Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Little Black Book

Keeping up with Christmas shopping for a family of 12 is no easy endeavor!  Although, we strive to keep Christmas spending and gift-giving at a modest level, it is still a big undertaking to organize the shopping for so many.  We usually give three to five presents per person, and try to stick to a budget of no more than $75 per child.  With some careful shopping and taking advantage of the holiday sales, this is entirely feasible.

But, it's still a lot to manage.  Do the math -- 10 children times 5 gifts each is 50 presents to shop for, wrap, and put under the tree!  I have been known to hide a present somewhere and not realize it was missing until after all the presents were opened on Christmas Day!  :o

So, how do I keep up with it all?  Enter my Little Black Book!


Each year in late November or early December, I take my book and write each person's name at the top of a page.   Then, I jot down ideas for that person whenever I think of something or hear them mention an item they would like or need.  Then, I make a note of each item purchased and the price.  At the bottom of each page, I keep a running tally of the total number of gifts bought and the total amount of money spent.  This helps me keep on track and keep everything as equitable as possible.  When the present is wrapped, I indicate that on my list, as well.  This (hopefully) keeps me from forgetting to wrap anything!

In most cases, the children receive 3 to 5 gifts.  At times, they have asked for something more expensive, which means they might only receive one large gift, and perhaps some little something to go with it.  An example of this is a new bike, camera, or MP3 player.  Their gifts usually include a toy or game or something fun, along with a book or two, and new clothing items, either fun or purely practical.  It may not be particulary fun to get new socks or undies for Christmas, but if you need them badly enough, they are appreciated!  :)

I always take my little black book with me when shopping for handy reference.  I also include notes on sizes and colors in my notebook, so that I have everything I need in one place.  My current notebook also has a pocket in it, which is convenient for keeping receipts.

What about you?  Do you have a system for keeping track of your Christmas gifts??


Mrs. Stam said...

Socks are the best gift ever!!!! and when you have 14 inlaws and each get you a pair of sock well you are all set until next year :-)

Samantha said...

We have six, do something similar, and spend $50 on each, and add a couple group gifts. Maybe I should get some socks too!!

busymomof10 said...

Sometimes we do group gifts too -- and just subtract the needed amount from each individual. Two years ago we got a Wii and last year we added the Wii Fit. I highly recommend that as a great gift that the entire family can enjoy!!

Noel said...

substitute an itouch (my second brain)for the black book and a bath and body works bag to hold all those receipts and we're in the same boat! With three kids though my boat's alot smaller. Good ideas!

tlmalcolm said...

I keep a chart on my computer. I have trouble keeping track of receipts so now I try to write on the receipt before I even leave the store with the name of who its for and even what the gift is. It is overwhelming even for a small family and I can't imagine keeping track of yours. My mom started a tradition we call The Care Package years and years ago. It contained socks, undies, pjs etc so now I continue that tradition in my family. It wouldn't be Christmas with out new socks and undies!!:) Plus my grandmother always gave new dishrags and dish towels so I find myself doing the same thing...this year however I found some great microfiber towels for the kitchen and have already passed them out to friends and family!!

Rebecca's Refining said...

I always put socks (and sometimes undies) in stockings! :)Somehow those are always needed....I'm not sure why, but they seem to disappear. I like to put hair accesories there too, and cheap jewelry items.

I tend to hide things I purchase throughout the year, and often find something when cleaning out my closet or the basement....well after Christmas...or birthdays!

We usually buy one or two items per child. Also, unless we buy a "family item", the children draw names and give to each other ..(however, with the exception of those with a job, the money comes from mama so we keep those to under $15.)

I have tried to keep a "gift idea list" myself, but my problem is not writing it down right away! I tend to think I can remember something so important, but I find I can not!

primitive ole frugal mumma said...

Yes we give socks and underwear in stockings, and we used to give bigger pressie's for christmas but it becomes to much more so since having our 4th baby 3 years ago now only one income we tend to spend more on a birthday gift now since they are more spaced out over the year and less on christmas ..after all it's about spending time with loved ones making new memories and remebering the reason for the season :-)
Blessings Heidi!!

Semen Rendi said...
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