Nov 27, 2012

The Art of Gift Giving day 2

This is an eight part series on taking the stress out of thoughtful gift giving. If you have missed a post click HERE to see them all. 

day two... Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty and Nice

Okay, you won't really have to label anyone as naughty or nice. But we do need to narrow down your list. So maybe I should call it "Gonna Find Out Who I Know Well and Who I Need to Get to Know Better" but that is way too long. By the way, I'm attempting to have a holiday song title for each post. We shall see how long I last:) Most people cannot afford to give everything to everyone they want. So, here's what I do...

Take your list of names and write three things that you know each person likes next to their name. Yes, I realize that your best friend is going to be on the list no matter what, but do it anyway! We will use this list again later to help you find gifts. Here is part of my list...

You get the idea. It doesn't have to be big and hard things like "Johnny loves nuclear physics". Nooooo! Unless you understand nuclear physics then you probably won't be able to find a good gift for that. But maybe he thinks Big Bang Theory is funny. Go with Big Bang Theory because you can understand most of that and you can buy it at Target!

much easier than trying to find a gift about Nuclear Physics!

Before you start making your list click play on the playlist below because everything is better with some music:)

Okay, so you might be struggling to find three things for some of the people on the list. There's a red flag - maybe you don't know this person well enough to give them a gift. Or maybe you should start asking them some more questions:) My advice is if you can't come up with three things they like then you should take them OFF the list. Also, if you know you are only buying a gift for someone because you think they will be buying you one...take them OFF the list. Don't let yourself fall into that trap! It's hard, I know. But that's how you end up giving very impersonal and sometimes expensive gifts that you don't actually want to give. Why not write them a card instead and invite them to lunch or dinner or drinks or whatever. Maybe that encounter will spur on a better friendship and this time next year you will easily be able to name three things they love. 

The next thing you need to do is assign amounts to each person in each category in your budget. This seems like serious work, but it doesn't have to be. Just estimate, that way when you are shopping you will have a good boundary to stay in. Set yourself up for success. I find these prices help me have better self-control later on. It also opens your eyes to how little or how much money you actually have for each person. For example, I saw this the other day and it's PERFECT for my friend Amanda. 

perfect gift but not perfect price for my budget

And $35 isn't that much money. But my "Family Friends" budget is $25 a person, so if I was to buy this awesome pitcher that I know she would LOVE then I would have to take off $10 from one of my other treasured "Family Friends".  You may be okay with docking someone else's amount and that's fine. But for me it makes it easier to stay on budget if I keep the amounts even. 

Don't be too hard on yourself, remember you are trying to take the stress OUT of gift giving. Really, you just want to give yourself guidelines. If you are like me and you enjoy and flourish with rules, then by all means, be strict. But if all this work makes you want to just give up, then don't be strict about it, or if you want ignore all the budget tips and just take the gift giving tips. And if you have some fantastic way to stay on budget with Christmas gifts please share them with me and us by leaving a comment. 

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