Do you know, on Friday I was in the UPS store (shipping gifts to overseas family) and I bumped into this guy:
He pulled out his watch and reminded me that there were only 6 weeks (exactly!) until Christmas. That’s 42 days or, as he liked to put it, 1008 hours. Wow!
Now, some of the super-organized among us already finished our Christmas shopping way back in August, but despite my reputation for being organized, I tend to leave some of my gift-shopping until closer to the day. That’s because I love the hustle and bustle of shopping around the holidays: all the displays and decorations, the music, the kids sitting on Santa’s lap…I just love to be out and about and part of that holiday energy!
But that doesn’t mean I leave the gift-giving to chance – nosiree! If you want to enjoy your holiday shopping the way I do, you need to be organized and have a plan: plan the dive and dive the plan, I always say. Here’s how I do the holiday gift-giving frenzy:
- Make a spreadsheet with everyone’s name in the left-hand column, the gift idea you have in the second column, and a third column for checking off when you’ve purchased the gift. I also include a 4th and 5th column for budgeted price and actual price, with a total at the bottom of the sheet. It really helps me keep the spending on track, too.
- Break the list up into manageable chunks, based on where you plan to buy the gifts. Then you can hit the mall for, say 4 gifts, and save the big box store for another day. Then you don’t get too worn out or discouraged.
- Be flexible. If the must-have toy of 2009 is sold out, you might need to be prepared to buy a different gift for that special child on your list. So be aware, and have a backup plan in case of “tickle-me-elmo syndrome”.
- Shop online. It’s not my preferred method, but it works really well, especially for people on your list who live out-of-town. Most gift sites will wrap the items for a small charge, and you can even personalize the gift tag and then it can be shipped directly to the recipient in time for the big day.
With all these tips to arm you, I hope you have a stress-free and enjoyable holiday gift-giving experience!