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5 Things you Need to do NOW to Prepare your Online Handmade Shop for Christmas

 Christmas is – without doubt – the busiest time of year for those of us with a business based in Western countries.

When you’re selling online, the Christmas rush can hit pretty early – usually it’s going strong by mid-November when all the organised people have already started shopping.

If you leave it till the end of November to get prepared, you’re going to find yourself in a world of trouble and stress as you run around trying to fill orders you don’t have materials for – or the packaging for… or you’ll miss out on lots of potential sales because you haven’t been smart with your marketing at this crucial time of year.

Here are 5 things you need to do NOW in order to be organised, calm, and taking advantage of this busy buying season!


1. Set your ‘cut-off’ dates

The sooner you do this – at least in your own head – the more calm and in control you’ll feel about the upcoming rush.

Publicise these dates a good few weeks before the first date hits. I’ll be putting mine up in about a week’s time.

For Epheriell, I’m going to stick to the dates I’ve used for the last few years, which have worked well. My cut-off for international orders is December 1st, and my cut-off for Australian orders is December 10th. Because my turn-around time is up to 5 business days, these dates give me enough breathing room to get orders made and shipped – AND enough time for them to actually travel from me to the buyer in time for Christmas.

I know some people sell and ship much later than this (offering express post options etc) but I choose not to go that way because I actually want to give myself enough buffer time to enjoy the holiday, rather than being completely strung out right up to Christmas.


2. Do a stocktake and order materials

The last thing you want is to be in the middle of the Christmas rush and realise you’ve run out of an essential material that you have no way of getting your hands on immediately.

Trust me – I’ve been in this situation and it’s no fun!

Now is the time to do a stocktake of what you have, and order any materials you think you’ll need to fill Christmas orders. Always order more than you think you’ll need! You can always use it later, but if you run out, you’ll be in a pickle.

This goes for not only actual craft materials, but packaging, too – envelopes, ribbon, etc

Speaking of which…


3. Sort out your packaging

Are you doing anything special for Christmas orders? Different wrapping? A special card? A special discount?

Figure that out now and make sure you have all the materials on hand.


4. Plan your marketing strategy

How are you going to stand out during the Christmas buying frenzy?

How are you going to be keeping in contact with your customers? How often will you email them, and what offers will you be making?

If nothing else, do a rough plan of the next month and a half, putting in any specials, important dates, emails, core blog posts and ideas for social media marketing. Create graphics to publicise your cut-off dates and any specials.

One great thing to do is a Gift Guide featuring your own products. I’ve done one of these each year for the last few years, and it makes a great blog post/email that helps people to choose gifts from the 300+ products in my shop. Here’s a link to the one I did last year to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.


5. Get any Christmas/Holiday themed items in your shop

You probably should have done this before now, but if not, you don’t want to leave it much longer.

I don’t really have themed items in my shop, but I do have particular items I feature as good gift ideas at this time of year.

Get those popular gift items out there in front of your customers.


Do you have any Christmas prep tips to share with us?

{Image Source: pixabay}


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



Hi Jess! Great blog once again! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Just wondering with your international postage times, do you send your products through regular post? I have found with international postage (especially Canada for some reason) takes a full 4 weeks to arrive in time. If your cut off date is 1st Dec do you find you need express postage for international orders to arrive on time for Christmas?


Hi Anna – I do send things via regular Australia Post, yes. I have also noticed things taking a bit longer to Canada – but I’ve not yet *touch wood* had something not reach an international customer within that timeframe (so long as it’s not gone missing in the post, of course).

Alicia Nicole Salazar

Great Ideas, I especially like the gift guide idea, I was planning on doing one of these to promote fellow small businesses, bloggers and etsyers but I never thought to do one all about my shop, and why not?


Thanks Jess! You are just so wonderful to share this information. Just one more question, I notice on your Etsy shop announcement that you offer NOR on international tracking. What is this exactly? 🙂


Hey Anna! You need to read that in context: “Australia Post does not include tracking – either domestic via the large letter size I use to ship NOR international tracking – as standard.” So I’m saying that AusPost doesn’t offer tracking of domestic large letters or (nor) international packaging. Maybe I need to change the wording!

What say you?