Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Spreadsheet

Last year Ouiser introduced me to the idea of the holiday spreadsheet. And since EVERY DAMN YEAR I think I'm doing SO good only to realize I still have tons of odds and ends to tie up and buy, I thought I'd give it a try.

We have family and friends all over the country (requiring pre-planning so shipments arrive in time), as well as several birthdays between November and January, so present shopping is even more complicated here.

You guys, you NEED to do this. Christmas Spreadsheet has changed my life. In that same way where the Advent Activities calendar has been a simple way to bring the spirit of Christmas throughout all of December, Christmas Spreadsheet has brought so much calm and simplicity to the season.

The gift giving part truly feels more special because I'm not always remembering who I haven't bought for yet, what I still have to go out and buy, what gift I need to think of, etc. Every single stressful part about presents has been completely removed.

 As a result, I've been done for days now. DAYS. And it's only the 15th. The only things left to finish are the ornaments from Charlotte that I make for our families every year (90% done), and B's homemade birthday present. Do you know how lovely it feels to know that there are ten days left until Christmas and I can mostly just relax, ship a few things, do some craft projects, make some cookies, and enjoy the season?

If you feel a little overwhelmed every year by the holiday season (and seriously, who doesn't?), then you need to implement this and be totally amazed at the results. Let's talk about the details:

You can either make your spreadsheet in Excel or in Google docs. I made mine in Google so that I can have access to it where ever I am. I also kept mine very simple: Person, Gifts, Total Price. Ousier is more elaborate with hers and includes a color coding system for which gifts are wrapped, which are shipped, etc. So go with whatever level of detail you'd like.

All gift ideas are written out and boxes are darkened when the gift has been purchased. I wanted an accurate financial record of everything Christmas related, so I included teacher gifts, Secret Santa gifts, the cost of our annual Christmas card, the amount I spend on craft supplies, etc.

I also found so many good deals on Cyber Monday that I've pre-purchased some birthday presents and even a few of NEXT year's Christmas presents already, so those ended up as side columns as well.

It might not take all of the stress out of your life if you start it now, but it's not too late for this year if you still have shopping to do. Give it a go.


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