I am a list girl. I love lists. I love the feeling of clearing my head when I make a list. I love the notebooks I write my lists in. I especially love to check things off of my list. Lists help me mange everything-including the holidays...
Now that the holidays are right around the corner, I am getting ready to make a list of all of the gifts that we will be giving this year. I think my husband and I started making this list about 12 years ago, before we were married, just to help me keep track of all of the people in his family. I was used to buying gifts for about 3 people so I needed a list to help me keep all of his aunts and uncles and cousins straight!
Since then, the list has evolved and has helped us to establish a gift buying budget each year. Every year we sit down and make a list of all of the people we will be giving gifts to. Then we agree on a dollar amount for each person and think of a gift idea. We add up the amounts for everything and come up with a total. If the total is too high or too low, we make adjustments. Not only do we know how much we will be spending on gifts, but we also have a complete shopping list so that we can do our traditional marathon day of Christmas shopping! (yes, I can usually do all of my shopping in one day!)
Here are step by step instructions for you to make an organized gift giving list:
- Either download the template below or make a list with the following column headings: name, gift, and amount (you can also add "purchased" and "wrapped" to really keep track of things!)
- Write down everyone that you will be buying gifts for: immediate family, extended family, friends, co-workers. Don't forget to include people like teachers, coaches and newspaper carriers. Include items for any gift swaps that you may participate in and hostess gifts for parties you may attend. The more you include, the more accurate your budget will be and the less likely you will be rushing to the store at the last minute. If you buy multiple gifts for one person, give them their own page or multiple spaces on the list so you can account for each gift.
- Decide on an amount that is appropriate for each person.
- Add up the total amount and determine if it is a reasonable amount. If it is too high, then make adjustments to the amounts. Setting an affordable budget is essential to reducing holiday stress. You don't need to go into debt to have a happy holiday!
- Think of a gift idea for each person that is within the budget you have set. If you are giving money or a gift card, you should include that too so that you will remember to buy the gift card (or write the check!) and so that the amount can be included in the total budget.
- If you are not buying gifts, but making them, you can still utilize the list to track who will get these kinds of gifts. If you can't buy for everyone on your list, make a "cookie list" so that you will know who gets cookies and how many to bake!
- Once you have a shopping list and a budget, make a plan for shopping. Determine what stores you need to go to (in person or on-line) and plan your shopping accordingly.
- When you're finished you can compare your receipts to your budget to see how you did. Did you stick to your budget?
Happy List Making!