Now before I can plan our gifts regarding who gets what and on earth needs to be done, which is the purpose of this post… I need to have some sort of gift giving policy in mind. So here come se7en gift giving points:
- A Gift List: We don’t give gifts to a million people, just a select few. Really even if the whole world thinks Christmas is about the gifting and if every marketer is dumping their products in our mailbox – Christmas still isn’t about gifting every single person we know. I really want giving gifts for our kids to be a matter of the heart rather than an obligation. So we keep our list short: Immediate family and then each child has a special friend or family that we love dearly that we give gifts to.
- The Cost of Gifting: Let’s not beat about the bush, the big concern for most folk is where are they going to find the money to pay for the gifts they have to buy and you can plot and plan all year and budget a certain amount of money away each month for gifting, or you can go into a spiral of financial hemorrhage every December. And making gifts isn’t always the answer – in fact, even making gifts can get ludicrously expensive. I really think that the people that love us dearly, the ones we will be gifting, wouldn’t want us to go beyond the means of our regular budget and worse into debt on account of Christmas… Really this is where the art of plotting and planning comes to the fore! It is important to remember that a small thoughtful gift is worth far more to a recipient than hugely expensive gift grabbed at the last minute.
- Make Your Own Gifts: I have very strong opinions, who is surprised there (!), about home-made gifts and I wrote about them here. Basically if you are making a gift make it a good one. Just because a gift is homemade doesn’t mean it has to be hideous!!!
- Keep the Recipient in Mind: Really don’t make generic gifts – you know: Male, Female, kid age 1-3,… and so on. When you have chosen only a few folk to give gifts too then there is no harm in making something that they will personally love. There is no point in making a pressed flower notebook for the aunt that would love a tie-dye t-shirt. And don’t make chocolate truffles for the granny that really wants to lose weight.
- When Home Made Doesn’t Work: We have the odd relative (odd as in one or two and odd as in slightly mad!!!) that could think of nothing worse than a home-made gift whatever it is… even something totally awesome and brilliant. For them it just isn’t a gift unless it is bought and we “try” to respect that!!! I don’t want to give them something they will hate but they must know then their gift will be really small – I have a budget and I am sticking to it! For those gifts that I have to buy… I have my diary. On the back page I keep a running list of potential gifts I see through out the year. There is nothing worse than trying to brainstorm ideas the week before Christmas when every store is packed with expensive distractions.
- Gift Logistics: Beware of leaving things to the last minute, if you are planning to laminate things or fire clay or anything that requires a third party then you really need to get these gifts done in November. Firstly because these businesses get really busy really quickly and you may get pushed way down the queue. And secondly, Mid-December in South Africa and anything you require from a factory (supply or work done) cannot be done – all factories and many businesses across every industry close for “the builders holiday” if you have left it that late you are done for!!!
- Don’t Set Yourself Up to Fail: Don’t go totally overboard and decide that you will be making a particular gift for your fifty favorite friends… Even fifty Christmas cards are probably way over the limit!!! It is one thing to make a couple hand made gifts but the fun can fail very quickly if it becomes a chore for our kids. Frankly I don’t want gift making to become a chore because I will end up doing it all and I for one do not intend creating gifts for all our kids friends!!!
So what do I need to do? I need to make a list with the kids of those folk who are on our gift list and what they would like to make for them.