Planning what to give everyone doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Make presents an easier part of the holidays with these brilliant Christmas Gift planning tips and ideas.
Christmas presents are one of the biggest categories to get sorted out in the run up to Christmas. Whether it be knowing what to buy (and for whom), planning your gift budget, or knowing when to send everything so it gets there in time – there’s a LOT to organise.
In the UK – we spend on average £363 per person on presents – with 1 in 12 spending over £800.
It’s big business – and we want to get it right for the least amount of fuss possible.
So – how can we make the whole process easier, not only on our wallets, but also on our time and energy commitments at an already busy time of year?
That’s where these tips come in!
Christmas Gift Planning Tips to Try
Growing up, we always opened our Christmas presents late into Christmas Day – going into the evening.
This was because we tended to do something in the morning (Church, or volunteering at the local hospital), then have Christmas Dinner, and THEN sit down together to enjoy the unwrapping.
My parents also made us open a present at a time, watching each other opening as well.
Yes, it took AGES (there were 3 kids in our house, plus my 2 parents) – but it felt much more special to take our time over it all.
I relished looking under the Christmas tree, and loved the expectation that’s (let’s face it) often the best bit of presents anyway!!!
As such, I try and make the most of presents even as an adult – and I do the same things with my own family.
We love it!
When you make gifts a treasured part of the day – planning the gifts is even more important – as you want to get it right! – so here are my top tips to help…
Tips for buying Christmas Presents
Plan what to buy
Sounds like a simple task, but it can be missed so often. We go out to the shops with no shopping list and then either get overwhelmed by the choice, or end up spending too much on things that actually aren’t that great.
It’s worth taking some time up front to plan who you are buying for, gift ideas for that person, and a Christmas budget to stick to (that Christmas fund ISN’T infinite…).
Buy things as you see them
Don’t wait until a designated Christmas shopping day – as this adds a lot of unnecessary pressure.
If you see things at ANY time of the year that would make the perfect gift for someone, then get it there and then.
You may not remember what you saw at a later date, or there may be a delivery delay when you DO get round to ordering it, or it may be out of stock or a higher price etc.. – so why run the risk?
You’ll also thank your past self when you get nearer to the festivities and you’re already able to tick off lots of gifts and you have less shopping to do as a result.
Buy extra Christmas presents
I know, I know – surely buying what’s already on your list is enough. But what happens when someone unexpected turns up on Christmas Eve, or you inadvertently forget someone you needed to buy for?
Having a small stash of presents can be really handy. Making them non-specific but thoughtful enough is a great idea, as they can be used in many situations throughout the year if not used for Christmas.
Things like candles, chocolates, gift vouchers / a gift card, wine etc… can all be wrapped beautifully and will be really appreciated.
Having some extras means you can relax, safe in the knowledge that every eventuality has been covered!
Make a note of what you buy
This is one of my favourite tips, because it means you can look back over the years and see what you’ve already bought for that person previously.
This stops the dreaded duplication – and is especially useful when buying for children, as it’s all too easy to get the same sorts of things if you don’t track them.
I always keep a note in my Christmas Planner so this doesn’t happen.
Have a theme
I love the idea of having a theme for Christmas present shopping each year.
For instance – for every family you may buy a movie night hamper with a film, popcorn etc… in. For every woman you may buy a candle, and for every man a set of toiletries. The next year you can change the category and start again.
This means you get to shop in a more streamlined way. Another great idea is to have a theme for every age of children – so each year they get something age appropriate, but you don’t have to think about it as much. i.e a T shirt, a book, a voucher, a cuddly toy etc…
The beauty of this is there are plenty of options within each category to still be quite personal with your choices, but you already narrow down the choice of gift so you know what you’re looking for.
Use the 4 gift rule to keep present numbers down
These are great rules to show kids that they can have presents, but not everything on their list.
It’s also a good way to get your loved ones the things that they need as well! (What is the 4 gift rule? – Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read)
Tips for Planning Your Christmas Gift Budget
Don’t just budget for the gift itself
Budget not only for presents, but also any delivery costs to your home AND delivery/wrapping costs to get it to the recipient. It all adds up.
Have a set amount to spend on each person
And know what that should include. Keep a running total if you tend to buy little things as and when you see them – it adds up quickly.
Check with friends and family whether a budget could be used
To limit spending AND guilt that they may buy more than you etc… We have a pretty large family and for several years had a budget per person of £15 which meant no crazy gifting involved!
We could team up to buy larger presents between us, but everyone felt happier with this. Other ideas are: only buying for the children in a family, buying a family a present as a whole, or doing a Secret Santa and everyone having one larger present only.
All these ideas can really keep costs down overall, but still create lots of fun.
It will make things more personal and potentially save some money on presents. You could do something based around a skill you have, and the recipient will be over the moon with the extra thought and care involved.
Things like cookies in a jar, a voucher for something you can do for them (babysitting for new parents, for example), a plant you have grown etc.. are all great ideas.
Tips for wrapping Christmas Presents
Wrap as you buy
It’s a lot less overwhelming to wrap one or two presents at a time, and then store them away until you need them rather than wait until you have to wrap them all in one go.
You’ll also be able to more easily hide things from your own family if they are already wrapped (unless they are an obvious shape, of course!).
Put all toys together before wrapping
Unless you have an urge to spend Christmas Day building a toy castle, searching for batteries, or worse, dealing with tears when all the pieces for something aren’t there… etc… – it will pay you to make the items before hand.
This is your gift to yourself when Christmas Day comes around and you can watch the kids playing with the toys happily instead!
Buy different wrapping paper
You may be buying for kids AND adults – and also wrapping on behalf of Santa – so it makes sense to have a few different wrapping papers ready so that it doesn’t all look the same….
Save by using brown paper
I LOVE wrapping with brown parcel paper and then adding ribbons, stamps, tags etc.. to make them look great. It’s cheaper but looks gorgeous!
Use last years Christmas cards as gift tags
A quick and easy recycling hack that works brilliantly! I like cutting the tags with a cutter so you get lovely shapes as well.
Tips for sending Christmas Presents
Save on postage costs by buying light
It doesn’t make sense to spend more than absolutely necessary on postage, especially when on a budget.
As such, make sure you know which presents you’ll be posting, and brainstorm gifts that will post more easily. You can also group gifts together in one parcel if sending to the same address.
Gifts like gift cards, clothing, prints (ready to frame), DVDs and soft furnishings such as cushions all work well.
Make sure things are post-able
Make sure they’re NOT breakable! Why make life harder than it needs to be!?
Know when to send gifts
Make sure you’re aware of last posting dates for all the countries you need to be sending to, and write this deadline down (ideally write down a week in advance so you have a little wriggle room!)
Think about who you’ll be seeing even a couple of months prior to Christmas
And get their presents ready ahead of time. This will save you lots on postage, and get some of your gifting well and truly out of the way.
Send presents in the right order
Start with people you’ll see earlier, then go onto people that live further away and need theirs posting earlier, and finish with those you’ll see after Christmas.
It doesn’t make sense to prioritise those you won’t see until Boxing day over those you’re seeing for a party on the 12th December, for example.
Send as much as you can 2nd Class to save on postage more easily!
This means making sure you remember the postal dates.
Tips for helping others know what to buy for christmas you and your family
Make it easy by getting the family to write wish lists.
This will mean that you can easily see what they want, and give ideas based on peoples budgets. You can also keep track of what they are getting so there is less chance of duplication.
I love using Pinterest for wish lists – as you can make these available to other people, and it saves the links to the shops etc… as well (top tip – you can also use Pinterest to create your shopping lists for gifts as well!)
Tips for after you’ve opened your Christmas presents
Write a thank you list as you unwrap gifts
This helps you not forget anyone, or anything – when it comes to writing your thank you letters. Also important for your children when it comes to writing their thank yous!
Write thank you’s ASAP
Why leave it until January? This is a harder time of year to get extra things done with school and work starting again and the day to day routine taking over.
There usually a bit of downtime between Christmas and New Year that works well – when everything is still fresh in your mind.
Copy kids thank you’s
If your kids are like most, then writing several thank you cards will feel like an uphill battle.
I LOVE what my best friend taught me to do through her own children – which is to get your children to draw a lovely picture, and then write something like “ dear……… I hope you had a lovely Christmas. We had a great time because……… Thank you for my ……. I absolutely loved it – lots of love from xxxxx”.
Then simply photocopy enough to send one to everyone – and fill in the blanks. Personal – but easier – aaaand relax!
I have a blank printable thank you letter for the kids to use in my Christmas Planner – take a look at everything else you get as well HERE.
Hope these Christmas gift planning tips will help you pick some great presents
Presents that are within a decent budget, and delivered on time this festive season.
Doing a little Christmas planning up front can really pay dividends each and every holiday season.
And if you want even more tips (including these ones) then why not grab the FREE Christmas Tips eBook – CLICK HERE to get your copy now.