I had a query about how i prepare for Christmas-- when i start working on things, how i get organized etc. I thought this just might appeal to someone else so am drafting my response in the form of a blogpost.
First of all this is me we're talking about, so a spreadsheet looms large in this conversation. I actually now use google docs and have a gift giving spreadsheet that has data in in for the last 5 years. I have everyone listed in column A that i give gifts to. Then a new set of columns each year that detail my ideas, where i think the gift will come from, the budget for that person and the actual amount i spent on them. I color code them as i make progress on the list, bright green when they're all done, yellow when they're in-process or part-way done and white when they're not done at all.
Just to give some scope to my list versus your own gift needs, i have 28 rows on my spreadsheet. This includes the shopping i do for family and a few friends, as well as the gifts i buy for the kids on behalf of family that sends us money.
I generally start thinking about gift ideas for folks sometime in September. I do very little shopping at this point but begin mapping out ideas i have for each person on my list. More and more i strive for a mix of handmade and purchased gifts. I put a lot of thought into what each person would like. I use a combined method of asking for gift lists and then just thinking about what i know about that person, their interests, their taste-- and what i've been inspired by. I spend a fairly substantial chunk of time looking around on etsy and save ideas i have for others in my favorites.
I keep hand-written lists in a small notebook of all the hand-made projects i'm working on. I got underway with those by the beginning of November and have tried to work steadily on them in the evenings and during naptime on the weekends. I tend to cluster my purchased spending online, and do it right around Thanksgiving. There are great sales, still plenty of time to have things shipped, and then i can cross all my purchased gifts off my list and focus on what i'm still working away on by hand.
I can't reveal pictures of what i'm making this year because i don't want to spoil the surprise, but i'm making sure to take pictures of everything as i complete my projects so i can have a big handmade holiday wrap-up post!
How do you organize your gift-giving?