Every season, we create helpful checklists for our gardens to remind ourselves what to prune, plant and harvest.

Christmas preparations are in many ways no different, a time full of enjoyable activities to steadily work our way through, culminating in the Christmas Day celebration!

Print out our handy Christmas checklist to make your season go seamlessly.

Your Christmas Checklist


  • If you want hyacinths to bloom in time for Christmas, prepared hyacinth bulbs need to be planted in September.
  • Christmas pudding and cake can also be made months in advance. The extra time allows it to absorb all the beautiful flavours even more.

November (or earlier)

  • Make your Christmas gift list. As well as family, you may want to think of giving or making a little something to thank other significant people, such as teachers, carers or kindly neighbours. If you are in a position to be able to give an extra gift, charities such as Mission Christmas collect for children who would otherwise have nothing. Find gift ideas for the whole family here.

Our Italian festive food range at Hillier Garden Centres – treats for the whole festive season

  • Plan your Christmas food shopping, especially if you are cooking Christmas day lunch. Order your turkey well in advance to guarantee you can get exactly what you want. Many parts of a traditional Christmas dinner can be cooked and frozen in advance, including gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes (par-boil, cool then freeze), cranberry and bread sauce (this can also be made several days in advance of Christmas and kept in the fridge). Think of the other festive items you would like in your store cupboard, like chutneys and sweet treats. Discover our exciting range of festive food items here.
  • Real Christmas trees arrive in Hillier Garden Centres from mid to late November. Make a date and let us help you select the perfect one. When you bring it home, stand the tree in a bucket of water outside until you are ready to bring it in and decorate. Saw off half an inch from the bottom to allow it to better take up water and minimise needle drop. View our range of real Christmas trees 
  • Purchase your advent calendar / candle
  • If you are sending Christmas cards, write your Christmas card list, making sure you have all addresses up to date and buy cards. To minimise waste, find our range of recyclable Christmas cards at Hillier Garden Centres. Allow a number of relaxed evenings to write cards in so you can enjoy doing each one.


  • The advent countdown begins!

Decorating the Christmas tree can be one of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas preparations 

  • Hang a wreath from your front door. You can choose to make your own, including decorations, lights and foliage from your garden or find ready-made artificial or natural wreaths at Hillier Garden Centres. Find front door inspiration here.
  • Decorate your home. Review your existing decoration collection and make sure nothing is broken. Adding a small number of statement decorations each year is a simple and sustainable way to refresh. Try our personalised decorations, for a unique new decoration – also great for gifts. Have some fun with curated shelf displays, or use your stair bannister as a focal point for decorations. Create atmosphere with creative lighting both inside and around your garden.
  • Bring the natural world into your home with festive houseplants – poinsettias, schlumbergera (Christmas cactus) and orchids are some of the most popular plants of the season. They also make great gifts as an alternative to wine / food items when visiting friends and family over the festive period. Read our guide to festive houseplants for expert advice on varieties and how to care for them.
  • Purchase Christmas gifts. Wrap and post any that are not able to be delivered by hand. The last day for posting parcels and cards within the UK to ensure Christmas delivery according to the Royal Mail is 21st December (1st Class). International cards and parcels need to be sent in early December.

A beautifully set table. Plan in advance to avoid a last minute decorating panic

  • Think about how you would like to decorate your Christmas table and if you need any extra items for this, e.g. battery-powered candles, tableware, natural items foraged from your garden.
  • Plan Christmas Day drinks. Select wine and any welcome drink – scaled down if there are a small number of you!
  • Make sure you have all the little essentials in your home – wrapping paper, scissors, sticky tape, spare batteries, Christmas crackers.

Christmas Eve

Presents wrapped and ready under the tree – it must be nearly Christmas!

  • Lay the table for Christmas lunch. Doing this on Christmas Eve allows you to discover any unexpected hiccups – like not enough clean glasses – as well as creating a beautiful backdrop on Christmas Day and leaving one less thing to do.
  • Hang stockings if you have small ones at home and make sure you have a carrot, small tipple and mince pie for Father Christmas and his reindeer

Christmas Day

  • Turn on the oven in plenty of time
  • Make sure to have something for breakfast, particularly if you’re planning a late lunch
  • Have a wonderful day!

A cosy corner – perfect for that post Christmas lunch nap!

After Christmas

  • Remember to leave your real Christmas tree out for your local council’s Christmas tree collection service if they do one

>> Download and print our Christmas checklist