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How to Organize your Christmas Shopping List
Use these tips and tricks for organizing your shopping list and staying on budget during the holidays.
It’s that time of year again, when your Christmas shopping list continues to grow and grow. You’re making your list and checking it twice. You have to get gifts for everyone from grandpa to your newest baby niece, all your closest gal pals and your child’s kindergarten teacher–and there’s only so much time to do... Keep Scrolling
Written by Margie Monin Dombrowski


It’s that time of year again, when your Christmas shopping list continues to grow and grow. You’re making your list and checking it twice. You have to get gifts for everyone from grandpa to your newest baby niece, all your closest gal pals and your child’s kindergarten teacher–and there’s only so much time to do it all. With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to organize your Christmas shopping so you can get everyone on your list the perfect gift.

tips for Christmas shopping
Make sure you sign up for our 12 days of Cottage Christmas Newsletters to get access to all our free printables like this holiday shopping and budgeting worksheet.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, timing is everything. Start planning early enough so you can not only get the right gift at the right time and the right price, but you also want to create a budget for your holiday shopping. After all, no jolly ol’ Santa wants to hand out gifts only to head back to the North Pole with empty pockets and a hefty credit card bill.

Here are some tips on how to get organized and get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Plan Ahead for Your Christmas Budget

The earlier you get started on your Christmas budget the better. Some people set a yearly savings plan or Christmas fund, setting aside a small amount of money each month so they have plenty of cash available for their holiday shopping.

Others like to snap up gifts as sales pop up throughout the year. In July there are clearances with rock-bottom prices as stores make room for their fall merchandise and then there are always some of the best deals of the year on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. (Apps like Honey can help you find the best prices for anything you buy from online retailer websites.)

wool toys and a stack of wool blankets at a christmas market at night
It’s easy to be tempted by all the festive finds at holiday markets. But by keeping your list with you wherever you go you can stay on task and on budget. Photo by Sergio Locatelli on Unsplash.

Starting your shopping early for Christmas gifts puts you ahead in scoring the best deals for holiday gifts. If you wait until the last minute, you may not always get the gifts at the price you want. If you spread out your shopping over many months, you won’t spend all your money at once.

Make That Christmas List and Set That Budget

When making out your list of who’s getting gifts, prioritize who must gift a gift, all the way down to those who it would be nice to buy a gift for, but not absolutely necessary. Then write down what that person wants or would like to get for Christmas and how much that item would cost. When you organize your Christmas shopping list by price you wont’ get any surprises.

Make sure you sign up for our 12 days of Cottage Christmas Newsletters to get access to all our free printables!

vintage santa sign and retro style christmas decor on display at a vintage market
Shop at vintage and flea markets for one-of-a-kind finds and good deals. Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash.

Once your list is made, create another column where you write down how much money you have to spend on a gift for each person. Does the gift you planned to buy fit in with that budget? Are there other gift ideas that are more in line with your budget? Keep reworking your list until it matches up with your actual Christmas budget.

Those at the top of your list you may want to splurge more on than the others. Or, if you have a shorter Christmas shopping list, it gives you more room in your holiday budget to splurge on everyone on your list.

outdoor christmas market full of crowds and strings of lights hanging between small house shaped stalls.
Outdoor Christmas markets are a fun place to find gifts and a festive holiday experience. Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash.

If there are some people on your list you simply can’t afford to buy the gift you planned to buy, are there other ways to gift them that don’t cost as much money? Can you plan some DIY gifts for some people on your list? Do you think someone would appreciate an offer for free babysitting, petsitting or some other help with some projects around the house that you’re skilled at? If money is a big concern one year, can your family agree to only exchange one gift?

Budgeting for Christmas can be just as creative as your gift ideas. Organize your christmas shopping list and make sure you set a realistic plan and find ways to make it work so you and everyone on your list are happy.

Want to download our free Christmas List Shopping and Budgeting worksheet? Make sure you sign up for our 12 days of Cottage Christmas Newsletters to get access to all our free printables!

And if you missed yesterday’s post about decorating your mantel, get caught up by clicking here. Then check out the checklist below to see what’s to come.

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