Rather than heading out in search of Black Friday deals this morning I riffled through my infamous gift drawers and catalogued all the items I purchased throughout the year. I’m happy to report that I have everything I need for my niece and nephew along with quite a few presents for my mom and in-laws.
I have a few rules for purchasing gifts in advance. I never, ever buy clothes. You just never know if an item will fit and most stores won’t let you take back things you bought months ago. I don’t want friends and family to be stuck with something they won’t wear so I simply avoid buying clothes. I also almost never buy music or movies. These items typically fall in price over time, so there is no sense in purchasing them in advance. (I did break this rule once when Toys-R-Us went out of business. I bought a couple of DVDs for less than $2.) I also typically avoid items that might spoil or turn sour. I once received a re-gifted bottle of perfume that smelled like vinegar, so I avoid perfume, body lotions, etc.
My most important rule when purchasing in advance is to buy items with a specific individual in mind. I won’t buy a random item on sale and then try to find someone to pawn it off on. Every item in my gift drawer is intended for a specific person.
So what can you find in my gift drawers? Well I always buy games, puzzles and books for my niece and nephew. They are still pretty young, (three and five), so I typically purchase toys I know they’ll love when I find them drastically on sale. Most of the items are craft type items, like paper dolls and make-your-own superhero costumes. I also buy them educational games and from time-to-time Barbies and Legos when prices are really, really low. I try to think very carefully about their age and tend to buy items that they’ll grow into.
My mom and mother-in-law really enjoy the holidays. So I usually buy them each some type of holiday decoration or decorative item. One year I bought cute napkin rings, another year little chip and dip plates, and this year I purchased an unbelievably cute cheese plate. You’ll also typically find a few Christmas ornaments in my gift drawer. In the past I’ve also stored pretty glove and scarf sets and blank journals and pretty pens for those family members that like to stay organized.
By focusing on purchasing gifts throughout the year I tend to save a lot more money and feel less stress around the holidays. I even got a head start on my Christmas wrapping this year. I wrapped a bunch of gifts on Thanksgiving!