A couple of weeks ago the Sears Christmas Wish catalogue arrived in the mail and I felt a flood of memories coming back. I loved writing my Christmas wish list. I would spend hours looking through the catalogue and writing down the things I wanted.
Now that I’m an adult, my Christmas wish list is a little faster to write but it’s my gift list that I spend the most time working on before the holidays. I buy presents for nine nieces and nephews and six of those have birthdays between August 30 and Dec 25th. Add in my husband, Daughter, parents, siblings, in-laws and Great Grandma and my gift-giving list is exceptionally long. Of course, I also shop for clients and help my MIL and Great Grandma buy presents for the assortment of grand- and great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of presents!
Over the years I have created what I think is the close-to-perfect list. It has everyone’s name on it, the budgeted amount I spend on them, ideas for that year, the actual gift once I’ve bought it, the actual amount I’ve paid and a catalogue of everything I’ve bought for Christmas in the last four years so I don’t buy repeat gifts.
Here’s the jpeg version of my Excel worksheet:
Once someone’s been crossed off the list and I’ve finished shopping for them, I highlight their gift. I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting some kind of symbol when it’s wrapped but I never get around to it.
I like to keep a total of what we spent each year so I know if we are spending more than the budget. In 2011 we got married and there wasn’t much money leftover for gifts so everyone got framed photos of the wedding. The next year we added Daughter to our family so we spent quite a bit more. 🙂
If I feel this list isn’t going very well or I’m forgetting to work on it, I write up a list of people’s names that I put in a conspicuous place in my house. It also helps to remind my husband how many more gifts there are to buy and that he can help with the list too. It definitely helps with the feeling of accomplishment when you get to cross names off of that list!
My goal is always to be done shopping or at least have everything ordered by Dec 1. The theory is so that I can deal with any last minute client crises and have plenty of time to wrap too. Plus it’s always nice to be shopping during December and not feel that panicked feeling that’s clear on everyone else’s faces. Inevitably tho, I’m still picking up one last gift on Dec 24.
Does that help you feel more ready to conquer the Christmas season? What tips do you use to help you feel more organized during this busy time? Happy Shopping!