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astrojams1's avatar

What is your Christmas gifting superpower / kryptonite?

Asked by astrojams1 (149 points ) December 12th, 2011

It’s that time of year again. Making a list (of people to buy gifts for), and checking it twice (on Dec 24—oops). Tell me how amazing (or terrible) your Christmas logistics skills are. Are you the type of person that keeps a spreadsheet and buys gifts 6 months in advance?

I want to hear some STORIES: The good, the bad, and the ugly. In case you’re coming up short on ideas, here are some prompts:

Talk to me in general about the logistics of giving gifts on Christmas. Any war stories? Huge successes? Tricks of the trade? Pet peeves?

Where do you keep up-to-date addresses? What about your system do you like? What are its flaws?

How do you ask people for their address? Look it up on Facebook? Email? Call? Do you contact their friends? Have any stories to share?

How many people will you be buying gifts for? If you have no idea, why not? Tell me a story!

How do you decide who gets a card vs a present? Tell me your thought process. And give me numbers—how many cards versus how many presents.

How do you keep track of who wants what? Tell me your tips and tricks! Any mishaps or other stories to share?

How do you keep track of POTENTIAL gifts for each person?
Tell me about your process. Ever forget what you were going to give someone? Tell me a story!

Do you maintain to-do lists? Checklists? Or other organizational tools? Tell me about them. How well do they work? What are their flaws?

Do you maintain a timeline? Do you adhere to it? Are you done months in advance or are you a last-minute shopper? Tell me stories!

Do you have any tricks that simplify the logistics? (e.g. Buying cards en masse.). We’re all logistical genuses. Tell me your tricks.

Do you involve other people in your gifting logistics? (e.g. Asking for another’s opinion on a gift). How much do you value others’ opinions? Do you ever coordinate with other people? Tell me a story.

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6 Answers

Judi's avatar

Years ago, when I worked at sears, I started shopping in October when they were having their inventory clearance sale. People were really impressed and thought I had spent a fortune.
That is the only Christmas that I think I did any shopping before Thanksgiving.

marinelife's avatar

I always lose the gifts that I buy in advance. Most recently, I came across a gift that I bought several years ago for a niece.

I have still not found my sister’s birthday gift, which I “put away.”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I haven’t sent holiday cards in years, the postage is crazy expensive. When I did though, I’d buy cards after Christmas for the following year and start filling them out to be sent the last week of November, first week of Dec.

At all times in my handbag is a #10 standard envelope with the current month’s name on it along with a list of bills to pay. Inside the envelope I put notes, cut outs from magazines, etc. I try to shop throughout the year for stuff or at least to budget for it. Each month a new envelope gets filled out but the guts inside just get transferred. On the outside of this I sometimes write addressed, emails and birthdays.

I’m a fan of gift cards and cash. There are some collectible items I know will be good for my mother and sister who always get a gift but I try to give them cash in addition to do their own after-holiday sales shopping. Same for the stepkids, they always get cash, movie passes and then some gift cards along with stocking stuffers which can be games, jewelry, gag gifts.

It’s basically my immediate family that gets gifts. Family out of town understand I’ve been financially strapped for some years and don’t expect anything.

MissAusten's avatar

I have a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. My husband and I talk about what to get for our immediate family members (kids, siblings, parents, my grandma). Sometimes we make a list, especially for the kids. I don’t think we’ve ever done Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving; most of our shopping is done in the two weeks before the holiday.

I don’t like to guess what people might want for gifts so I ask for ideas. We don’t have a huge amount of people to shop for, so it’s easy to remember who wants what. We stash gifts for relatives in our closet, but the kids’ gifts are hidden in the darkest corner of the basement where it is too scary to go snooping. :)

As far as cards go, I order photo cards featuring our kids a few weeks before Christmas. Once they arrive, I go through my address book to make sure I don’t leave anyone out. If I know someone has moved, I message them on Facebook or send an email to get the updated address. Then, my husband gives me a list of his friends through business so I have to order more cards. We do this every year. You’d think I’d learn and just order extra cards right from the start. If I’m lucky, the post office will still have holiday stamps by the time I get my behind in there to send off the cards.

One year I was telling my grandma that the cards might not get delivered before Christmas, and she reminded me the holiday season lasts through the Epiphany so I really have until sometime in January to get the cards mailed. Guess I should have paid more attention during Confirmation classes.

global_nomad's avatar

I get super pumped about Christmas shopping. This year I started the day after Halloween. Some people thought I started too early, but I like to give myself time to spread it out. I actually planned on my friend’s gift this summer and ordered it in November. I tend to see things that remind me of someone and that’s what I’ll plan on getting them. I didn’t intend to pick out my friend’s gift in July but I saw it and it ended up being perfect. I have two other good friends that live in other states and I picked them up a couple of things in November and sent them out before Thanksgiving. A bit of an early gift I suppose. I didn’t have either of their addresses so I just sent them a joint message on Facebook. Though they suspected what was coming, I still surprised them!

I never ask people what they want for Christmas (or for their birthdays either), I think that kind of takes away the point of giving a gift. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s supposed to be from the heart, something you think of. I also don’t like to give giftcards because they are so impersonal. However, I’d rather give a giftcard than money. I try to pick out something individual for everyone on my list. Right now the only people I buy for are my parents, my sister, and a three of my close friends. Even though I started on November 1st there’s always “one more thing” to pick up. I bought what I tell myself is the last gift last week, but I know I’ll end up seeing something else that will make a great stocking stuffer! I just love finding that perfect gift!

rojo's avatar

My superpower is my wife; loves to shop; loves to find that “good” deal.
She will start with the after christmas sales for next year; is super organized with lists and suggested items for each person. Said person may or may not get the gift on the list, depending on what she actually finds.
Christmas shopping is, for the most part, finished in July/August. The one exception is the grandkids because you never know exactly what they will want until close to the date.
She also maintains a “gift” closet full of all the wonderful deals she has found over the year and can always find the right thing in it if there is an unexpected gift necessary.

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