Home » Blog » Beat The Shopping Madness

Beat The Shopping Madness

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I know we haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving yet and my usual rule is to leave Christmas until after we have given thanks, with one exception: Gifting! Planning (and shopping) ahead for gifts means I will have time in December to enjoy other Holiday traditions. I learned this the hard way in the crazy busy years when there were many more demands on my time including a full-time job, 3 kids with multiple activities and work travel in the months of November and December. It took me many years to devise a system in which I had all the shopping handled by early December with no over-spending. That system now consists of 3 elements that work together and usually produce a very satisfactory outcome in the gifting category.

The system

1.       The Phone List This first element may seem so simple as to go without saying but I am saying it because it can be critical to the quality of your gifting.  Keep a list on your phone where you can make notes when inspiration strikes during the course of the year. I use One Note so I can access the list from any device. As the years go by it may be harder and harder to generate gift ideas that are meaningful to the specific recipient. I certainly don’t hit the nail on the head every year but keeping notes as ideas come to me at random times improves the quality of my gifting and saves me trying to auto-generate ideas on demand.

2.       The Pre-Plan The pattern I found myself stuck in for many years centered on an incomplete list heading into December because I hadn’t taken the time to nail things down in November. I usually had pretty good ideas for some people, but not for others. I waited for inspiration to come instead of generating ideas and invariably was left to scramble in the weeks leading up to Christmas (which is what our family celebrates) and inevitably spent way too much money. If you have been keeping a Phone List you will already be on your way, if you haven’t there are some useful constraints to apply and get your creative juices flowing.

3.       The Constraints I am a firm believer that constraint breeds innovation and our best ideas come when given some filters for any idea-generating exercise.  My filters for gifting originate from the same place as the guiding principles for my organizing business: give gifts that are any combination of useful, beautiful, and meaningful at an appropriate price point for the recipient. I am very careful when it comes to bringing new ‘things’ into my home that they don’t become clutter and I try to be sensitive in the same way to gifts I am sending into the homes of my loved ones. I don’t achieve a trifecta every time, but I do strive for it and it does make a difference.  Another constraint I use some years is to apply some sort of theme, especially when giving gifts to whole families. I’ll look for gift ideas that apply to all sexes, with versions/sizes for all ages – a bit more difficult to land on but then very easy to execute, especially if the theme works for multiple families/family members.

Ready to generate some ideas for your 2021 Holiday list? I’m working on mine now but here are 3 themes I have used in the past that are always tried and true and definitely repeatable.

gifting themes

  • Things I Love This makes idea-generation easy, what are some of the things that you love best?  Share that love by giving those things as gifts to your people. One of my favorite things to gift are glassybaby votives – they aren’t very big and are beautiful to look at whether lit with candles, filled with flowers, or just hanging out in a sunny windowsill.  glassybabies are handcrafted by glass artist, local to Seattle and $3 from each purchase goes to the glassybaby foundation which supports a rotating list of worthy causes. I also love picking them out, making the color choice personal to each of my recipients. It’s an easy no-brainer that is always a homerun. Another winner is Bombas socks – in my opinion the best athletic socks on the planet. Like glassybabies they come in really fun colors and patterns and fall into the ‘useful’ category, everyone needs socks!  Also like glassybaby, the company was founded with giving back as a top priority. They donate a pair for every one purchased so it feels good to shop their products.  They also have styles for men, women and children so you can gift for whole families!

  • Wellness This was already a pretty big category prior to the pandemic but now it seems to be even more relevant after what we all just went through.  Current favorite wellness gifts falling into the ‘useful’ category are water bottles (hydration!) – favorite brands are Swell and Hydroflask. Hand sanitizer is another post-pandemic must have, not a very exciting gift on the surface but Noshinku makes a travel-size sanitizer in different herbal scents (eucalyptus, lavender, bergamot) that are as lovely to look at and smell as they are effective. Great for stocking stuffers! And a third item for anyone who keeps a regular fitness routine (especially if they are getting older!) is the Wave Series by Therabody. The Wave Series are 3 different rollers (similar to foam rollers) that send out customized vibrations as you are ‘rolling’ – they help with recovery from workouts and can also improve range of motion.  The 3 rollers target different parts of the body and are different price points as well. As a person who is pretty committed to her fitness routine and also feeling her age I find the one I have to be a great value and bonus points for not taking up much space either!

  • Books The greatest gift ever! Easily personalized and endless topics to choose from. You can learn about something new or get engrossed in a story. You can give digital books, audio books, or regular old bound books. I do consume a significant amount of both fiction and non-fiction throughout the year and have the following few favorite books to recommend for certain people in your life.  I’m not going to review each of them but have provided links so you can click in and decide for yourself if it would make an appropriate gift for someone on your list!

Your TurnJulie Lythcott-Haims. Julie wrote a book that changed my life called How to Raise an Adult and this book is the follow -up.  It’s basically a guide to being a grown-up and would make a great gift for anyone in their 20’s!

The Course of Love – Alain de Botton. I listened to this one on audio and was mesmerized from the first chapter. An in-depth ‘case study’ of a fictional long term relationship that works like a mirror on the dynamics, dissecting  what is really going on during the peaks and valleys of a marriage.  I loved it – there was so much truth throughout, and the writing is just beautiful!

News of the WorldPaulette Jiles. A story about an old man charged with a mission to return a young girl who has been ‘rescued’ from the Kiowa Indians to her closest living relatives. Set in 1870, it’s a very eventful journey story with a compelling central relationship between the old man and the young girl. Couldn’t put it down.

Untamed Glennon Doyle. Kristen Bell nailed it: “An anthem for women today. It speaks to so many female truths.”  And I am always looking for evidence that We Can Do Hard Things.

American Dirt This was an Oprah’s Book Club pick, another page turner novel I could not put down about a mother and son running for their lives through Central America and Mexico trying to make it to America. Holy Moly this one is a must-read!

If you were looking for a method for holiday gifting and some inspiration to start your list I hope you found it here.  After writing it I realize I’ve got work to do – better get to it!!

Similar Posts