Checking Your List for the Holidays

Posted By on October 24, 2011

Halloween is next week, and soon enough, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas will be nipping at our heels.

It’s okay to give some thought to your holiday gift-giving now before trick-or-treaters arrive on your doorsteps.

Here’s how to get a jump on the holiday season:

    Make your gift list. As Santa says, you need to check your list and check it twice. Create your list on paper or digitally, using Evernote and other note-taking apps. For your list, write down ideas, sizes, favorite colors, and other important information. I use Evernote for my gift list, and it’s easy to add URLs for items I may find online.Back in the days before smartphones, I used spiral-bound index cards for my gift list, and each person had their own card. It was small enough to slip into my purse. To me, Evernote is the digital version of my old spiral-bound index cards, and I have my list at my fingertips.

    Edit your list. When making your list, also see who can come off the list. Last year, my parents asked if we could skip buying Christmas gifts for each other, and we only focused on gifts for the kids. Several of my friends and I stopped exchanging gifts several years ago and just have a nice lunch or dinner together. We decided spending time together was more important and fun than “stuff.” Speaking up and talking to the people in your lives about gifts may lead to welcome relief for all sides.

    Determine your budget. Decide how much you will spend per person, and write it down next to the person’s name. Be realistic. Too many times, I’ve seen organizing clients who have shopaholic tendencies go overboard and overspend at the holidays because they don’t want to disappoint anyone. Gifts should be given out of love, not out of guilt or as a way to “buy” someone’s affection.

    Stick to your budget. Several stores, such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart, have brought back layaway, and layaway is a great way to purchase higher ticket items. Make sure your budget is realistic and you can pay for gifts without running up your credit cards.

    Create gifts. The economy situation for the past several years has led to people creating more handmade gifts. Websites, such as Pinterest, Craftsy, and Craftgawker to name a few, offer lots of clever ideas to create gifts. If you don’t want to create something yourself, check out Etsy, where other people sell affordable items they make.

    Consider charitable gifts. If you are not into making your own gifts but still want something meaningful, consider making a charitable donation in someone’s name. At Heifer International, you can purchase a flock of geese, a llama or a water buffalo for needy families around the world. The Children’s Art Project, at MD Anderson where I work, has numerous gifts for purchase, and the proceeds benefit pediatric cancer patients. Many other charities out there offer gift-giving so check out your favorite group.

Hope these tips will help you have a sane holiday season.

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