With all the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc to celebrate in the family, it can be hard to keep track of all the gift giving. One trick that has helped me to (hopefully!) be a more thoughtful gift-giver is to keep an on-going record of gift ideas and gifts I’ve given. Having this information organized gives me a great starting point when the birthdays roll around.
I’ve created a document in excel (password protected, of course) to help me. The doc has three pages with all the names of those we give gifts to running along the top row of each page. Here’s a peek at how I organize it.
First Page: Gifts Given
(I had to blur these out so that no-one in the family peeks!)
Down the first column are the gift-worthy events of the year, starting with the current year and repeating back to 2006 when I began. This way I can look down the list and see all the gifts we’ve given a particular person, so that I don’t give anyone the same thing twice. It also serves as a fun record of our life that we enjoy looking back at!
If I won’t be buying a certain gift for a certain person (example, sister won’t be getting a father’s day gift) I put an x in the spot. That helps me see how many gifts I have left to get this year.
Second page: Ideas
When I talk to family members I listen in case they mention any needs, wants, things they love, new hobbies, etc. On the ideas page I have different categories listed with general information about the person’s favorites. Below that I add a whole list of ideas for each person as I think of them during the year. When its time for a birthday, I can peruse the list of info and then have a big list of ideas to pull from.
When I hear someone talk about a random thing that they dislike (something that I would have considered buying for them) I write it down here. Or if I hear that they own something I may have wanted to give them, I make a note. If I learn that they don’t have pierced ears, or got rid of their video game console, or have stopped eating chocolate, etc. it all goes here so that I don’t accidentally get them something they don’t want or can’t use.