Christmas can very stressful to a lot of people, especially the Christmas shopping part. One thing you can do to alleviate the stress and save time is to make yourself a detailed list for your shopping, budgeting, and planning purposes. Here are some suggestions & tips that work for me.
Making a List – Before begining your Christmas shopping, make a list of all your gift recipients. I like to organize them in to groups: Parents, nieces/nephews, brothers/sisters, coworkers, gift exchange, etc. This will ensure that you don’t leave anyone out and it can save you from going out at the last second to buy another gift. (The strategy is also helpful when making Christmas card lists.)
Beside each name, I write in a dollar amount that I plan to spend on each person. This helps me to maintain a budget and make sure that I don’t spend significantly more on one parent/sibling/kid than I do the others. (If I didn’t do this I’d be forced to either leave one person shortchanged, or else go out and buy another gift for someone, both of which I’d rather not do.) Also, beside each name, I write down gift ideas for that person, so that when I go out shopping I’ll know right where to go, which saves a lot of time. Once I’ve purchased a gift for someone, I mark them off the list.
Saving Your List – If you worry about accidentally giving the same gift year after year to the same person or if you like to base your Christmas budget on the one from the year before, you may want to save your list for next year. File it away or enter it on the computer.
I recommend putting your list on a spreadsheet. And after you’ve bought your gifts, you can easily enter in everything that you bought. Perhaps you bought Sue a pair of earrings rather than the sweater you had planned on. You can save this information on the sheet. Then next year at this time, all you have to do is pull up the spreadsheet. You’ll already have all your names and dollar amounts listed, which can easily be altered without making an entire new list and you’ll have a list of everything you bought the year before, which will keep you from duplicating gifts. This is a great time saver too!