Thursday, September 1, 2016

Holiday Boot Camp: Part 1 -- Gift Giving

While it is only the first of September, I know the holidays are right around the corner! I absolutely love Christmas, but somehow my good intentions and holiday cheer get lost in the mix of last minute shopping and overspending -- like the year I had to next-day a bunch of gifts! Ugh! Somehow gift giving isn't nearly as fun when you're paying overnight shipping fees!

Anyone else have this problem?

I've decided to make it my mission to have a stress free Christmas this year -- and you're all invited on this quest for happier holidays -- to actually celebrate the birth of Christ, spend time with your family and friends, bake cookies, and even remember to move that darn Elf on the Shelf!

The only way to lessen the stress of the holidays is to plan. plan. plan!

And I've got an easy five part series to start planning for Christmas... right now... in September! Grab your calendar and a notebook and let's get to it!

Let's start with a tough one... gift giving!

I love giving gifts but I have a hard time finding that perfect gift! This is usually because I wait until the last minute. Whoops! 

This year I'm taking a vow to shop early!

Here's what we're gonna do...

Make a list of everyone you plan on purchasing gifts for. 

Next to each name write down how much you plan on spending for each person.

Next to the dollar amount, brainstorm ideas of what that person needs and/or wants. 

Also make some notes next to each name. Will they receive their gift on Christmas Eve? Christmas Day? Mid-December at the annual holiday party? Do you need to mail the gift? Make it a goal to mail all of your Christmas packages three weeks prior to Christmas Eve -- that is Saturday, December 3, 2016. Write that in your calendar!

You'll want to factor the shipping costs into your budget and you'll want to factor in extra shipping time if you are shipping internationally!

Planning ahead allows for us to pick thoughtful gifts, shop sales, and avoid the holiday crowds!

Keep the list in your purse to remind yourself of your shopping plans and to fill in any blanks when you come up with brilliant ideas!

Here is a snapshot of some of my list. The list is a work in progress and I likely won't complete it for a month or so, but the main thing is I have started to think ahead and am being intentional and thoughtful about my gift giving.  

Next, get out your calendar and set a goal of when you want to have all of your Christmas shopping completed. I marked my calendar for December 1, 2016. This may sound insane, but with enough planning, I know I can do it!

Is there anything you can purchase now? I know I am going to buy my nephew the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set. (I bought it for my niece last year and it was a big hit!) I can order this now and store it in the closet until December. Done!

Are you a gift card giver? Can you buy a gift card every few weeks? This helps spread the cost out over the next few months! Winning! Just don't forget where you put those gift cards!

Do you typically attend numerous holiday parties? Don't forget a hostess gift! Candles and bottles of wine are super easy to buy now, store, and gift later!

That's all for now! With enough planning we're definitely going to a have a stress free holiday!  Cheers!


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