I use a spreadsheet to keep holiday shopping for my ever-expanding family simple and efficient. I add a new tab for each year, and keep the old ones so that I never repeat a gift – and so that we can track how much we spend on holiday gifts each year. Only the yellow areas of the spreadsheet are fillable; the green fields are auto-calculated. I’ve set this up in the way that works for me; I give myself a total anticipated budget for everything, and then assign an individual budget for each person or couple on the list. Then, as I’m shopping, I put everything I find into the spreadsheet, adding rows as necessary. Once I’ve found potential gifts for everyone on the list, my husband and I go over the list together and decide on a final gift(s) for each person. The ones we don’t choose are deleted (although sometimes I take notes on what they were, in case we want to get them for next year or a birthday), and then I go ahead and buy the things we’ve picked. To keep track of my many purchases and the multitude of boxes arriving at my door daily, I have columns for purchase date and date the item was received; because I’m a bit of a control freak, I also have a column for the date the item was wrapped.
You can download my spreadsheet for free at the bottom of this page, or just click right here!
Because I’m often asked, here are some of the places I like to shop for creative, interesting gifts, in no particular order:
And here’s another tip: while you may have found an item in a particular catalog or store, make sure to search for it online before you buy; you may be able to find it for less. I often shop for things all over the place, and then make one huge order from Amazon, which has absolutely everything, often for a lower price. And the more items you can get from one destination, the more money you save on combined shipping.
Download: Christmas Planner Template