Christmas gift bag 2009

There were many years where, because I was so busy during the Fall, I did not get around to buying Christmas gifts until the week of Christmas. Sometimes even on Christmas Eve! Yikes! Some people seem to enjoy the thrill of the last minute gift hunt. Not me. I hate the stress and the feeling of that constant knot in my stomach! I hate worrying that I won't find what one item that one of my kid's has their heart set on or that I will forget to buy something for someone. So, as my business grew and I knew the Autumn months were just going to get more and more hectic for me, I decided to put in an organizing system to help me out. Here is my gift giving system. Start right after Christmas for the following Christmas. This is a great time to pick up gift wrap, cards and presents very cheaply. I will often pick up generic gift items now such as candles, bath toiletries, small toys, stocking stuffer items, etc.

Keep a Gift Giving Notebook (this can be used for any gift giving occasion). In this notebook, you will keep a master list of everyone you buy for. I keep them organized in groups: Immediate Family, Extended Family, Friends, Business Associates, Neighbors, Miscellaneous. Decide now what you will spend on gifts this year and even what you expect spending per person. For each person, keep a basic list of their size, color preferences, likes and dislikes and make any notes if you hear little hints of what they want. I also write down what and when, and the dollar total when I buy something for the person so I won't forget. I keep the receipts in an envelop stapled to the back or sometimes I will include the receipt in with the gift, if the recipient may want to exchange it.

I buy through out the year, whenever I see something that someone on my list would love. Specially if it's at a good price! Don't be afraid to buy online too I wrap the gifts when I get home with them. It keeps prying eyes from finding it, and reduces the stress of having a mountain of presents to wrap on Christmas Eve (been there). As for wrapping. I keep a big plastic bin in the corner of my closet for gift supplies. I have gift bags, tissue, wrapping paper, tags, scissors, tape, and pens. I tend to be frugal so whenever I get a gift bag, or get tissue from boxes that were shipped to me; I throw them in my box. I also will throw other things in there that would make good wrap: pretty fabric, the color funnies from the paper, and interesting containers. I just pull out my gift box when I need to wrap something. I also throw a couple of plastic grocery bags into the box to put the waste in.

I keep another large plastic bin in my closet to hold the gifts. The wrapped ones are tagged and ready to go. The generic ones, I leave unwrapped so I know what they are. I can always slip them in a gift bag at the last minute. I have a friend who uses the top shelf in her linen closet as her gift shelf. It's high to keep the kidlets out and it's a shelf she would seldom use anyway since it is so high. Perfect for a gift shelf. So there you have it. I hope the helps you become more organized this year. Life will be so much less stressful.