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Organizing your holiday gift list

Organizing your holiday gift list: How to get through the season with your wallet and sanity intact

Giving gifts for the holidays can be wonderful – after all, it’s a warm and generous way to celebrate the season. But it can also be a drain on your wallet and your patience. Whether it’s sticking to a budget or making sure you don’t forget anyone, organizing your gift list is the best way to stay on track and make the season as joyful as it truly should be.

  • Make a master list

    The first step is to figure out who you need to buy for. Using a Post-it® List Note with Color-Coded Sections, create categories, like family, friends, office, school, or service providers (like babysitters or postal carriers). Then, list all the possible gift recipients in each category. Be generous with your first attempt at a list – you can always trim it down later, and you don’t want to miss someone unintentionally.

    Make a master list

  • Decide on a budget

    Pick a budget for each category, and make sure it leaves you enough to get something for each person you really need to buy for. Add all the categories’ budgets together and see how you’re doing overall. If it’s too much, think about who you can trim from your lists or whether you can spend less on each individual. Once you’ve arrived at numbers you’re happy with, write down your budget number for each individual person on your list. Now you’re done with the money part, and it’s time to have some fun.

  • Brainstorm gift ideas

    Get a pad of Post-it® Super Sticky Notes and label a note for each person on your list. Now, jot down as many gift ideas as you can for each person, trying to stay within your budget numbers. You may be able to re-use ideas from one person to the next, especially with people who fill similar roles, like teachers or co-workers. Don’t forget homemade gifts like cookies or cocoa mix as options in this section; they can really help with your budget. (This is a good project for a cold afternoon spent cozily in front of the computer, surfing for inspiration, but it’s also fun to get the rest of the family involved. For teachers, grandparents or mutual friends, each family member can make their own Post-it® Note brainstorm list, and then you can put them all together and compare.)

    Brainstorm gift ideas

  • Make a shopping list

    Once you’ve collected all your ideas, start a new color-coded list, and label each section with one person’s name. Write down your three or four best ideas for each person, using as many pages as you need to make a comprehensive list. When you’re done, you should have a complete list to take on your shopping trips, including back-up options in case you can’t find your first choice, and you’ll be the master of the holiday rush.

    Make a shopping list

  • A little planning ahead can help you leave the stress behind and enjoy surprising the people you care for during the holiday season.

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