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Stress-Free Gift Giving Tips

Gift-giving doesn’t have to be as emotionally taxing or financially draining as we make it out to be. It’s an easy recipe — just combine a good system for tracking gift ideas, an organized place to store gift wrap and supplies, and some tricks for saving money while finding the perfect present. Voila!

Avoid The Stores

Checkmark-Iconhow much is it worth it to not deal have to deal with the crowds?

Xmark-Iconshop through catalogs and use online stores to save time and stress

Checkmark-Iconjust be careful about paying too much for shipping and convenience

Xmark-Iconplan ahead to avoid last-minute shipping fees

Create A Gift Wrap Station

Checkmark-Iconkeep all of your gift-giving supplies in one place

Xmark-Iconset up your gift center nearest the point where you normally wrap gifts

Checkmark-Iconset up a long under-bed box for storing rolled wrapping paper

Xmark-Iconset up smaller labeled tubs for tags, bows, ribbon, etc. — one for each type of supply

Checkmark-Iconbe sure to include scissors, tape, and a pen

Xmark-Iconalso store the gifts you plan to give in the same place — one for “kid gifts,” another for “adult gifts”

Checkmark-Iconmake sure to include a flat surface for wrapping — a table, bed, couch, whatever

Evaluate Your Gift List

Xmark-Iconhuge shopping lists create a strain on your wallet and time as well as feelings of guilt

Checkmark-Iconoption # 1 — give just one gift to each person on your list

Xmark-Iconoption # 2 — have each person draw one name and give only that one gift, instead of gifts for everyone

Checkmark-Iconoption # 3 — buy gifts only for immediate family, then just the kids (not adults) in your extended family

Xmark-Iconoption # 4 — buy or make the same item (cookies, candle, ornament) for many people on your list

Checkmark-Iconoption # 5 — make an agreement to skip gifts this year altogether

Gift Alternatives

Xmark-Iconfood — baked items, mixes, spices, wine, candy

Checkmark-Iconevents — tickets to a play, dinner out, a shopping trip

Xmark-Icongift certificates

Checkmark-Iconflowers, plants, and dried wreaths

Xmark-Iconpersonal services — babysitting, cleaning, a home-cooked meal

Checkmark-Iconcraft items — decorations, scrapbooks, centerpieces

Xmark-Iconrecycled gifts — unopened items you received as gifts in the past

Keep A List Of Gift Ideas

Checkmark-Iconpay attention to items friends and family mention they want throughout the year

Xmark-Iconkeep a running “wish list” of gift ideas for each person in your life

Checkmark-Iconcross off each gift as you give it or know they have received it

Xmark-Iconuse this as your shopping list for any special occasion — birthday, anniversary, holidays

Checkmark-Iconbe sure to include specifics — sizes, color preferences, brand names, etc.

Plan Ahead

Xmark-Iconnever go shopping without a list — know what you plan to buy before you head out

Checkmark-Iconknow how much you are willing to spend on each item or person

Xmark-Iconhave a clear idea of the type of gift you want to get someone

Checkmark-Iconschedule your shopping trip geographically — hit every store in one area at the same time

Shop For Gifts Throughout The Year

Xmark-Iconwith your wish list, you don’t have to wait until December to shop

Checkmark-Iconkeep an eye out for sales and discounts throughout the year

Xmark-Iconshop for interesting and unique gift items while traveling

Checkmark-Iconpick up both gifts for specific people and generic gifts for anyone — candles, bath supplies, etc.

Xmark-Iconset aside a closet or storage tub for holding gifts you’ve purchased

Checkmark-Iconwrap and tag them as soon as you get home to save time

Start A Christmas Club Account

Xmark-Iconcontact your bank about special holiday savings accounts — can’t touch the money until December

Checkmark-Iconif not available, set up your own separate savings account and commit to not withdrawing money early

Xmark-Iconput aside a small amount each month — pick a minimum amount, but you can add more if you have it

Checkmark-Iconuse savings just for gifts or to pay for all of your holiday spending — decorations, entertainment, etc.

Xmark-Iconpromise yourself not to spend more than you have in your account

Checkmark-Iconthis is the easiest way to plan ahead, avoid debt, and stick to a budget

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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