Christmas shopping used to be quick and simple: my mom, dad, sister, brother, a few friends and done. Since Chris and I got married, fifteen people have been added to my family tree with eight of them being nieces and nephews ten years old and under. I've since had to figure out a way for us to shop for Christmas gifts with a reasonable budget and little stress.
(I use this list to make our list and keep on budget. You can download it for free by clicking on that link!)
First, we make a list.
Which family members are we shopping for this year? Sometimes the couples on his side of the family exchange gifts and sometimes we don't. We figure this out early on to determine our budget. The kids always get a small gifts from us regardless, but eight kids still adds up quick.
Then, we make a budget.
We try to keep it fair and reasonable. We spend the same amount on my parents and his mom, and we spend the same on each of the kids. We spend a bit more on my sister and brother since they're younger, single and kid-less. We add it all up and know exactly what needs to be put aside to make it happen.
I shop throughout the year.
This is one of my best tricks that keeps me the most sane. I start looking for gifts for the next year immediately following Christmas. I found a great deal online this past March at one of my favorite outlet stores. I stocked up on a few gifts and was done with three people! I stick them in my gift storage area and move on.
I also keep up with discount sites or deals such as GroopDealz and Pick Your Plum. There are so many cute, custom and unique gifts out there.
As it gets closer to the season, we spread out our shopping trips.
To make it enjoyable for the both of us (because I could get it all done in one day and be happy), we spread out the trips. Before Thanksgiving, we knocked out the gifts for all of our nieces and nephews with a one-hour spree to Target. We grabbed a Starbucks drink beforehand and I made sure to involve Chris in all of the decisions (even though I had gathered ideas from the moms). I shopped for a few gifts online one day and then we went and shopped for our parents together as an afternoon date.
By spreading it out, he doesn't get overwhelmed (both with shopping and financially) and that means it is more enjoyable for me, too.
I make sure we're done with a couple of weeks to spare.
Personally, I like to be done with shopping early enough so I can enjoy the wrapped gifts under the tree and not get tangled up in the hustle and bustle of the stores. We were done as of Saturday, so we can now sit back and enjoy the week leading up to Christmas.
What are your tricks for making holiday shopping fun and memorable?
Don't forget to download the Christmas Budget & Gift List!