Gifts & Giving

77 Days to Christmas! Plan For Holiday Bazaars

For a super source of holiday decor items, gifts and baked goods, shop local Christmas bazaars. Often benefitting worthy causes or organizations, these informal gatherings offer food, fun and a welcome leg up on the gift list.

To find bazaars in your area, look to local newspapers or community web sites; many provide seasonal listings of holiday bazaars and harvest fairs.

Add 'em to your calendar, check 'em out ... for a good time and a quick start to holiday shopping.

83 Days to Christmas! Get Ready for Catalog and Online Shopping

They're heerrree ... online bargains and holiday catalogs!

Planning for Christmas, shopping from home has many advantages over the holiday mall scene. No long lines. No sore feet. No staggering to the car, weighed down by parcels and shopping bags. Shopping becomes a pleasure, conducted from a favorite chair. Phone in your selections, sit back, and wait for the UPS man. Ahhhhh!

Still, it's possible to have too much of a good thing! The catalog tide sweeps in at the end of August, engulfing mailboxes and tabletops with untidy stacks and piles--and disorganized catalog shopping exacts a high price for convenience.

How to shop smart and save? Try these three tips to organize catalog shopping:

Three Tips for Smart Catalog Shopping

To track catalog and Internet purchases, add an order tracker page to your Christmas planner:

Catalog/Internet Order Tracker

91 Days to Christmas! Start Tracking Handmade Gifts

Have you taken the "handmade holidays" pledge?

Handmade Christmas gifts add meaning and connection to holiday giving--while reducing commercialism, encouraging green giving and reducing packaging and clutter.

Going handmade does take some doing, however. You'll want to start early to complete handmade gifts in good time.

The simplest way to keep track of gifts-in-progress? Make and keep a Gifts To Make inventory list.

Whether you use our free printable form, or record projects on a simple notebook page, tracking projects means you're more likely to complete them.

Reviewed weekly, it'll remind you of planned homemade gifts.

Handmade is hot, so get crafting--and get organized!

Print a Gifts-to-Make List

92 Days to Christmas! Shop At Home, First

Friend Cindy, formerly of Flylady fame and now winging it at KellyAndCindy.com, has a great frugal saying that I've claimed for my own: "Shop at home first!"

Today, we'll do exactly that: check closets and drawers and boxes for holiday supplies, overlooked gifts, and all the holiday wrap-and-mail supplies we'll be needing in the weeks to come.

If we'll need it for Christmas, and we have it somewhere, today's the day we'll rout it all out and put it into the holiday lineup!

Gift items bought at the summer crafts fair. Stocking stuffers collected during the year. Gift wrap bought during last season's post-holiday clearance sales. Holiday cards or supplies for holiday letters. Stamps, mailing boxes, bubble wrap and packaging tape. Wherever they are, wherever they live, it's time to shop for them at home, first.

Use blank lined paper to note what you already have, and only then, add any missing items to the master shopping list. Shopping at home first pays off!

93 Days to Christmas! Set Up A Gift Closet

Do you keep a gift closet? To save money and cut gift-giving stress, you should!

A gift closet is a secret stash of gifts, ready for the giving. Think of it as a pantry for presents, a place to accumulate and store gifts bought year-round (and at attractive prices).

It doesn't have to be a dedicated closet; a gift closet can live in a covered box, an underbed storage unit, or a high shelf in a bedroom or den.

A well-seasoned gift closet is a giver's best friend. Find a great bargain at a clearance sale? Snap it up and entrust it to the gift closet for safe-keeping. Need a quick gift for an unexpected event? Shop the gift closet first!

An organized touch: print a free gift closet inventory form to keep track of stored gift items ... and get organized!

Gift Closet Guide: Get Organized for Frugal Gifts and Giving

94 Days to Christmas! Get a Gift Ideas Planner

Christmas gift lists are great organizational tools--as far as they go. Truly talented gift-givers, though, rely on more than a single list of name-to-gift; they harness the power of a gift ideas planner.

By keeping track of clothing sizes, color preferences, hobbies and interests, a gift ideas planner makes it easy to select just the right gift for each person on your Christmas gift list.

Stored in your Christmas planner, the gift ideas planner will be there to take notes--and keep them-- when gift-giving inspiration strikes.

Get a great idea about a gift someone needs? Add it to the list; it'll jog your memory when it's time to shop for birthday presents or Christmas gifts.

Print a Gift Ideas Planner

95 Days to Christmas! Make a Master Gift List

Holiday gifts can amount to a substantial outlay of time, energy and money. Keep tabs on holiday giving with a Master Gift List: a single, central listing of holiday gifts and giving.

A Master Gift List is the go-to source to organize Christmas giving. Added to your Christmas planner, it'll record gift recipients and gift ideas, while you track costs, gift sources and a running budget tally.

Form is not important! Print a free master gift list and tuck it into your Christmas planner. Cyber-savvy holiday planners tap a computer spreadsheet, or register with an online gift-list service to track Christmas gifts over the coming months.

Give your family the best gift of all--a debt-free Christmas--with a Master Gift List!

Master Gift List: A Holiday Shopper's Best Friend