Every year holidays and birthdays creep up on us. No matter how we mark our calendars or set reminders, it seems like the week or two before we’re in a scramble for gift ideas. These are supposed to be happy occasions and somehow they just end up stressful (Christmas ironically being the worst culprit as we have several people to shop for). So last year I tested out a new gift plan that has helped me immensely. Here is my secret to simpler, less stressful, gift giving.
Instead of waiting around until December to plan your gifts (or until the next holiday rears its head), create a notebook specifically for gifts and donations that you can update all year round. I’m a fan of Evernote and this is a great use for it. Here are the pages I suggest you include:
- List of holidays and annual events
- Recipients pages (one page for each person you typically give gifts to)
- Generic gift ideas (ex. housewarming, baby showers, thank you gifts)
- Donation log for charitable gifts
- Log of past gifts received
- Personal gift wish list
- Holiday budget sheet
- Holiday gift shopping list
Keeping a page for each person you give gifts to is the key here. Write down items they mention, their interests, favorites, hobbies, or places they say they’d like to go. Throughout the year if you see an item they’d love or think of a good idea, write it down and save it for the next holiday. Also make sure to make notes of gifts you know they won’t like (ex. if your cousin returned that sweater you gave them). When the time comes you’ll have a great starting pool of ideas to choose from.
Here’s a few more tips:
- Set reminders for two weeks before holidays so you don’t forget to shop
- Refer to your personal wish list if anyone needs hints for gifts you’d appreciate
- Save photos of receipts for return information
- Save photos of receipts for donations for tax purposes
- Make notes of past gifts given so you don’t use the same idea twice (I’ve been guilt of this one)
The best part about this system is that you can better take advantage of sales throughout the year since you’ll be ahead of the holiday game. I hope this helps make gift giving a little easier!