Now that Halloween is done, we can really start giving thought to the Holiday season. Christmas shopping is going to be on everyone's minds in one form or another if it isn't already. So take this weekend to start planning your Holiday Season so it is more about enjoyment and much less about stress and debt.
The first step is making a list that includes everyone you know that you will want to get a gift for this holiday season.
Next, make categories on your list such as Buying Gifts, Can make a Gift, Card only. Now separate your names into each category.
The fun part now begins! Look at your list and go ahead and shuffle names a bit. If you have too many names under the Buying a Gift Category, pick one or two you can realistically make a gift for instead.
Next, brainstorm the gifts you can make. Write down all the ideas you can think of quickly. Think about each person's interest on the list and something you could make to go with that interest. For example, got a dog lover on your list? Print out a fabulous doggie treat recipe from the Internet on a cute piece of stationary and layer the dry ingredients in a glass jar. Attach the recipe with a festive ribbon to the jar, and you have a cute gift for that person! Or simply print out a few recipes on dog themed stationary and tie them up with a cute ribbon and enclose in a Holiday Card!
After brainstorming on gifts you can make, think about gifts that cost only your time. For a neighbor, you could give the gift of babysitting one night. How about writing out some of your best recipes for a friend? And baked goodies with a holiday card always brings a smile.
Finally, make a budget for the Buying Gifts Category. Be honest and realistic. The main point is to stick to that budget without using credit! So make sure you start with the people (like your kids) that you know you will be spending the most on, and work down the list. If you realize that you will not be able to afford to buy for everyone on the list, then make adjustments and move names to the other categories.
For the people whom you already know what you'd like to buy them, write down the gift by their name, and start now to shop around for the best price.
The key is to make your Holiday Gift Giving List early (like now!), and stick to the budget you create. When you are done with your list, you should feel organized and already less stressed when dealing with the upcoming Holiday Season!