I have in the past (before my professional organizing days) been know to wait until the last minute to do my gift shopping. I was especially awful at Christmas time. With absolutely no plan or any idea of what gifts I was getting for my friends and family, I’d wait until the last minute to go shopping. I think I inherited that from my father who is notorious for shopping on Christmas Eve and then having us…his daughters…do all his wrapping (Sorry, Dad…spilled the beans, but you know I still love you!)
Anyhoos, the problem with waiting until the last minute is that I’d end up battling a throng of procrastinatory shoppers and then would get so overwhelmed with the multitude of gift ideas that I left my shopping adventure discouraged, overwhelmed and with a handful of not-so-well-thought-out gifts. I have however, learned my lesson and have become much, much wiser with my holiday gift shopping ventures. So what’s the trick? Having a plan. Yes, simply having a plan can eliminate the holiday gift giving agony. Here are a few tips on creating your holiday gift giving plan:
1. Open your ears and pick up on cues for possible gift ideas. Listen in on conversations with your friends and family for gifts that they need or want. You can start this any time of the year. There’s no need to wait. Keep track of gift ideas in a notebook, on your phone or in your computer.
2. Make a master gift list. THIS IS KEY! Create a list of all of your recipients’ names and next to their names write their address, gift items or ideas, budget limit, and when you need to order or ship their gifts. Having all this information in one spot when you go shopping or prepare to order and mail gifts will be a life-saver!
3. Create a budget. Knowing how much money you are willing to spend will greatly impact and narrow down what gifts you can get for your recipients. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how fast the money flies out of your wallet when you’re not keeping track!
4. Save a date on your calendar when you will focus on nothing but holiday shopping. It can be half a day, a full day or a couple of days where you can use this time to do your shopping online or in the stores. Saving a date helps you stay focused and will help you get your shopping done faster and more efficiently.
5. To save money and the hassle of wrapping presents…deliver your online orders directly to the recipient. I can’t tell you how much money I wasted by shipping the items to my home only to turn around and spend more money shipping them to the recipient. Sure it would be nice to gift wrap the items but is it really worth the price of double shipping? Often times my gifts cost less than all the shipping charges.
6. Order as much as you can online! You can usually find much better deals than you can in the stores plus you don’t have to waste time driving to the store, finding parking stalls and waiting in line to pay at the register. Hey…Get Simplifized is all about making your life simplified and organized. This is a perfect way to do it!
7. Save your master list to use next year. Don’t reinvent the wheel every year. Your best bet is to keep a master copy on your computer that you can edit and update as you need too.
That’s it. Sound simple enough? Well then, break out your pen and paper or your computer and start making that list. I know, I know, we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet! But get that list ready, start jotting down ideas and set a date to shop. It will be worth it. Let this year be the year you can drink your eggnog in peace instead of spiking it to keep your sanity. Happy Holiday shopping!