As part of our Christmas Guide for 2011, today we want to share with you some hints and tips on Christmas Gift Planning.
Wouldn’t it make Christmas so much easier and less stressful if we could have all our gift buying planned and organised in plenty of time?
Well we’ve discovered that by following 4 important steps you can successfully plan your gift purchases in advance, leading to happier, worry-free Christmas giving.
Here are the steps:
1. Start Early and Be Prepared
Those boy scouts had it right! (or was that the Mounties?) Anyway, it will make your life a lot easier and less stressful if you start your Christmas planning early. As of today, there are 86 days to go until Xmas and it is not too early to start thinking about your gift buying now.
2. Make a Master Gift List
We will go into more depth about this important step very soon, suffice to say that using a list like this can take you from procrastination and panic to calm, cool and collected. We promise.
3. Prepare a Budget
Did that make you shiver a little? Preparing a budget isn’t the most fun part of Christmas planning, but if you want to look forward to a relaxed, happy, guilt-free and worry-free holiday time, then this step is essential.
4. Research Online
You are now able to find information and pricing on just about any gift you may want online (even handmade goods), so this makes the research step of gift planning very simple.
With your master gift list and budget close by, you should spend time researching prices and options for gifts online. Then once you have finalised your choices you can either buy directly from the websites or go directly to the physical retail store with your list in hand. No more stumbling from store to store in a daze of Christmas panic… just in and out with your list and that’s it!
OK, so those are the four steps, but how actually do you go about making a Master Gift List and Christmas Gift Budget? Here are some tips…
PREPARING THE MASTER GIFT LIST
Start by listing all the names of people you will have to buy gifts for. Make sure you include:
- Immediate Family – children, wife/husband/partner, parents
- Extended Family – grandparents, aunties/uncles, nephews/nieces etc
- Friends & Neighbours – for looking after the cat etc.
- Colleagues/Co-workers/Customers – including secret santa gifts etc.
- Professionals – teachers, doctor etc
Once you’ve got everybody listed then next to that note down any gift ideas you might have for that person (or leave a space if you are drawing a blank). This doesn’t need to be too specific eg. dvd, novel, jewellery, homemade sweets, children’s school calendar etc.
Next to that you will want to note down your budget and/or cost for the gift(s).
And next to that, an indication of whether the gift will be delivered in person or if it needs to be mailed (and if so, by what date).
You can make this list up on your computer or there is this very handy printable…
(click through for link to pdf. document)
… but I’d probably prefer a good old notebook or journal. Then it’s easy to pop in your handbag or in the car for when you’re out and about (in case you need to jot something down), plus you can keep it from year to year which could come in handy.
CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS GIFT LISTS
If you are the parent of children who are still at home, especially young children, you might want to keep a separate gift list just for them.
With children you often want to spend the same amount of money on each child, and you might even want to make sure that they have around the same number of gifts to open. A master gift list is a great way to keep things like this organised (just make sure to hide it from prying little eyes!)
Overall, the idea of making a Master Gift List seems pretty straightforward and useful. Definitely worth a try this year.
PREPARING A CHRISTMAS BUDGET
Having a general budget for your Christmas spending is also essential. By doing a budget you will be able to prioritise and record your goals for Christmas in financial terms and that is GOOD.
It can be hard to remember sometimes, but Christmas is only ever as “commercialised” as people want it to be, and it can be a happy and joyful time on any budget. It’s therefore up to each family to decide for themselves what’s most important to them at Christmas, and prepare a budget that reflects this.
For example, for one family the annual Christmas holiday may be more important than Christmas gifts or social events, and so their budget should be focused on this. For another family it might be most important to give to a charity at Christmas, and so this is where they should put most of their resources.
Doing a Christmas budget will mean that you’re more likely to end up having the kind of Christmas you really want as well as avoiding the stress, upset and guilt of over-spending.
CHRISTMAS GIFT BUDGETING
In terms of specific gift budgeting for Christmas, here are a few things worth noting:
- You can either start with your master gift list, estimating an amount that you want to spend on each person, or you can start with your budget and divide this up amongst the names on the gift list. Either way you might have to keep adjusting things to ensure that you end up with both a total amount that is affordable and reasonable, and a gift list that you are comfortable with.
- The value of a gift is not the price you pay for it – it is the thought and feeling and preparation you put into it. Beautiful or creative presentation also adds to the perceived value of a gift.
- Remember to include the cost of gift wrapping supplies (cards, gift tags, paper, sellotape etc.) and postage costs in your gift budget.
So that’s some words of wisdom we have discovered about Christmas gift planning… if you have any tips or tricks on how you manage your Christmas gift buying we’d love to hear them as well ♥