A few Christmases ago, someone gave me a great idea for gift planning. So I tried it, I bought something they wanted, something they needed, something for them to wear, and something for them to read. Those four gifts meant more to them because they were tailored to exactly them. And it required almost no brain power from me!
Sometime between July and August every year, I begin making a list of everyone I want to buy a gift for. This usually includes my wife, our children, my parents, her parents, my sister, and my in-laws. After I cover the basics, I add any extras that I feel strongly about (like close friends or neighbors). Under each name on my list, I leave four empty lines and begin listening.
The hardest part of this list comes from about September to November, when you start listening to everyone. Sometimes they give you clues like “I want” or “I wish” about something, but mostly not. You actually have to pay attention to nonverbal communication, as well as the little things they bring up or mention. Just fill in the list next to every name as best as you can.
In November, I start shopping. Sometimes I even take the time to go out on Black Friday and pick up a “bargain.” But mostly Amazon and Google provide a solid resource for comparison shopping. When I can, I make as many things as possible. On years where I travel, I even try to find things in foreign countries that mean something to my family.
Gift Planning Extended
Somewhere on Pinterest, a random person added a few things to that list. They suggested that you give them something to make to encourage creativity. You could also include something for them to eat, and that means making something to me!
Of course you can give them anything else that occurs to you. This list helps you start, but by no means represents and all inclusive shopping plan. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, let me know in the comments below!