Holiday Gifts: How to Stay Tough When Giving Gifts This Holiday Season

parentinghome management

The holidays are right around the corner and the question that everyone asks will soon come up: Who do I have to buy gifts for this year?

Gift giving etiquette is never easy. You want to be generous and give to everyone, but let’s face it, that’s just not realistic.  You have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise you’ll not only break the bank, but you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Christmas present wrapped with a sheet music bow

How to Keep Holiday Gift Giving Under Control

Here are a few tips on how to make it not only easy on yourself when it comes to gifts, but how to make it easy on those who are buying gifts for you and your family.

  1. Unless you truly enjoy gift giving and have the budget to support it, eliminate gift buying for those who don’t reciprocate.
  2. Make a list; check it twice. Maintain a list of the people you buy gifts for every year. Use a spreadsheet so you can track what you bought and how much you spend every year on each person. In addition to your family, don’t forget your hairdresser, housekeeper, nanny, doorman, garage attendant, secretary, teachers, and postal carrier. This will ensure you don’t forget anyone and you have an idea of your budget.
  3. Keep a supply of hostess gifts and gift wrap handy. A bottle of wine is always appropriate and can be put in a pretty bag in seconds.
  4. Give the same gift. If you have a great gift idea, give it to as many people on the list as possible. Originality is overrated.
  5. Consider organizing a Secret Santa or grab bag with set limits for the price of the gifts. It’s infinitely easier on your budget and time to shop for one person than a whole family or office.
  6. Make it easy on others. Be prepared with suggestions when someone asks what you or your kids want as gifts. If you’re at a loss, ask for a gift card. Return the favor and give gift cards whenever possible.

What do you do to simplify the gift giving process and stay in budget during the holidays?

Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle.  Barbara’s book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom”  will be on shelves in February 2013.   To find more tips from Barbara, please visit or or @BarbaraReich.


Picture courtesy of Flickr

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