Yes, Holiday Season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year… But what’s leading to it resembles more an obstacle race, with great shopping opportunities as a reward.
I’m a spontaneous “gifter”. I love to get people unexpected presents. I love to see something and think, So&So would love that. And get it. And gift it. It’s the most rewarding feeling because it comes from a genuine place in the heart and it generally hits the spot. Bull-eye style.
But Holiday gifting is another story. Something that requires planning, list making, budgeting… No room, whatsoever, is left for spontaneity… I don’t like it, but I can deal with that so, along the years, I developed a very strategical approach to the Holiday shopping. And, of course, my plan involves lists making…
Please do not laugh.
I created a spreadsheet where I keep track year after year of what I gifted people, as well as the gift value (that’s for the budgeting part). I start pulling out this master list around that time, mid-November, and look at last years gifts. How were they received? What was a hit? What was not? I look at my list and sort through who will I be “working” on getting something to? Who might be a last minute decision?
Then comes the list making for the upcoming season. A blank slate as of November 13th… A list of names with empty cells in front of them, empty cells waiting to be filled with ideas and final purchases, recorded as a source of information for the upcoming years.
This year my A-List is short. Mostly family members and very close friends. I’m counting 9 gifts to purchase. Total allowed budget: $300.00. Now, it’s time to look for inspiration: blogs, magazines, conversations… and start filling those blank cells with ideas and price tags. I call it shopping in spirit…
This year is going to be different from the past few ones since I’m actually going to spend the Holidays in France, with my family. No shipping constraints for once. Maybe a little more room for being creative. However, not spending much time with people doesn’t help finding that perfect gift. No eavesdropping on a conversation and picking-up that my mother really likes this silk scarf she saw in a magazine… You have to go blind; and hope for the best.
What are your tricks for good Holiday shopping? Are you a planner or a last-minuter? Do you set a budget or just go with the flow and just hope for the best?