Organized for Christmas: Task #1 Gift Planner & Budget

Okay friends, yes I did just use the word Christmas in an October blog title. But we already have snow here so it seems perfectly natural ๐Ÿ™‚


Now doesn’t that just get you in the holiday spirit? Ha! Okay so in all seriousness October really is when I start preparing for Christmas, regardless of whether or not it’s snowing outside. Although it usually is. I live in northern Canada after all, it’s hard to avoid. Plus there is only like 73 days till Christmas so it’s not as early as it seems.

I like to start planning early so the chaos and stress don’t come at me all at once threatening to suck the life (and fun!) right out of me during the holidays. I hate the feeling of overwhelm and have learned over the years some things I can do ahead of time to avoid letting overwhelm be the star of the show. Nope, overwhelm can just take its little tush and hit the road. It’s not welcome to celebrate with me…swoosh….that’s me kicking it to the curb. Get out of here.

If you too are fed up with feeling overwhelmed each year during the holidays then join me over the next couple of months (73 days!) as I share some simple practical weekly (ish) assignments that will hopefully allow you as well to kick your not so nice friend, overwhelm, out the door. Swoosh….goodbye!

I know you’ve heard plenty of times that the way to holiday bliss is to simply do less stuff, attend less parties, buy less things, do less projects, etc but I’m not going to tell you that. Do I think doing less will help? Of course and you already know it too I’m sure. But it’s the holidays after all and there are just so many great things to be a part of like parties and caroling and family and seeing our kid’s faces light up when they open the best gift ever. I mean sometimes it’s just so hard to say no and other times there are just commitments we can’t get out of even if we wanted to.


So what I’m going to do during this series is stick to some practical organizing tips that can help you make sense logistically of all there is to do. Hopefully the advance preparation will help you free up some precious time in December, to perhaps give you some breathing room to simply relax if that is what you desire or maybe some time to attend another party or two without worrying about everything else. We all have the same 24 hours each day to spend and that is going to look different for everyone. The choice is yours. I’m just here to help you maximize that time so you can spend it however you wish ๐Ÿ™‚

Organized for Christmas: Task #1 Gift Planner and Budget at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Assignment #1: Gift Planner

I like to start buying gifts now in order to be done by the beginning of December. Having this huge task out of the way early has all kinds of benefits:

  • you can save money by shopping the sales and getting some great deals
  • you can order online and not have to worry about shipping deadlines
  • you have a better chance of the items you want being in stock
  • you can avoid crowds and lines (yes please!)
  • you free up much needed time during the holidays for other fun things
  • you’ll reduce your stress during the holidays with less to worry about

Doesn’t that sound great? Of course to facilitate early gift buying you need a plan, a budget and a hiding spot. Today is all about the plan and the budget. I manage both areas very easily with one app. The gift planner app is called The Christmas List (no affiliation), some of you will remember me mentioning it last year.

The Christmas List - an awesome gift planner app that will help you facilitate and make easier your gift buying process!

Just add the names and set budget for everyone on your list and then track items purchased as you go along. You can even take a picture of items you are thinking about buying or have already bought to remind yourself. I love the budgeting component as itโ€™s so easy to go over otherwise. Oh and if you have a terrible memory like I do, the app will allow you to archive your entire list each year so you can go back to see what you bought. No more duplicate gifts! And donโ€™t worry about sneaky kids, you can set a password to get in.ย  Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod and Android too.

This Weeks To Do List

Download and Set Up Gift Planner App:

Download and set up a budgeting and gift buying app on your phone. It doesn’t have to be the one above, find any one that works for you. And of course pen and paper still works well too. Here are a few free printables for you to use if you want.

Free Printable Holiday Gift Planner ~ @ Lia Griffith
Free Christmas Shopping List ~ @ Eclectic Affinity

Create Groups and Add Names:

In the app, group together the various people you have to buy gifts for…for instance I set up groups as follows: family, friends, husband, kids, teachers, etc. List each person under the appropriate group name.

Set a Budget:

For each person set a limit for how much you want to spend.

Add Purchased Gifts:

If you’ve already purchased some things (yay you!) then go ahead and add each item and what it cost. The app will automatically keep track of what you are spending per person and as a whole overall. The first time I used the app, this was eye opening for me!

Add Gift Ideas:

Bonus points! If you have the time, type in some gift ideas you might have for the people on your list. You can tag a particular store so that when you are out shopping you can open the app, click on the stores tab at the bottom of the app and then the store you are in and it will give you a list of the gifts you wanted to look for there. Huge time saver.

I promise you this won’t take very long and I’m giving you a week to get your gift planner list set up. One assignment will build on the next and I’ll try to keep each of them as manageable as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try and help! Next week we’ll set up our gift storage space.

Let’s make this Christmas one to remember and enjoy….stress free. Swoosh!

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Filed under: Holidays


9 Responses to Organized for Christmas: Task #1 Gift Planner & Budget

  1. 1
    Rynn Ziller says

    So, I’m wanting to sign up to get your emails and I clicked the link at the top of this post. It says that you’ve turned off the ability to sign up for emails. Is there another way to get your post sent to me regularly?

    • 1.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much for letting me know. I need to make sure to fix that! Here is the link to sign up to my emails. I have a couple of options for you which you’ll see….an email each day a new post goes up, one weekly email of all the posts and then Org Junkie extras for subscriber specials ๐Ÿ™‚ You can choose one or all three or a combination. Thank you!!

  2. 2
    Pamela says

    Love that y’all are helping us with Christmas. I already have a planner and I am close to being finished shopping, but this will still be of great help. Looking forward to more posts. Thank you….

  3. 3
    Judi James says

    Oh my! I just downloaded the app for android and I am in heaven. Thank you for your post. I love my lists, both paper and digital, especially when I am out and about shopping. This will be so handy and perhaps this year I might even get them wrapeed as I shop and not all in one shot lol.

    • 3.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Oh you just made my day, yay! I’m so glad you like it, here’s to an organized Christmas!!!

    • 3.2
      Tammie Dame says

      Hi Judi, I was trying to find the app for my android can you tell me the name of the app thanks.

      • Judi James says

        It is called “Christmas Gift List” by engApps.
        I had trouble finding it when I first did a search on Google Play.

        • tammie dame says

          thanks for your help. cant wait to get started

  4. 4
    Mary Johnson says

    Okay, it is January right now – just found your site.

    Our Christmas budget is $100 – $25 check each to my niece and nephew in their mid 20s. $25 gift each for husband’s nieces – currently 7 and 15 years old

    If he sees something he will buy it – this year he bought himself a pair 99c virtual reality glasses. I blew $4 on a Louisa May Alcott book I had not seen before and $3 on a teddy bear that I have been looking at for maybe 10 years – store is going out of business and it finally came into the price I would/could pay for it, this is unusual, normally I don’t get any gifts for anything.

    That’s it – all the gifts we buy.


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