car?  This is popular at Kroger, Target, and other stores to eliminate you even having to get out of your vehicle!
  • Can you pay someone you know (child, neighbor, etc.) to pick items up for you when they go to the store?  Many people are more than happy if you ask – well, you may have to pay your teenager to go!

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  I begin my non-perishable shopping in September.  Having a bin in the kitchen to deposit my purchases in works great.  I also utilize large baggies to separate ingredients for different things I will be making, such as fudge for gifts, and label the baggie so I can easily find the items I need.  If you do a lot of grocery shopping, you might want to consider having a bin or box for each section:  Baking/Special Meals, Food Gifts, and December Dinners.  I utilize plastic containers with the fold-over lids that stack easily on each other, and I label each one.  


Challenge # 1 – Gather Your Lists

In past challenges, you prepared lists of items you for baking, family dinners, December dinners, and food gifts.  Now is the time to locate those lists and put them in one place.  In the next challenges, we will start using each list to prepare your shopping lists for our different topics.

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  If you have the Christmas Organizing Planner, your lists will all be in your planner.  Use sticky notes to mark the different pages that you will need to reference when making your list, so they are easy to find.


Challenge # 2 – Gather Your Recipes – Baking & Special Dinners

You have your list of the items you want to make, bake, and serve for family dinners/get-togethers at your house.  Go through your list and find the corresponding recipes that you need for each item.  Please make a copy of the recipe and place it in your notebook in a page protector, as this will help you to keep track of the recipes you will be using this year. 

 From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  If you do not have a printer that has a copy function, take a picture of all your recipes and send them to a photo processing location to have them printed as a 4×6.  You can then place them in your notebook using “picture sleeves” that are for 3-ring binders and will hold several on each page.  If you have two pictures for your recipe, you can put them in the same pocket with their backs together.


Challenge # 3 – Gather Your Recipes – Food Gifts

You have your list of the items you want to make and give as gifts.  Go through your list and find the corresponding recipes that you need for each item.  Please make a copy of the recipe and place it in your notebook.  Place the copies in a sheet protector so you can easily have it year after year in your notebook.  

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  Decide if you want to keep the recipes for your food gifts in the gifts or the kitchen section of your notebook.  I do both!  I have a section for food gifts in the kitchen section where I keep ALL my ideas and recipes, but when I decide on which ones I will be using this year, I move them to the gifts section.


Challenge # 4 – Gather Your Recipes – December Dinners

You have your list of the items you want to make for your December Dinners.  Go through your list and find the corresponding recipes that you need for each item.  Please make a copy of the recipe and place it in your notebook and place it in a sheet protector.  You can also use the Meal Planning Cards and put them in a file box for use throughout the year for menu planning.

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  I have a section in my Christmas notebook just for December dinners, where I keep all my recipes that go with each meal on my list.  I place a sticky note on each one with the date in December that I plan to prepare the dish, and then I put them in order so I can easily find each one.  Other ideas go in the back of the section without a date for future reference.


Challenge # 5 – Make Your Grocery List – Baking and Special Meals

Using your lists and recipes, it is now time to make your actual grocery shopping list.  Use the Christmas Organizing planning forms for your baking and special meals grocery shopping list.  Break your lists out into perishable and non-perishable so you can start buying items NOW at the store, especially if you find them on sale.   

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  To help break down my shopping lists, even more, I make a separate shopping list for each activity or a special meal.  So there will be a list for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Advent Sunday dinners (one for each Sunday), as well as any other activity at the house.  I will add items from each list to my master list and cross-reference and check off individual lists when I have purchased the needed items.  This may seem like extra work, but in reality, it only takes about 5 minutes each shopping trip but keeps grocery shopping from getting stressful in December.


Challenge # 6 – Make Your Grocery List – Food Gifts

You have your list and recipes of the items you want to make and give as gifts.  Go through your list and find the corresponding recipes that you need for each item.  Using the Christmas Organizing planning page for Food Gifts Grocery List, list out things you need to purchase, separating the list by perishable and non-perishable foods.  Do not forget to add any supplies that you can find at the grocery store to your list—for example, baking cups for cupcakes or black bottoms or Christmas morning muffins.

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  I watch for items such as cellophane bags, ribbon, baking cups that complete the gift at my local grocery store.  Canning jars are always on my list as they are great containers at a low price, and I can always find them at the grocery store year-round.  They are my go-to container for many gifts!


Challenge # 7 – Make Your Grocery List – December Dinners

You have your list of the items you want to make and give as gifts.  Go through your list and find the corresponding recipes that you need for each item.  Please make a copy of the recipe and place it in your notebook.  Place the copies in a sheet protector so you can easily have it year after year in your notebook.  

From Krisann, the Christmas Coach:  I dedicate a shelf in my kitchen to keep all the non-perishables for December dinners that I hide away so no one in the family gets confused about what they can and cannot use.  I then “shop” from that cabinet each week for the actual dinners in December before I go to the grocery store for the week for the rest of the items I may need.

Instacart – Get $10 off your first shopping order with my link (this is an affiliate link, and I do make a commission one time if you use the service at NO COST TO YOU.  This helps to support the Christmas Organizing community.)