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Tis the season to give. But, sometimes the stresses of giving can sour the season. Here are a few tips & ideas to make holiday gift giving easier.
Holiday Wish List
A couple of years ago I had no idea what to get my son for Christmas. So we took him to the toy store and had him create a wish list. It’s the best idea ever. With a wish list you don’t have to remember what you told each grandparent or aunt and uncle to get for your child. Family and friends can access your child’s wish list on-line or in the store.
To make shopping even easier, order items off the wish list and have them shipped (free shipping!) right to your front door.
A wish list is a great idea for adults as well. You can create a wish list or gift registry at stores like Target or on-line at Amazon. My family usually tells each other what they want so people don’t end up with things they don’t want or like.
After a few years of feeling bad because someone spent more on us than we did on them, I’ve finally started talking to my family about what the budget is for Christmas presents. Talking about the budget has eliminated those guilty feelings of not giving equally. Also, it removes the awkwardness of asking someone what they want for Christmas and them not knowing what price range they’re working in.
And if you’re having a rough year or trying to work your way out of debt there is no shame in letting people know that the budget is a little tighter this year. People who care about your best interest will understand and those that don’t, should probably be taken off your giving list.
Start a Christmas Savings Account
It’s too late for this Christmas but starting an automatic savings account now for next year makes giving so much easier. First, figure out how much you spend on Christmas (gifts, tree, lights, cards, etc.). Then, divide that amount by the number of times you’ll deposit into the account throughout the year.
I have a portion of our paycheck direct deposited into our Christmas savings account. We get paid semi-monthly so I divide my total number by 24. When I start shopping for Christmas gifts I just transfer the money into our main account to make purchases. If you don’t have direct deposit you can create an automatic transfer through your bank into your savings account.
Make a List & Communicate
You need to know who you’re going to buy for in order to stay within your Christmas budget. If you’ve got a big family drawing names works well. Once everyone has kids it’s easy to just buy for the kids.
Be sure to communicate with those you plan to buy for. No one wants to be caught off guard without a gift to give in return. If you’re unsure if friends or family plan to exchange gifts it never hurts to ask. In the past I’ve kept an extra gift on hand just in case.
I started using gift tags with just the receiver’s name when my son started recognizing his name. I used to use the store-bought tags that had to/from on them but it confused my son because he thought they were all for him, his name was either in the To spot or From spot. Now he can help pass out presents because only the receiver’s name is on them.