Christmas is Coming: Have a Plan

Having a plan can makes things go smoother. If you are going on vacation you plan ahead so that you can enjoy your trip and not lose precious time, if you are having a baby you make plans as to where you wan to give birth and who you want to be your doctor, if you are having a dinner party you plan your menu and guest list. Planning for Christmas is no different! Here are a few ways our family plans ahead for Christmas.

1. Have a budget

You and your husband must decided for yourselves what works for you. Every one has a different financial and family situation. But make a plan. Have a list of who you need to buy for and set a dollar amount that you will spend for each person(the amount for each person may vary depending on your relationship and the situation). And remember, this is not a popularity contest. Don’t worry about what your sister-in-law is going to spend on your mom. You choose an amount that works for you. Don’t let your pride send you into debt or starvation. 🙂

2. Save for Christmas

Not only does setting a budget help you while shopping for your gifts, but it can also help you plan all year long. We set aside a certain amount from our pay check each week to go into our “gift fund”. We also are sometimes blessed with extra jobs or love gifts from others, and we sometimes put portions of that in our gift fund. This year all the money that we made at our garage sale went into the gift fund. This fund is what pays for birthday gifts, shower gifts, and yes, Christmas gifts. By planning ahead we don’t have to stress over how we are going to pay for Christmas when December rolls around. We also don’t have to worry about credit card bills overwhelming us when January comes knocking. Less stress means a more enjoyable holiday season.

3. Buy all year long

The last couple years I have been pretty much done with our Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. Part of that is due to the fact that I shop year round. When you have a gift fund in place it is easy to pick up gifts here and there when you find something on a great sale or see that “perfect” gift for someone on your list. By buying all year long you have more opportunity to take advantage of  those sales and clearances. I also usually go shopping the day after Christmas each year when the sales are really great and pick up several gifts for the next year.

4. Make a list

Making a Christmas list can help keep your organized. I have a list on my computer, and each year I add another page and start that year’s list. Not only do I stay better organized when I can quickly look and see who I still to need to buy for, but I also can look back at the previous years to see what gifts we gave in the past. It’s nice to know that you gave Great Grandpa Fred a red sweater last Christmas so that you don’t give him a red sweater again this year.

On my list I have each person that we need to buy for. Then I have “ideas” by their name in green. This way if I have a great idea one day, or some one gives me a wish list, I can have that right in one spot. When I actually purchase something, then I write that next to their name in red. This color coding system is something that works well for me and helps sat on top of things. You might find something else works better for you. Whatever system you use, keeping a list of those you need to buy for can help you stay organized, not purchase more than you need, and not forget someone (which of course leads to last minute stress, which is of course what we are trying to avoid! 🙂 ).

And don’t forget, the purpose of gift giving is for the enjoyment of both the giver AND the receiver. Choosing a thoughtful and useful gift will bring more pleasure than an over the top expensive gift that you give because you felt obligated. Remember, Christmas is a time to celebrate with others the GREATEST GIFT ever given, our Lord Jesus Christ. Being a good steward of our time and finances is one way we can bring honor to Him and enjoy this season of celebration!

*Be looking  tomorrow for my next post in this series “Christmas is Coming: Frugal Gift Ideas”.

1 Comment

  1. August 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    […] you missed the first three posts in this series you can read them here, here, and […]

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