Making Holiday Gift Lists that Work For You

Do you remember making Christmas lists as a kid?

I do.  I remember sitting there with the Toys ‘R Us catalog circling the things I wanted.  As I got older, I remember creating page long Christmas lists while sitting around listening to music.  If you were to go back, there would be a Christmas list from almost every year of my youth.  I never really thought that I would get everything on the list, but the idea of putting down ALL the things I wanted seemed so fun and exciting.

Unfortunately, as you get older, creating Christmas lists becomes more of a chore.  By no means am I saying that giving gifts isn’t a wonderful thing that can fill your bucket.  As you become an adult, so much more goes into creating those lists.  Who should you buy for?  What should you get them?  How much can you spend?  Are there any other options other than buying a gift?  The nitty gritty of making those shopping lists takes over, and the fun flies out the window.

So what can you do to bring the fun back to your Christmas lists?  Here are a few tips I’ve collected along the way.

  • Make them early. Sometimes, it’s best to start your Christmas lists in January.  That way, you’re thinking about them all year long, not just in the month or so leading up to Christmas.
  • Take a look at who’s on the list. Is there anyone you can talk to and agree to do something more cost effective?  Many times you can talk to a friend, and agree on a special night out after the holidays, or to exchange handmade gifts.  In my family, I’ve decided that with my brother and sister, we aren’t going to exchange gifts with each other, but we will give gifts to each other’s kids.  Chances are that many people on your list will welcome the idea of a more cost effective option.
  • Group the people on your list. Not by who they are though.  Group them by where you need to buy their gift.  Need to get something from Teavana for your mom and a few people at work?  Put them together.  Need to get a few people DVDs from Target, group them together too.
  • Know when enough’s enough. I am always guilty of not following this tip.  I am notorious for getting a gift for someone early, and then instead of moving on to someone else, getting more for that first person.  I especially do this with my kids.  We finish our shopping early, and then keep buying stuff right up to the deadline.

With these tips, making your Christmas lists can be fun again.  It’s always important to remember, Christmas is about giving, not about who got the best gift or who spent the most money.  That alone, will set you free from your lists!

How are you going about making your Christmas lists?  Do you have any tips to share?  Let us know in the comments below!


Image: Salvatore Vuono /
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3 Responses to Making Holiday Gift Lists that Work For You

  1. HappyLilGrahamCracker says:

    I am almost done with my shopping, and have been since early in the year. I have a few more gifts to get (for example, we host exchange students every year. I can’t buy for them early in the year, because many times when I do my Christmas shopping they haven’t even arrived yet, or when they DO get here, I wait until I know them well enough to get something). I also have money set aside in an envelope to buy a gift certificate. Many times, those seem to have an expiration date, so instead of buying in advance, and also instead of waiting until the last minute to find I can’t afford it, I set aside the money when I have it, and then mark on the envelope that it’s for so-and-so’s Christmas gift. Then, as soon as December hits, I take my envelopes and go to the stores I need to get my gift cards and certificates at. I also don’t buy gifts for my little brother early… what a 10 year old wants in January is very different from what a 10 year old wants in December. I simply set a budget, and set money aside, and buy the gift at the end of the year.

    Making a list in advance also helps me snatch up sales and deals. It also helps me out with getting free or almost free gifts. For example, the company I work for has a mascara my grandmother loves. For awhile last year, they had a free mascara with purchase offer, and I was able to make a purchase that I needed anyway, and get the mascara free. I’ve already got it wrapped and ready as part of her gift from me, and no one has to know I spent absolutely nothing on it. I also give small gifts to my best customers, which are typically small cosmetic items… almost all of them, I get completely free when I place other people’s orders anyway! I also get a lot of gift offers from artscow where I can get something for only a few dollars including shipping. I was able to get my mother a set of ornaments with her kids’ faces on them, and I only spent about $5.

    A lot of my shopping is just good planning.

  2. KimDS says:

    I’m terrible at it. I am a last-minute shopper and I always curse myself for it when I’m trying to find my way through busy crowds on the days before Christmas Eve. One thing I will be doing this year (in fact I already started) is to make wishlists for my kids with expansions on what they already own. Like barbie, playmobil, lego,.. The boxes in which we store those still have some room but we definitely don’t have room for yet another box or another collection! Every time after Christmas it’s a daunting task to reorganise the toys to make room for the new ones. This year I plan to aks family members to help us expand our collections and not buy knick knacks anymore… Thanks for the tips, Aaron! I will try to be more organised this year and your list helps!

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