Hi, I'm Lily.

Creativity inspires the simplest things in my life. Here's hoping I can inspire you, too.

Early Christmas Gift Planning Hack

Hello, and welcome! I imagine you've come to this post for 1 of two reasons:

  1. You LOVE Christmas and heck yes Christmas in July is totally up your ally, or
  2. You're wondering what the heck is wrong with this woman (me) who is posting about Christmas 6 months early

Well good news for both audiences, this post is more about making your life in December (a lot) easier! Today I'm sharing my pre-planning hacks to make your holidays a little less stressful.

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Now full disclosure, I'm a Christmas nut-case. I fully decorate my house, change my phone background, listen to my Christmas playlists all day and break out my Christmas-only Pandora charm bracelet. But I recognize not everyone is quite as enthusiastic as me. And that's ok. This post is more about setting yourself up with a not-even-Christmas-related task that you merely tend to, sporadically over the next few months. Even before the twinkle lights come out.

That ONE task surrounds gifts. And while many fellow bloggers have done financial posts on how to save for the holidays so your January credit card statement doesn't leave you in tears, this trick will have you stressing even LESS than that. It boils down to creating a list now (in July) and slowly adding to it. So, when Black Friday rolls around, you're ready with a plan. 

It's an extremely simple method, so I encourage you to try it this year and let me know how it goes!

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The Gift List

Much like Santa's naughty and nice list, you'll need the names of each person you'll be gifting this year. Be sure to list wildcards like a secret santa or host gifts for potential holiday parties. 

Personally, this list doesn't do too well if it's in physical copy throughout the year. It thrives when it travels with you. You need to water it like a house plant. However, I do move to a physical copy closer to the holidays with my Christmas Planner, which will be available later this year!

Use a cloud base application like Google Docs, Wunderlist or Evernote (all free) to update it whenever an idea hits. That's what makes this strategy so successful. Instead of thinking and wondering in November and December of what to buy, you track all the ideas and suggestions from people leading up to the holidays. 

Try it out

Write out everyone's name in a simple list:

Mom

Spouse

Dad

Kid

Babysitter

Secret Santa (unknown)

Now that you've written out all (or most) of who you'll be buying for, you can go about life and begin using it. Keep ideas uncategorized for now and use bullet points to jot ideas or links to products for super easy navigation later on. I like to be specific yet simple, otherwise I end up wondering what the actual product I had in mind was (eg. shade of lipstick, etc).

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Stocking stuffers

Something about opening my stocking as a kid was always enchanting. My mom was particularly skilled at picking out very random but intriguing items by the plenty and it was like opening a treasure chest. You didn't know what was in there before you started but it was always good!

However, now that I have to stuff stockings in adulthood, I've discovered they're a lot more challenging than they look. Trying to make each piece meaningful gets a lot harder when you need 10+ items. But using the list makes "stuffer" ideas just as feasible as larger gifts. Kudos to those like my mom who are able to do this for 4+ people every Christmas. (Santa) hats off to you!

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Life Hack In Action

Just the other day I was at Indigo with my mom, and she was browsing the candle section. Hooked on one particular scent, she actually pointed out that I should note down that candle under her name on my gift list. This list is practically creating itself now, which is pretty much the ideal situation. Another scenario is when you're on vacation and a need for something pops up while you're traveling, but the likelihood of remembering that item you wish you had a year from now is slim. But if you write it down in the moment, you'll be glad to look back to your notes.

It acts almost as a gift registry throughout the year and becomes even more helpful when birthdays or other gift occasions pop up. My favourite part about gift registries are the fact that the hard thinking is eliminated, since your recipient has picked a bunch of items they truly want. 

Ultimately, the thought behind keeping track of something mentioned months prior resonates with loved ones every time. So, it's well worth the minor upfront work to create deeper connections with those who matter most.

Try it out, and be sure to let me know how it goes. Comment here or over on Instagram!

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