Do you struggle with shopping for gifts each year during the holiday season? Is it more stressful than joyful? Would you like that to change? Then take a few minutes to consider a new approach to your gift-giving and find yourself putting the happy back in your Happy Holidays!
I call this gift-giving approach Target Giving. Simply put, Target Giving uses planning, customization and careful record-keeping to make sure that everyone on your gift list receives a gift they will truly appreciate. In addition, you (the gift-giver) are able to reap the joys of a less hectic, more organized season of giving.
Here’s how Target Giving works:
Grab a spiral notebook or open a new file on your computer. Mark your first page ‘Holiday 2005’ Then list everyone for whom you’ll need to have a gift. Don’t forget the ‘small’ or ‘overlooked’ gifts, such as teacher appreciation gifts, business gifts, etc.
By each name, jot down any quick ideas that come to mind of things that person enjoys. Books, games, lunch out, anything at all. The more brainstorming you do at this stage the easier your shopping will be later on. Add suggestions you may have received throughout the year. Give quick calls or emails to ask family members or other close associates what they know about the gift recipients needs and wants. Pay close attention to dislikes, too, and note any such comments in your notebook/computer file.
Allow a space or insert a column by each name to note when you need to give the gift. Give yourself some leeway and make this date a few days earlier than you actually need. That way you build some flexibility into your schedule. Count up the total number of gifts you will be purchasing and divide by the number of weeks left until you will start delivering them. This will tell you how many gifts per week you need to shop for.
Now jot down on your regular calendar/planner one day a week that you need to look at your Target Gift List and choose two, three, or whatever amount of gifts you need to purchase that week. Write those names in your regular planner or on a shopping list.
– note the gift ideas you have already compiled next to the recipient’s name and choose two or three ideas that you like the most.
– Often a new idea will come to mind during this time. Mark it down, as well.
The point is, this is the time to organize your actions for this task. Spending a few minutes customizing your gift selections at this point can save you real time – sometimes hours – later while shopping.
– Not only is this the point at which many of us lose control of our time management for this task, it’s also the point we shift from giving what we really want (something the recipient will truly appreciate) to giving impulsively whatever jumps off a store display at us.
The main idea here is…>
DON’T GO SHOPPING until you have narrowed down your choices to two or three definite ideas per gift. When you get to the store, if you see something that’s even better, great! In any case, you are prepared to BUY and not just endlessly LOOK.
You get the idea!
Examine your regular schedule and decide when you’re going to shop, where you’re going and what (probably) you’re going to purchase. Then do it!
Target Giving also allows you to take advantage of sales and specials. Because you are focusing on only a small amount of gifts at a time, your brain can easily alert you to appropriate sales notices you naturally come across each week. In this way, you are not only using Target Giving, you are also utilizing Focused Shopping!
A simple tip. Remember to take advantage of all of your options. Making use of lunch time, shopping by catalog or internet, delegating the job to someone more qualified or less busy, are all examples of making use of your resources. You could assign a chunk of the gift shopping this year to your teenager, for example. It’s a great way to learn about budgeting time and money, as well as discovering the joys of giving.
After the gifts are purchased, wrap and label immediately. Include a note (to yourself) on the package reminding you when and where the gift should be given. Mark the day each gift needs to be delivered on your regular calendar; then store until the proper time to give.
Lastly, make sure you note in your Target Giving List what you actually gave each recipient. That way you’ll have a record of gifts in the coming years and can easily prevent duplication.
Using Target Giving, by the time the holidays arrive you will have completed most or a large portion of your gift shopping. Then you can relax and delight in watching your gifts be appreciated, enjoying the blessings of giving!