I love my family like crazy, and Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. There is only one problem, gift giving is not my love language – or maybe it is just that gift shopping is not my love language. Watching my family open gifts I’ve selected makes me very happy, I just get overwhelmed by the planning, budgeting, and shopping.
These six tips help me tackle the challenge and make Christmas shopping more relaxed.
1. Establish a System
In our family each child gets three gifts, and one of the three is a book. I love choosing the books and already have ordered some on Amazon for this Christmas. The other two gifts tend to be less obvious and more of a challenge.
I read of another family where each person receives: 1 want, 1 need, 1 wear, 1 read. I like that – and it even rhymes.
2. Make Wish Lists
Ask your children to make a list of suggestions. These lists are actually quite adorable and I’ve saved many of them over the years. Usually I can find a couple of things on their lists that are actually reasonable. I won’t tell you how many of my children asked for a puppy this year — because they can’t have one.
3. Start Early
I am definitely not one of those people who shops all year round for Christmas. That sounds like a nightmare to me. But I do like to start, and finish, early. This year Hannah will be home on Dec. 1st for a visit and I would like to be as close to done as possible when she arrives so I’m not distracted by shopping. I just might rope her in to helping me wrap!
4. Keep a Notebook
I use a notebook to keep track of all gifts I plan to purchase, and then mark them off as I buy them. My Christmas notebook also helps me keep track of menus, teacher gifts, past Christmas letters and cards, and things I want to remember the next year.
I wrote a post about it that you might like, Help for My Christmas Brain.
5. Remember the Small Gifts
I make a list of teachers and other special people, so when I see something just right, and affordable, I buy it. Some years we make small gifts, which is nice when there is time. I also try to have a few small hostess gifts ready to go, even if it is as simple as a box of tea or bottle of wine with a ribbon around it.
This year I am excited to support Isaiah’s new project, Claro Candles which just launched this week. Every two weeks they support a new cause by giving an organization 50% of all proceeds. Their first cause is Pencils of Promise which builds schools in developing nations. How perfect is that for a teacher gift?
6. Wrap Early
I make a valiant effort to get all wrapping done a little bit early. I remember years when Russ I were up late wrapping on Christmas Eve before we could go to bed. That is no way to spend Christmas Eve; it’s much more fun to snuggle in bed.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you might enjoy my post, Top Twenty Toys 2012, which is packed with all kinds of gift ideas for kids. I also have a post coming up titled, Twenty Real-life Tools for Gifts; you might find some good ideas there too.
Question: How do you manage Christmas shopping for your family?