The Art of Love & Money Christmas Shopping red glittery ornament on tree

Christmas List Budget & Shopping

Have you started your Christmas/Holiday Shopping yet?

If you have – good for you!

If you  not, I got you covered.

Making The List

Download the Christmas Shopping List & Budget and fill in the spreadsheet for your family’s buying needs. Determine much you will spend on each person.  We tend to assign categories of people a specific number – parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces and nephews all have a dollar amount attached to that category.

Another day,  sit down as a couple/family and fill in gift ideas.  If you have kids in your house, you can include them on the planning and shopping for relatives – especially if it’s a cousin close to their age or if they have a special bond with Grandma, etc.  It’s really important that we give our children the joy of giving to others – and not just receiving stacks on stacks on stacks.

I made this list back when the kids were younger and shopping for them was a BIG deal.  I mean, you HAD to get Christmas just right, it was everything.  You can filter it out so that the kids are hidden & print two separate lists.  One for you and one for Santa.  This was super helpful to me when I was trying to balance the needs of  multiple kids getting the same number of packages and equal(ish) spending.

Checking it Twice

The list gives you an opportunity to decide who you are buying for, how much their budget is, what you will be buying for them and what store you will need to get it.

The Christmas Shopping List & Budget also allows you to update your budget as you go.  After each shopping day, update the list.  If you go over budget on someone by $35 you’ll have to account for that out of another recipient’s budget (or another category)  in order to stay on track.  This could easily be accounted for in a sale.  If you have someone budgeted for a Hoodie- $50, and it’s on sale for $35 – win-win.

The Perfect Gift

For me, gift giving is all about finding someone something they will LOVE, it doesn’t have to cost the full budget price – it just has to be under that number and have a value that is around that number.

The best part of this list is in the archiving.  Next year it will take you even less time, because you’ll save this one as Christmas 2017, and next year you’ll keep Christmas 2017, and save as Christmas 2018.  The beauty is in looking back over the years – did we already buy her a crock pot?  Oh, remember the year we gave all the niece and nephews hoodies?  They loved that.

Shopping Plan of Attack

Plan out your shopping.  Maybe you like to split it up and spread it out throughout the month.  Smart!  We did this when our kids were younger.  We took turns staying home with the kids, doing dinner, homework, and bath nights while the other shopped for our people on the list.  Now that our kids are older, Christmas shopping is not as consuming and I’d rather get it done in large chunks.

Last year, my husband and I laid out all of our shopping to knock it out in one day.  We planned the sheet out ahead of time and then set out for breakfast at a local restaurant (what a TREAT!) and a plan of attack.

We then went to the stores, divided and conquered.

We didn’t get it all done in one day,  but we had fun trying.  Next time – we’ll add in a movie at the end of the night.

This method works best if you have a sitter for the day or the little ones are with grandparents.

Of course, online shopping is where it’s at.  If you can sit at your computer over lunch or cuddled up on the couch after bedtime click-click-clicking – that’s the sweet spot!

Just update the spreadsheet every now and then so you don’t blow the budget.  It’s hard to know what you are really spending when you have so much to buy and the purchases and the packages at the door just keep coming.

There is no right or wrong way – just have a plan and get it done so that you can enjoy your holiday season.  Break your Holiday to-do’s into manageable chunks that fit in around your celebrations – without stealing your joy.

Do What You Love

You might need to say no to some things.  That’s okay.  Decide early on what you love about the season, what you can  tolerate, and what really grates on your nerves.  Plan your calendar accordingly and try your best to eliminate the things that are not joyful.

Save for Christmas Year-Round

It can be shocking to see how much you actually spend on Christmas.  If you don’t already use a Christmas savings account, take this as an opportunity to set up an account that automatically drafts from your checking account to a savings account.

I like to use Capitol One 360, formerly ING Direct, because you can nickname the separate accounts – the accounts aren’t just a series of numbers.  There is something very satisfying about having an account with Christmas or New Car – Don’t Touch.

Divide the budgeted amount by 12 and set that amount to draft to savings automatically.

Example:  Budget is $1200.  Each month $100 is drafted to your Christmas savings account.  You can also do it twice per month if you’d prefer to draft $50 every two weeks instead.

I hope that you find this download useful and that my shopping tips can be helpful to you.  Above all else, I wish you happiness & contentment this Holiday season.  I know it can be stressful, and that it’s not a jolly time of year for everyone.  Give yourself permission to do what is joyful for you – whatever that may mean.

Spend Time Together

Christmas should not be about the gifts, so if the gifts have you feeling stressed – let everyone know you’re cutting back this year but you’d love to spend time with them.  Go to a movie or have a game night at your house.  Drive around to look at Christmas lights or walk through a decorated parkway, followed by a hot chocolate in a coffee shop.

It may seem scary to do that – but I bet you’ll look back on it as a great Christmas.

If you have really little children – I think it’s totally fine to get their gifts at a Goodwill store.  Clean them up and lay them out magically under the tree.

Take Action

ACTIONABLE STEPS:  Download the Christmas Shopping List & Budget and fill in the spreadsheet for your family’s buying needs and how much you will spend on each person.

Pick a day you can sit down and fill in the gift giving ideas and budget numbers.

Plan out your shopping trips.  Shop ’til ya drop.

Merry & Bright Christmas!