Yesterday we began exploring how to begin acquiring and gathering the many gifts we plan to give this holiday season. Throughout the weeks ahead I'll offer more ideas, strategies, and places to find more *perfect* gifts (as long as you remember there is no such thing as perfect). Once gifts start coming into your home it is important to inventory them to remember what you bought and who it is going. Years ago, out of necessity, I took a blank decorative notebook, hard-bound, and dedicated it as my gift journal. A gift journal is the journal I keep that is designated only for the gifts I buy year round for birthdays and especially Christmas.
My gift journal reads "2010 Gifts", a title I gave when I began it on December 26th of 2009 and is the place I list every single item I have bought, made, or regifted that year. I do it in the order these gifts make it into my home and do not put them in storage or wrap them until I have recorded them in my gift journal. I mark what the gift is, who is receiving it, if I know at the time, and for what occasion it is being gifted. This may seem tedious, but it is fast and helps me stay organized. It is important to note that I start buying the day after Christmas and hit all of the big sales throughout the year. I bring my reduced priced treasures home and inventory them in my 'gift journal' lest I forget how much I've found throughout the months. This visual keeps me apprised of how much I have for each person on my gift-giving list and truly keeps my budget in check. I rarely have large bills in January due to Christmas gift-buying frenzies as I've been shopping year-round to fill the coffers! Hitting enormous after-Christmas sales as well as other post-holiday sales, Back-to-School sales, etc. keeps my supplies rather full at a nominal cost to me.
Toward the end of summer I start a page for each person I am gifting to and fill in the gifts I've already bought with their name next to it. I am highly organized, don't over buy or panic in last minute situations, and have a running tally of who is getting what, and, after years of doing it, what I've given to each person year after year. I jot down ideas, web sites, and stores with great sales. I mark if a gift was well received or if it fell flat. It is my ever-present present recorder! I've even broadened the topics to include holiday menus I've concocted and how easy, tasty, and time-consuming they were. This is my one-stop holiday planner, organizer that I created with my own ideas and inexpensive blank book of paper! I highly recommend it!
I store my gifts in Rubbermaid (type) plastic storage boxes, but before they go in there I inventory each item, no matter how small or inexpensive, in my gift journal. As a wife and mother who hosts Christmas in my home annually, and as the daughter, sister, and daughter-in-law of dear family who come to my home to share in these important festivities, I take my role as "Christmas maker and gift giver" very seriously. The gift journal I created has been my most reliable tool in helping to make my Christmas planning a year-round successful event. I hope these ideas inspire you!
Join me tomorrow and each day in the weeks to come for more gift-giving ideas, recipes, entertaining tips, and more to help you prepare for and enjoy this holiday season!