Holiday Shopping Ideas
Though it’s only September, iIt’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays in stores and at my home. I shop throughout the year for holiday gifts, and I’ve developed a system for storage that ensures that I know who will be receiving what at just a glance.
Buying holiday gifts when items go on sale is a frugal option, but only when I don’t overbuy or forget where I “hid” gifts in the house.
Here are some tips to help organize your holiday shopping:
Make a List
To avoid overbuying, list family members and friends. I also make a list of teachers, coaches, and the like. I may not know all of their names early in the year, but I can guesstimate the number of teachers my kids will have. The final category is what I call “kids and hostess,” because I like to have a few extra gifts for children and a number of small “hostess” gifts ready to go for unexpected guests, holiday get-togethers or even a workplace secret Santa exchange.
Shop From Your List Only
With your list of recipients in hand, or stored on a smart phone, go about your usual shopping throughout the year. When items are on sale, such as the Burt’s Bees clearance at Sears, or the summer markdowns at Williams-Sonoma, consult your list and buy. Be sure to stick just to your list and stay away from impulse purchases.
Set Up Storage System
When you return home with the first gifts of the year, set up a storage system based on the same list of recipients:
- Family members and friends, who are likely to receive larger or multiple gifts from you, each get a labeled basket. Gifts for each of them go into those baskets or underneath, in the case of larger items.
- Teacher and coach gifts can be stored in see-thru plastic bags (which I reuse from year to year). Even before you know the teachers’ or coaches’ names, you can label them “Soccer coach 1” or “Fifth grade teacher.”
- For the final category, “extra” kid gifts and hostess items, you can use a labeled laundry basket or sturdy box.
Review Gifts Purchased
Throughout the year, place items large and small into these baskets and bags. When the holidays approach, glance at each basket and study each bag. For me, I note whether the items have a “theme,” and look to see what final touches each gift needs.
For example, one of my nephews will receive Williams-Sonoma Star Wars cookie cutters and a matching spatula, along with superhero sprinkles and icing (from the Target summer clearance). For him, a colorful kitchen glove might make the gifts a perfect set. Another nephew likes board games, so he’ll receive Scrabble and Jenga (Target sale items). A few of his favorite snacks will make the gift complete.
Wrapping Is a Snap
Having your gifts organized makes wrapping easy as well. Pull one basket or bag at a time to wrap and label.
After The Holidays
When the holidays are over, I donate any leftover kid or hostess gifts and start fresh in the new year with empty baskets and a fresh gift list. After Christmas Sales are the best way to start your gift baskets for the next year.
Happy holiday shopping!