You know all those people who are like, ‘Oh, I’m so enjoying the season because I’m completely done with all my holiday shopping.’ I hate those people. Also, I want to be one of those people. I want to be completely finished buying, buying, and always thinking about what I need to be buying so I can just sit back and actually enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. And actually, now that we can so easily shop in our pajamas, it’s not even that hard to do. So let’s do it. Let’s be those people. Let’s finish our holiday shopping in a few hours. Here’s the plan.
Assess the situation
This may seem obvious because it’s a good first step for any list. In other words, it’s a tried and true first approach. Think about everyone you have to buy things for (your child, your child’s teachers, your nieces, your sister-in-law, your mailman) and then think about what you already have (new things, probably not used things) in your house to give (that Lego birthday present you never gave that one kid what’s-his-name in your child’s class last summer, a beautiful jar of lavender honey you bought that you’ll never open, leftover wrapping paper from last year). It’s important to know what you need to do and what you’re working with.
(I did an advent calendar made up of gifts from the dollar store. 24 gifts. $39 total. We’re making Advent the Main Event, and Christmas was completely procured, wrapped and presented in less than two hours.)
Make a list
This is your favorite part, or your dreaded enemy, depending on who you are. Adjust your list accordingly. If you love it, rock it out in Excel with colors and pivot tables, if not, grab a napkin and a pen. Either way, have a map. Write down everyone you need to buy a gift for. Everyone.
I make an over-the-top list in Excel (that I adapt year to year for greater ease) but this is a photo of a typical list I make every day. (However, word of warning: Back in 1980, I found my mom’s written out list and I knew everything I was getting that year. That’s also how I found out about Santa. I’m just saying.)
Make a budget
I know this seems obvious, but if you don’t do it, you’ll spend 100% more than you think you will. That’s just math.
This is the fun part. It’s so easy. So flexible. And you can do it in your pajamas while you eat peanut butter from a spoon and watch Homeland. In my opinion, it’s the only way to shop. If you don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions: Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide, Target, NY Mag Holiday Guide, Amazon and Etsy. You should be able to get everything you need at those five spots. If you want to shop others, fine, go for it. But you really don’t need to.
In the immortal words of Nike or the semantical language of almost all the males who attended my high school, just get it done. You’ll be tempted to wait, to add to, to keep going, to think you still have more to buy so you just keep buying. Don’t do that. Just check off your list, update your budet, wrap up your gifts and get on with your life.
You can do this. Honestly, you can get the whole thing done in just a few hours. I believe in you.