About 5 years ago I started a Google Doc for Christmas gifts so that Anel and I could keep track of who was buying what and how much we were spending. Over the years we have perfected our system and now it is locked down and perhaps my greatest achievement of life. Not only does it keep us organized, but it also takes away two of my big stressors during the holiday season… scrambling to buy last-minute gifts and spending too much money.
I’m sure there are fancy apps that do something similar, but I’m old school when it comes to lists and a good ole’ spreadsheet works well for us.
This foolproof holiday gifting doc ensures that we don’t forget anyone, that we stay on budget, and that nothing falls through the cracks during a very busy time of year. I hope it helps you too! By popular request, I’m sharing a downloadable version and instructions:
Step 1: Set a budget
It’s too late for this step for those of you who have already finished buying holiday gifts, but for anyone who hasn’t finished, set a budget before you buy anything else by adding up everything you’ve spent so far and setting a budget for the rest of your gifts. Write down that number and stick to it.
Step 2: Create a spreadsheet
You can download my template here (it includes my formulas) or just copy the columns below into Excel or a Google Doc.
Step 3: Make a list of everyone you need to buy for
This includes everyone from your partner and children to your coworkers to the mailman. Think of every single person you want to buy a gift for or give cash to and write down their names in the “to” column.
Step 4: Add in gifts, keeping your budget in mind
Add each gift you plan to buy (or have already bought) into the gift column and the cost into the cost column. Create a sum formula at the bottom of the cost column to keep track of your budget. Or use my version which already has it done. I also like to note who it’s from e.g. Santa vs mom and dad for Amalia’s gifts.
Step 5: Buy gifts
Step 6: Track gifts
Keep track of what you’ve purchased, what has arrived, and what has been wrapped in the spreadsheet. You can also add a notes column if you want to track delivery dates or anything else.
Note: We have decided not to wrap our gifts this year. Wrapping presents is a true joy for me, but I just couldn’t justify all of the paper that would get thrown away so we wrapped everything in reusable gift boxes/bags or just with grosgrain ribbon (also reusable). Going forward, we’re going to get this 100% recycled craft paper for the holiday season and I’ll embellish it with a pretty ribbon. The photo above is from last year.
Step 7: Give gifts and spread that holiday cheer!
I hope this was helpful! What are your best holiday gifting tips?