I start my Christmas gift planning with a spreadsheet of everyone I need to buy for, what I spent on them last year, and what I bought them last year. I use that to budget and think of ideas for what to do this year (and make sure I didn't get it for them last year, or an earlier year). It is also a great reference for sizes. If anytime throughout the year I hear a person mention something they want/need, I throw it on the list too. Because of my year-round use, I suggest using Google Drive, so you can update your spreadsheet on the fly from the app. This is also great for Birthdays and other gifts!
I suggest the following columns:
- Gift Ideas
- actual amount spent (optional, or you can adjust in the Budget column)
Once the gift has been purchased, I highlight the line GREEN, and RED once it has been wrapped.
*Disclaimer: I recognize some people think a spreadsheet is nuts, and that's cool, so am I!
This saved me a ton of time last year! I bought Red and Green totes to store Christmas decor in during the off season, and since they are empty over Christmas, I re-purpose them for travel! I normally can fit all gifts into 2 or 3 totes and use boxes for the rest. The big trick is to pack the presents per event into the boxes/totes, and label accordingly. So my family's holiday was all in one box, and my husband's side was in another. This way you don't have to haul every box in to every home, and dig through them for the right presents.
Also, I have an issue with bows falling off, or getting smashed, so I didn't put bows on any of the gifts until I set them under the tree. Instead, I put the bows in the boxes/totes, and attached them when I unloaded the gifts.