Christmas Planning In July – Presents

I have traditionally not been one of those organised people who buy up presents at the sales in June or July, but have tended to leave my shopping until November or December. Although I haven’t bought anything at this year’s sales either, I am going to try something a bit different this year and buy more in the lead up than I have done in the past.

I am also working with a very dear friend (and very crafty, check out her site mobble gobble) and we have started making some of our homemade Christmas Gifts. This also is a big change from the usual state of affairs, which sees me working into the wee hours of the morning for a few nights running to get them made before the school term ends in December.

One thing that I have done for a number of years that I have found incredibly helpful in my Christmas Present buying, has been to track all my purchases in an excel spreadsheet. The benefits of this are as follows:

    – I can see how I am tracking to budget.
    – Eliminates me forgetting anyone.
    – Reminds me of what I bought in recent years, so that I don’t purchase a too similar gift.
    – Is a central place where I can note gift ideas for particular people before I forget them.
    – Contains ideas for presents for the children. Relatives often ask me what they would like, and on the spot, I can often not think of things that would interest them most.

Here is a modified version of my spreadsheet: Christmas Presents Excel Tracking Spreadsheet.

I modified the names, some of the actual gifts and the amounts, so as not to give away too much to family and friends! I also realised when I was doing these modifications, that there was a few omissions from the sheet. I have added new names for 2008, people that I have previously given gifts, but somehow have not recorded them. (Means that I was even more over budget!)

Do you buy your Christmas Presents early or are you a last minute shopper?