Ye Olde Gift Giving

I’m not one of those people who decorate right after Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s usually two days before Christmas and the hubs and I are running around like lunatics trying to do all things Christmas in 24 hours. But it’s not because I don’t like the holidays. I actually do. I wish I was one of those people that was so.freaking.excited to start decorating and celebrating. But I usually leave everything to the last minute and then get overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, things (like decorating, baking, sending cards out) get cut from the list. This year, however, I want to embrace the holidays. And one of the things I did to keep my feathers unruffled is gift plan. Usually, the Broksi and I go Christmas shopping the day before Christmas Eve. And while I absolutely love this chaotic tradition that usually winds up with us consuming mass quantities of Fat Burger, it puts a huge dent in my wallet. This is why:

  1. I can only choose what is on the shelves – this means no price comparing to get the best deal.
  2. I pay what the store demands – because it’s the very last minute, I have to buy something. And pay what they ask.
  3. Gift inspiration is a no-go – instead of putting time and thought into a gift, my mindset has always been: “I will find something he or she likes while we’re out”. This doesn’t mean I pick just anything for my family members. I always make sure it’s a gift he or she will like and use. It just means I haven’t utilized the internet to its full potential. You can get ANYTHING online. I’m giving animals this year.
  4. I buy more than I need – because I don’t have specific ideas, or a list, I buy more than I need to. Without even realizing I am. Which means I spend more money than I need to. Which means I cry over credit card statements in January. Happy New Year, give me your house.

So this year, I wanted to do things differently. I found this article on having a Christmas cash envelope system. This blogger talks about how she has a budget for each gift recipient and keeps the cash for each individual within her envelope. Even though I rarely have cash on hand (muggers, move along), I liked the idea of having a set amount for each person. And then I found this free printable to keep track of what I wanted to get for each person.

Budget, check. Gift ideas, check. More time to drink port and watch the Grinch, check and check.

So I used those concepts but in my own way. I budgeted a specific amount of dollars per person that I was going to spend. Then I scoured the web for *thoughtful* gifts that fit into that budget. Being an psychotic avid Pinterest user, I got many of my gift ideas from there. I’m all – ZOMG he/she/it will love that, and tack it onto my board so I don’t forget within the next 5 seconds. The only drawback was that people were able see what I pinned (the fact that I also titled my board “Gift Ideas” didn’t keep it super secret, either). However, no one in my family uses Pinterest, so I usually get away with keeping their gifts a secret. Recently, Pinterest has introduced a new feature called Secret Boards. And about time. Not only is this great for keeping holiday shopping under wraps (GET IT? Under wraps. I chuckled.) but it would have also come in handy planning super secret bridal shower stuff, and birthday party stuffs for the hubs.

So to wrap all of this up (last gift wrapping pun, I promise), I feel like I have a better handle on the gift portion of Christmas, which means I can focus on other aspects! Like getting a tree THREE days before Christmas, instead of TWO. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Anyone want to jump on the {Santa} train of holiday organizing wisdom? Help a sister out. Whatchu got?


8 thoughts on “Ye Olde Gift Giving

  1. Love this! I am a spreadsheet girl myself 🙂 About 2 years ago I started my own spreadsheet and have been using it for every gift buying experience ever since. It keeps me in line in terms of budget, keeping gifts “fair” and having time to think of clever gifts for people. I am responsible for buying for both my family and my husbands, as well as for 2 Yankee swap parties each year – it can get hectic! So using this system gives me more time to think, and is a heck of a lot easier on my wallet. I highly recommend it!

  2. This is a fabulous idea. I haven’t tried any charts yet (although you have made them look mighty sexy), but I try to buy gifts all year round. Ideally, I will buy one or two a month, then they just stack in the utility room. It’s also great because if I forget a birthday, there’s already a gift for that person downstairs.

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