Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Talk: Organizing Your Christmas

(Christmas 2014)
I love organizing - anything and everything so the holidays just give me another opportunity to organize fun things for my family and friends.  I have a great system that has been working for me for several years.  I thought it was high time I shared my organizational tips for this time of year with you!

// CHRISTMAS CARDS & ADDRESS LIST //
I keep an excel spreadsheet on my computer and print it out to use.  I update it on the computer once a year and make little notes, add new babies or cross things out throughout the year.  I also put a dot by every name as I address their card envelope, highlight their name when they send me a card & confirm their address.  This helps me to know who sends cards and who doesn't from year to year.  I rarely remove someone from the list and find that my list grows from year to year as we make new friends.  I love keeping in touch with people this way and I always get feedback that people enjoy seeing how our family is changing, where we are living and such. 
Do you mail out cards every year?  My mom started doing photo Christmas cards 30+ years ago long before they were ever popular and I've been continuing the tradition with my own family ever since.

// GIFT BUYING LISTS //
I am a paper planner person all the way.  I cannot wrap my head around keeping my planner on my phone and not writing everything down.  Maybe one day I will, but I really can't see it happening.  I keep gift lists in the back of my planner for the year for birthdays and for Christmas.  I also write out wish lists for myself, my hubby and for Olive since our families often ask for suggestions.

My system is easy to maintain, handy and works really well for me.
I list all the names of people we buy for on both sides of the family.
I pencil in gift ideas with my husband after we brainstorm for a bit.
We set a gift buying budget for each category of people and I make note of that by their name.
Then I start shopping - online, in person or Kevin does it.
As I start buying gifts, I write the gift and the cost.
When I'm done with that person I highlight their gifts and their name in yellow.
I then move onto the names that aren't highlighted.
I buy for the majority of our people and assign Kevin just a handful of people to pick up things for.
(a mock up of my gift buying checklist)
Once the gift buying is done, then I start wrapping.
This will be the first year that I'm going to try hard to get everything wrapped, tagged and ready to go well in advance.  I keep all the gifts sorted by side of the family/event they are going to - Christmas Eve, my family, Christmas lunch, etc.  We are always out of town for Christmas and presorting the gifts keeps me from having to dig through presents the day of an event.

I also wrote a post last year with 8 Tips to Simplify Your Christmas Shopping
that might be helpful to you this year.

// GIFT EXCHANGES //
We establish our gift giving routines early in the year so that we are able to start shopping for people weeks if not months in advance.  On Kevin's side of the family, we buy for everyone.  He's got grandparents, parents, siblings and nieces/nephews.  On my side of the family, we give my parents dinner gift cards, do not exchange sibling gifts and then focus our attention on a Cousin Christmas exchange.  
I've volunteered to be in charge of coordinating all the details for the last few years because I love it.  There are 8 little cousins this year so it makes for an even exchange.  Last year there were 7 so we added my parent's dog into the mix to make sure everyone got a gift.  I either write out the letters or type them out, personalize them for each child and decorate the envelope.  Last year I put snowflake confetti in them and this year I had Olive help me decorate the envelopes with Christmas colors.

We set a budget, send three different gift ideas for our cousins and start our shopping.  We wrap all the gifts and this year we are going to make sure that the cousin slow down a bit and hand deliver the gifts for each kiddo to open Christmas night.

I was inspired to sit down and write out my systems after seeing my bloggy friend Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort do a vlog of her Christmas organizing.  Go over and check out her systems!

How do you keep yourself organized for the holidays??
It's time to link up with my favorite ladies!!
Join us with you best post from the week.
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty
Lauren - Simply Free ~  Becky - BYBMG
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place
Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things
Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me
 
Polka-Dotty Place

6 comments:

  1. These are great ideas! This year I am keeping a Christmas notebook in hopes of better tracking things. I use Amazon to keep up with gift ideas. I have a public list for myself and Jack (so family members can see) and a private list where I put ideas for others. I have the hardest time buying for people so I am quick to put things on that list when I hear someone say "I want or I like".

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  2. Oh I loved reading all your organization tips and strategies! I remember reading about your cousin gift exchange last year, and that's such a great idea! Sorting gifts is a smart thing to do - I need to be intentional about that this year. Thanks for sharing the love with my post, too! <3

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort

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  3. Hi Whitney - I use nearly the same system for keeping track of all of our Christmas cards that we send, which originally came from our wedding invite list! It's so easy and handy to use from year to year. Now if only the postage wouldn't increase! :) Thanks for sharing all of your tips!

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  4. This post gave me some great ideas!!! :)

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  5. What great ideas! I've pushed my husband's family to simplify gift-gifting on their side. It'd had become a little ridiculous the amount of people we were buying for:( Thankfully, the past couple of years haven't been bad. We still buy for his mom and his grandma, as well as the kids. On my side, we buy for my papaw, parents, brother, and his girlfriend, so it's not that bad:)

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  6. I keep an excel spreadsheet for Christmas cards and Christmas gifts also! We dont do any gift exchanges, so I guess that makes it easier.

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Smiles, Whitney