If you are familiar with this program, you know that everything I do is aimed at making your life at home easier, more peaceful, and more enjoyable.

This is especially necessary at Christmas!

One of the biggest sources of stress is the daunting task of finding thoughtful and affordable gifts for everyone on your list. We would love to give with a cheerful heart, but it’s hard to feel that way when there are so many obstacles to overcome.

Home On Purpose to the rescue!

I will walk you through the top three obstacles to successful gift giving and offer effective strategies for lightening the workload. I am also including a FREE TEMPLATE PACKAGE to make things even easier for you.

The more you identify and clear away the obstacles beforehand, the more you can enjoy the magic of the season.

OBSTACLE #1: Choosing successful gifts.

I have a total of ten nieces and nephews, and it’s not easy to remember all of their ages off the top of my head. Plus, as they grow and change, it’s hard to keep track of the things they like. That’s why, as nerdy as it sounds, I actually keep a chart.

I’m passing along my GIFT GIVING PLANNER to you!

Print a copy for each side of your family, and list every friend or relative you buy gifts for. Next to each name is a space to write anything significant to remember. You might list the target spending amount, or past preferences. For the children in our family, I list their birthday and year so I can always calculate exactly how old they are.

In the biggest column, you can brainstorm gift ideas while you shop. When the gift is bought, cross out the other ideas, record how much you spent, and put a big check next to the name.

After Christmas is over, I like to store the chart in the wrapping paper bin, so I can refer to it any time I need to give someone a gift.

With the chart as a guide, I never have to worry about forgetting someone, over spending, under spending, or buying a six-year-old gift for a nine-year-old nephew. The result? Shopping is so much more fun!

OBSTACLE #2: Keeping track of receipts.

No matter how thoughtful you are about choosing the best gifts, or how hard your relatives try to get things that your family likes, someone is bound to return something. Nobody enjoys having to sheepishly ask someone for a gift-receipt.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to cut down on all of this awkwardness.

In the templates package is a set of labels. Just grab two manila envelopes and label one of them GIFTS RECEIVED and the other GIFTS GIVEN.

Every time you buy a gift for someone else, ask for two gift receipts. One goes in the box with the gift, so they don’t have to ask you for it, and the extra goes in my envelope, just in case. Similarly, every time you receive a gift, pop the receipt in the other envelope.

This system doesn’t take care of everything, of course, but it does save you from searching in all the boxes and cards to find a receipt that you may or may not even have.

Instead, you’ll be able to confidently say, “If we have it, it’s in this envelope.”

Side note: If you want some ideas for how to keep track of gift cards, check out this Intentionalize video on our YouTube playlist!

OBSTACLE #3: Writing thank-you notes.

One of the best things we can do for our children during Christmas is teach them how to express sincere gratitude. How many times have you promised yourself, “This year I’m going to make the kids write thank you notes for everything!” But when the dust settles, you can’t remember who gave which kid which gift, and you realize how long it takes them to write all of those sentences nicely.

The last two templates in the set ease this burden beautifully!

Print one copy of the GIFT TRACKER for each of your kids. If you expect a large number of gifts, you might use a separate tracker for each side of the family.

Every time they get a present in the mail, record it in the tracker. Take the papers with you to your family celebrations, and keep the record updated as gifts are opened one at a time. Think of the way a maid of honor does this for the bride during her shower.

The day after Christmas, when wrapping paper is everywhere, and all the toys are mixed up, you will be so relieved to have those trackers!

As for the thank you notes themselves, all you have to do is print out the THANK YOU POST CARDS on thick card-stock paper and you’re set! For younger kids, I have included a fill-in-the-blank version to keep the writing minimal.

Note, these are updated from last year’s to be the correct size. All you need is postage!

Let’s put all of these strategies together and see what happens . . .

  • The pressure is lifted from shopping as you know who you still need to buy for, how old they are, what the budget is, and you’ve already brainstormed ideas.
  • When someone has to return or exchange something, you’ll feel better knowing all the receipts are safe and easy to find.
  • When it’s time to write thank you notes, you’ll know exactly who gave what to whom, and your kids will appreciate having easy to use postcards.

Some people are under the impression staying organized makes life more rigid, but the opposite is true!

This year, let these templates blast through the obnoxious obstacles and keep the joy in your Christmas gift exchange.

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