I’ve always been fairly particular when it comes to my “system” for gifting, but I’ve become that much more structured since having a little one. Here are my top 3 tips to keep holiday and birthday gifting from feeling frenzied and overly costly all at one time…
1. Buy items you know you’ll gift at some point during the year as you find them/they go on sale
I know plenty of people who wait until Black Friday to start their Christmas shopping, and while there’s nothing wrong with that… I’m literally always done shopping for Christmas by then (and usually the gifts are wrapped as well) so I can actually enjoy the season! If you have a game plan of what you’re gifting in advance, you can watch sales throughout the year and/or buy items as you find them when you have the funds to do so.
For family and friends, but especially for my kid, I love shopping throughout the year because I always have a few items on hand in case I need them for some other surprise, but it also doesn’t feel overwhelming come October when we celebrate his birthday and two months later are celebrating Christmas. Additionally, I love to buy project items in January for instance that Enzo will do at a later date for my family, but at a reduced rate. Call me cheap, but I’m big on art projects because my family really appreciates them and all that stuff adds up!
If you have people in your life who are around the same age, it’s always good to keep that in mind when making purchases. For example, the other day I found this book/stuffed animal set I wanted to get Enzo (not on sale by the way 🙂 ) but in order to get free shipping I needed to purchase more, so I decided to also buy a different set but similar for my cousin’s daughter because her birthday is in November. If you think ahead you really can be more prepared AND save a few dollars.
2. Keep an updated list of items your recipient would like
I’ve done this before with Haroon (and others as well), but I especially love to update my “Enzo’s Gifts” note in my phone whenever he mentions something that he wishes he had. While I could just go buy the item and gift it to him immediately, it is important to me that he doesn’t become a spoiled child so instead I’ll make note and save it for the next birthday or holiday or whatever it may be. Also, if you’re like me, I freeze when someone asks me what I (or even Enzo) want so having a notes section in your phone to write things down — even for yourself — is SO helpful.
Recently E found my old Barbie camera from when I was little — I’m sorting through childhood boxes — and now he wants his own camera. So, I added that to the list and after putting him down for bed last night I found him the one I will be purchasing for his birthday. I know he will be excited because it is something he said he wanted (gifting is only really fun if the recipient is excited!!!), and I won’t be sitting there a month or so before his birthday unsure of what to get him. Also, having a list helps me determine what we will be getting for him as his parents, and what to share with friends and family who ask what he would like… double win! For a similar reason, I constantly add things in my Amazon cart so I could create a quick list if asked.
3. Document every purchased item
The only real way to make all the slow purchasing through-out the year work, is to keep a detailed list. I have always had a spreadsheet for birthdays and holidays that I update yearly… like, I’ve loved spreadsheets since high school and that hasn’t changed all these years later. But probably a notebook page or even a note in your phone would suffice. And, keep in mind that not every year will require as much, but it is so incredibly helpful/important to write down each item so you can know when you’ve gotten everything you intended. For me, once the holiday passes I delete it off my spreadsheet for the year to keep things more orderly. I also add items that I know I am going to purchase/create in order to complete a gift but use a different color so I’m aware I don’t yet have that item.
So there you have it. Gifting can really add up from a money perspective, but it can also — sadly — mean throwing together items that you’re not even certain the recipient will want, unless, you take a more intentional approach and shop smart throughout the year!