Keeping Track of Christmas Gifts

Keeping Track of Christmas Gifts

by Charlotte Siems

The amount of gifts people buy for Christmas and other holidays varies with their family traditions, family size and season of life. We do a somewhat “lite” version of gift-giving at Christmas, but our sheer numbers make for quite a production.

With six sons, six daughters, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren we have to have a system for keeping track of the shopping and wrapping. This is the pen-and-paper system we’ve used for many years:

On a legal pad everyone’s name is written and underlined in columns with several lines between vertically. Underneath each name, symbols are written, one on each line, with the following meanings:

* stocking gifts (small things like lip gloss or a mini-flashlight)

# Santa gift (their “big” gift)

— regular gift, usually one or two

This list is filled in as gifts are purchased, placing the item next to the appropriate symbol.

If we know what we’re going to get and it isn’t bought yet, the item is listed. When the item is purchased, it is highlighted with yellow. When the item is wrapped, it is highlighted with another color on top of the yellow.

Married children receive only a stocking with small gifts inside.

All of the children and in-laws draw names for each other so nobody has to buy 20 gifts. Who they draw is kept a secret until Christmas Eve, when they open their Sibling Gifts. The main gifts are opened on Christmas morning. 

Whatever system you choose for keeping track of gifts, keep it simple. Our gift list sheet is folded into quarters and kept in my purse through the season. It usually gets re-copied at least once since things get crossed off and rearranged. You might choose to use a smartphone app for this list, but for us, old holiday traditions die hard.

Happy shopping (and wrapping)!

What’s your system for keeping track? Share it with us by leaving a comment below….

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One Comment

  1. I use the pen and paper method, too! And since I also shop for the gifts that my children’s grandparents give them, I add those purchases to the list columns. I shop all year long – we exchange gifts with each side of the extended famliy as well. That gets to be alot, I confess. Does anyone have tips on how to suggest that we discontinue such a tradtion??

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