4 things to do now to get ahead on your holiday gift shopping

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
If you read the headline on this post and thought, "Oh, my god, she has got to be joking," this post is probably for you.

I love buying and giving gifts for the holidays. And every single year, I get a little bit more excited about it. Unwrapping presents on Christmas morning is one of my favorite things, hands down, but there is nothing that tops giving a gift to someone that they really love and appreciate. Nothing like it. I know y'all hear me.

I haven't mastered the gift-giving operation quite yet but there are a few tips I'd love to share that I use to keep my gift shopping organized and easy.

Make a spreadsheet of everyone you need or want to purchase a gift for.

I am always a spreadsheet advocate, but more now than ever, I am using spreadsheets to organize every single part of my life – from gift giving to planning Friendsgiving to packing for a trip for work or fun. I have always been organized, but having Google Sheets in my life has taken me from "you are organized" to "wow OMG you are really organized."

Here are the columns I include: 
• Recipient
• Gift idea(s)
• Address (for shipping!)
• Amount to spend or already spent

When my gifts are purchased, I'll highlight the row green, so I know it is done and ready to go.

I also have a place to total up my budget/amount spent so I'm not surprised by my credit card statement in January, and I added a separate tab for gifts for Patrick and Theo, since – this won't surprise you – I am probably going to go over the top for both of them.

You don't have to know what you're buying everyone yet – but I promise it will help you keep on track if you start thinking about who you are buying for. It prevents the crazy scramble in December!

If you're shipping gifts this year, go ahead and get addresses for your recipients now.

If you are like me and your best friend has lived in three different apartments since 2016, you're going to want to confirm their address. I am shipping almost all of my gifts this year (or using email gift cards!) and am going ahead and confirming addresses so I don't have to stress about getting their address right and getting to the post office in time. And then keep those addresses in your handy, dandy spreadsheet. Boom!

I also have a few friends that use Postable to collect and keep addresses – you can post the link on your social media platforms or send it in an email to collect addresses, and Postable makes it easy to keep them updated. I haven't started using that yet but it also seems super handy, especially for weddings, holiday cards and gift giving!

Sign up for programs that earn or save you money when you shop.

Seriously. Don't make a single purchase online ('cause, let's be honest, that's where a lot of your gifts are coming from!) without using a program that gives you cash back for shopping online. I use a few different programs for various things – Ebates is my preferred cash back program! (I earned $7 recently for ordering a gift for a friend and clothes for myself! Trust me, it adds up.) 

I also love Swagbucks for earning gift cards and Honey for making sure I do not miss any coupon codes! (It saved me $20 on a purchase just the other day.)

Wrap things immediately after buying them.

OK, get behind me on this – I know it sounds crazy, and I know half the fun of wrapping presents is being surrounded by gifts and paper and tape and wildness when you have an hour before Christmas. But if you buy some great gifts when you see an Amazon Deal of the Day, don't just clap yourself on the back for shopping more than a month in advance! Wrap those puppies. Especially if you have a puppy – wrapping everything at once raises the risk that Theo is going to ingest something he shouldn't.

I haven't started shopping at all, but when I do, I will be wrapping as I go on the gifts I plan to deliver in person.


Have you started thinking about holiday gift giving? 


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