Get Ahead of the Gift-Giving Season

October is here! And while you’re probably just thinking about Halloween, now is the perfect time to prepare for the gifting season.

So many of us dread the holiday season, procrastinating and worrying our way through the months until December is knocking obnoxiously at our door. We at StoriesToArt believe you don’t have to merely “get through” the coming months, but can actually enjoy the process and thrive in the act of finding and giving truly meaningful gifts.

The secret? Find personal ones, and get them early.
Get them in October, to be precise. That way you can avoid burning out closer to the holidays and spread out your costs.

I use this nerdy cheat-sheet to make sure everyone important in my life knows that I love them without completely losing my mind:

1. SHHH, MAKE A SECRET LIST

Write down the name of every person you can think of who needs a gift this year, from your closest family member to your less-than-positive temporary manager who accused you of clogging the toilet at the labor day work party (and who’s lucky you’re so generous).

2. PRIORITIZE

In short, determine who gets the best gifts, or the gifts you want to make truly personal.  Now reorder your list to reflect your priorities.

3. GROUP

At this point, I usually have a few “gift groups” in the works, including:

  • an exclusive group of 1-5 people I want to go all out on
  • a small group of about 5-8 people who I really want to show I care
  • a group of about 10 people I want to feel remembered by me with a small, unique gift
  • and a “leftover” group of acquaintances, work colleagues, friends of friends, etc. who I’d like to know I thought of them (with a small batch of something home-made) rather than a substantial “gift.”

Gift Planning Sheet

4. PLAN

At this stage, you can map out time in your schedule for brainstorming, browsing, buying, and baking throughout October and November. Obviously, you’re going to want to start thinking about creative gift ideas for that exclusive group of extra-special peeps in your life as soon as possible, because they mean the most to you and gosh darn it you’re going to show them!

5. DO THE THING

The absolute best gifts evoke shared memories or passions, or simply speak to how well you know and appreciate your recipient’s uniqueness, and quite frankly art is the most powerful way to capture shared memories.  So why not commission a custom work of art just for your recipient? Nothing will speak to their soul like a painting of your favorite vacation memory together, a folk song describing all the things you love about them, or a poem that captures their essence.  Plus, an original, one-of-a-kind piece is perfect for those relatives who seem to have everything and a must have for those kids just moving into their own pads!

For those you want to give really good gifts to, the key is finding something affordable that is also unique and captures their spirit. Hopefully our really good gifts for the budget minded will provide you with exactly what you need! And for stocking stuffers you can feel good about, check out our StoriesToArt Gives Back Marketplace where you’ll find t-shirts, mugs, accessories and more featuring original artwork from StoriesToArt artists. All of the proceeds go back to arts education!

If you’re still not sure what to give, check out our Art Gift-Giving Tips for more advice on giving the perfect gift.

And there you have it, folks. Spend time on the tough ones first, stick to your schedule, and come December you will be cruising down easy street enjoying your eggnog while the rest of your family and friends are twitching at every Christmas carol that comes on the radio.


Check out these other helpful articles:

Why Now’s the Time to Start Buying Christmas Gifts from The Money Advice Service

9 Tips That Will Guarantee You Find the Perfect Gift for Everyone on Your List from Huffington Post

My # 1 Christmas Shopping Rule: Start Early from Money Saving Expert

How to Choose the Perfect Gift from Lifehack