I’m participating in The Nester’s 31 Days Challenge, so for the month of October I’ll be writing each day about 31 Days of Christmas: plan a little now to enjoy it more later. You can see all of the posts here.
I shared about wrapping gifts on Day 26, but today I want to take a step back and talk about planning for those gifts before they’re bought and wrapd!
One of my favorite memories from last year happened when I was least expecting it. We were flying to FL the day after Thanksgiving to have vacation with my family but our flight out of Raleigh was delayed and we missed our connecting flight. I’m going to confess – it put me in a horrible mood. I just wanted to get where we were going. While I was being a brat, Matt was calm and positive and found a quiet(ish) cafe in the airport for us to stop, relax, and enjoy a meal together while we waited for our flight. In the restaurant, we pulled out a pen and paper and started planning gifts for our family members. We weren’t rushed so we took the time to really talk about it. It was so special to see how intentional Matt was about trying to find gifts that would delight our family members. I suggested gifts and sometimes he would counter with “We can do better…” because he wasn’t happy with a “good enough” gift. He wanted the best!
While I know that gifts are not the most important thing about Christmas, they are a special part. I love trying to delight family and friends. I love seeing their faces when they pull back the paper and find something picked out just for them.
This year I tried to do a better of planning gifts through the year. I’m not as far along as I hoped I would be, but I did find a trick that works well. I’ve got a secret Pinterest board for gift ideas. I obviously can’t show you the board, but here’s my “Wish List” board to give you an idea –
As a quick side note, I keep this board mostly to keep track of books that I’d like to buy and read. I will probably look at it to give family members gift ideas if they ask me what I want, but I just don’t want y’all to think that I have a ginormous Wish List that I expect people to buy for me. OK disclaimer over.
Matt and I technically share the “Christmas Gift Ideas” board so that we can both see the pins but he’s rarely on Pinterest. I keep a separate board for gift ideas just for Matt because obviously that one has to be hidden from him as well! On the boards, I can store specific items or just general ideas that I don’t want to forget. For example, I may not know which mug I want to get Uncle Joe, but if I see one that I think he might like, I can just pin that one with a note that a mug might be a thoughtful gift.
The Pinterest boards are a great way to store ideas but I don’t feel like I have a serious gameplan until I make a list. I have such an addiction to lists! (And yes, I house the list in Google docs like my recipes!) Matt and I have had one short brain-storming session about Christmas gifts this year, but I hope that we can have another one before too long. Two heads are definitely better than one and Matt is a gift-giving genius so I love picking his brain. If you aren’t married, I’d encourage you to sit down and kick around ideas with a sibling, parent, friend, coworker, etc.
When you’re daydreaming about gifts, don’t forget to stick to your budget. Your loved ones are going to understand when your budget keeps your gift-giving simple. There are a ton of inexpensive ways to show your loved ones that you care. And handmade gifts are special because of the time and energy that they require. I shared a few different handmade scrub recipes and Christmas ornaments are fun gifts too (and I shared some here and here)! 🙂
If you want to support a good cause with your gift-giving, there are several online stores where your purchases help people in need around the world – Noonday Collection, 31 Bits, and Starfish Project are just a few that I’ve found. I’d encourage you to go check out these sites. I bought a gift from the Starfish Project and it was gorgeous and came with a sweet card about what their organization is doing to assist exploited women in Asia.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to give tangible gifts. You can give in a loved one’s name to a charity, and Samaritan’s Purse or Compassion International have catalogs where you can select a gift (like clean water, a goat, or an emergency shelter) for someone in need.
How do y’all plan for your Christmas gifts? Have you found any other sites where your purchase supports a good cause?
Update – I’ve got space for organizing gifts in my free Christmas planner that you can read more about here. 🙂