Avoid gift-giving stress by creating a virtual gift drawer

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Oh yeah… I want to give Ariel that glittery dear head for Christmas and hook my dad up with the magnetic mat that I would have totally forgotten about come December!

When I was a kid my mother had a “gift drawer” — a cabinet in our house that she kept as a catch-all for gifts. Whether she needed a present for one of my friend’s birthday parties, a hostess gift, or something to bribe us kids into being good on long road trips or frightening doctor visits, that gift drawer was at the ready.

As an apartment-dwelling adult, I don’t have room for a gift drawer, so I have my gift drawer hack: a virtual gift drawer! It’s basically a bookmark folder called “gifts,” or you could do a secret Pinterest board. I stock it with great gift ideas I stumble on while I’m wandering around the interwebs. So come holiday season, or birthdays, or showers of some sort, I’ve usually already found that great gift ideas for everyone. I simply see a good gift idea, bookmark it, and label it “4 [name]: quick item description” or “hostess gift idea” or “baby showers.” Something I can easily find at a glance. Then, once the occasion arises, it’s just a quick purchase and I’m gift-giving ready.

It’s even helpful for last-minute gift giving because I have Amazon Prime. An event coming up this week that I just learned about? My go-to hostess gift of the Le Creuset jam gift set is here in two days! And, in the meantime, I’m not taking up precious cabinet space with random gifts. Of course, this doesn’t work in REALLY last-minute situations, but it does serve to make the holidays less stressful when I remember, “oh yeah! I already found that perfect gift for my dad.”

What are your gift giving hacks?

Comments on Avoid gift-giving stress by creating a virtual gift drawer

  1. Megan, I do this too! I started it a couple of years ago when I stumbled upon something that would be perfect for my Dad, (who is impossible to shop for!) at a time of the year when there were NO holidays. I didn’t want to just buy it and have it hanging around (where I would either forget about it or forget where I put it (trust me, it’s happened before!)) So I bookmarked it. I have two folders one for stuff I covet, (which now contains a certain jam jar, thanks a lot Megan!) and one for stuff for everyone else. Then when holiday time is approaching, I open the folder, order ALL the things, and have them shipped directly where they need to go (or to my house if I want to wrap/gift personally.)

  2. I should start bookmarking things. I do tend to stockpile little things for my hubby. I use them in case of grumpies, rather like my mum used to stockpile things for rainy days or sick days for me.

    • Dude! I totally need to stockpile bribes for husband-grumpies. Mostly consisting of snickers really, cuz he often gets the grumpies from low blood sugar, but yeah… bribes… I like it.

  3. I do a bit of both.

    If i find something during the year that I know is a great price, or one of a kind, i buy it and stick in under the bed in the spare room with a post it note on it if it’s for someone specific (“Julie – Bday Sept”). I also buy little fun stocking stuffer things all year long – those go in a shopping bag hanging on the inside of our linen closet door. (We play a game every year with lots of ~$5 gifts.)

    I keep track of what’s been purchased, and ideas on a google doc spreadsheet – this year is ‘Christmas 2012’ – but it includes my mom, mother-in-law, husband and brother’s birthdays, because they all chose to be born in December – thanks guys. It has “on hand” columns, everyone’s name, space beside them for ‘Bought’ and ‘Ideas.’ A cost column. Etc Etc.

    I even highlight cells and names when they are ‘finished’ for the season.

    It sounds like work, but you are only adding a thing or two at a time, and i don’t forget i’ve already got something (especially for my online shopping, i put it in when it’s ordered), and if i have an idea in June that doesn’t need to be bought yet, it’s there when i need it.

    Google Docs, I love you.

  4. I have a physical box in the closet at this point — I started it when my husband and I moved into this apartment, since I had a number of things that needed to leave our lives. I’m not much of an online shopper (I need to poke and prod and turn upside-down and shake before I buy something generally), so the bookmark folder wouldn’t do me a whole lot of good, but the box is a definite sanity-saver. For instance, last Christmas, I received two copies of the same cookbook (thanks to multiple copies of my wishlist circulating…), so I put one of them in The Box, and this fall when my husband and I went to his cousin’s wedding (and forgot about giving a gift until less than a week before…), I just pulled out the cookbook and wrapped it! At this point, The Box also has a couple copies of the CD from a chamber choir concert I was in last April — to be given to parents this Christmas.

    • I have the same thing. An extra game of banagrams, any gift I’m given that’s scented (to include candles, lotions, soaps, etc–I’m allergic), second copy of a cook book, etc. It’s been a lifesaver on those occasions when I need a gift and don’t have time to shop.

  5. I do a combination of these things:
    1. Bookmarking some things
    2. Buying some gifts early: When I see the right thing for someone when I’m shopping (not online, but in a physical store/shop), I often go ahead and get it, even if the person’s birthday or the holidays aren’t for a while yet. Either that, or, whenever possible, keep an eye out for it to go on sale. I’ve found that often, if you see in person something that is right for someone and you don’t get it then, you end up regretting it later.
    3. I love Amazon’s Gift Organizer for keeping track of items I’ve found ON Amazon that would be perfect for my gift recipients. In addition to being able to organize by recipient, sometimes its suggestions can lead you to other things that would be good for that person.

  6. I’ve got a gift card box which I use. Throughout the year I’ll buy store gift cards and tuck them away in a little box. It really comes in handy for those times where last minute gifts come in handy. If i have enough time i can always pop into the store to pick something up, or if really pressed for time i can hand over the card, as is.
    I find it really helpful for those times where I have little cash available, like around the holiday season.

  7. Secret Pinterest boards are amazeballs! As soon as I read that sentence I immediately hit Pinterest and created one. Now the people who follow me won’t see what they’re getting! Winning 🙂

  8. Very convenient when you have to give your family a gift list for christmas. I always include a link to the item on Amazon or else where so they’ll know exactly what I mean by ”vintage/industrial metallic fan” or ”round mirror that moves” hehe.

  9. I have Amazon lists for all my top people. Then I use the Amazon Universal Wishlist Button to add things from all over the web to my wishlist for them! This is helpful when my mom says “what would CJ like for xmas?”.

    Also, I have a gift drawer too. General giveable gifts that I pick up on clearance or forgot to give someone. Came in VERY handy when we had a gift exchange and 1 person forgot to bring a gift and 1 person was about to end up pulling her own gift at the end! I ran downstairs and giftbagged 2 girly things and snuck them into the pile just in time!

  10. I do something similar to Andrea, except I use Evernote. I made a note which I called “Presents 2012”, listed the months, and then added in every present occasion that I would be buying for this year (i.e Mum’s birthday, Valentine’s for husband, Father’s Day). When I thought of ideas, or brought things for people I would edit the note to include those details. That way when I was out shopping and saw something perfect for my best friend I could open up Evernote and go “well, I have her birthday present at home already, but this would be perfect for Christmas!”. It really helps me remember what I’ve got in my gift box so I don’t double-up on presents. And since I’ve been doing it all year, I now only have two presents to buy to finish off my Christmas shopping – booyah! ~_^

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