It happens every year: I go to wrap up the presents for the kids and discover that I’ve bought WAY more for one kid than the others. It’s not that I play favorites. It’s that I am terrible at tracking what I’ve purchased. I tend to shop all year round for holiday gifts and sometimes I forget what I’ve already bought.
Sometimes I buy the same things twice.
Funny as this sounds, it’s not so funny the night before a holiday when I’m trying to find a way to even the scales.Things get even messier after the holidays when it’s time to thank people for the gifts we’ve received. Who gave us that game again?
I’m not completely without resources. I’m armed this year. There’s apps out there for people like me.
Want to stress less this season about what you’re buying, getting, and who to thank? Thankfully there are a bunch of ways to track your purchases and say thank you for the gifts you’ve gotten, including an app that I developed myself for this very purpose. Yes, I really struggle that much!
Here are some of the apps I am recommending for gift tracking this season:
- No More Socks – Christmas Gift List Tracker tracks gifts and provides you with ideas of what to give. I like this one because it gives you a number of different ways to organize your thoughts. Track by people, by events and make notes of what you are shopping for online and in stores.
- Gift Planner – Keeps track of gift lists, gift purchases and receipts, syncs with twitter and Evernote. This powerful app lets you track prices, print lists, purchase and send gifts right from your phone. It uses your existing address book and allows you to set relationships. There’s also a way to password protect your secret lists so that your kids don’t hack Santa’s plans.
- MyGiftList – Allows you to create gift lists, bookmark links and refer to them for the best deals. Track, shop and share ideas from your desktop
- Pinterest – The most social way to create visual gift list boards for all your gift recipients, by pinning items. You’ll find plenty of ideas by browsing what others have pinned. Tip: Take advantage of Pinterest’s new “secret” boards to create a gift list board for your whole family.
- WishSpot – WishSpot helps you create gift lists and access online registries. It’s perfect for families that want to share lists as it allows multiple users to view and share gift lists and updates when items have been purchased from the lists.
- iGiftThanks – Tracks gifts recieved and offers the opportunity to snap a picture and send an instant virtual thank you note via Facebook and Twitter (Disclosure – I helped develop this app! Because I needed it so bad!)
Some other tips to keep you organized during the holiday season:
- Use your smartphone! Shoot photos of gift ideas, sale prices & store names, gifts received… anything and everything that you want to be reminded of. Just be sure to capture enough details to trigger your memory.
- Wrap gifts for your kids as soon as you get home, in color keyed paper. That way it is easy to tell at a glance how many gifts you have for each child. You might want to shoot a quick picture with your smart phone to remind yourself what’s inside though!
- Buy & stash several gift cards through a program that gives back to a cause you care about. You’ll be ready to give gifts to teachers, postal workers and anyone else you might suddenly wish to gift. If you have any extras, donate to a charity instead of giving cash. You’ll be doing double the good.