The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

Here comes the merriest, most hectic season of the year, Christmas!!!  As tradition goes, this is the time to give gifts to your loved ones, friends and associates.  Yes, that means everyone in your family circle, circle of friends and circle of influence has to receive a gift from you this time of the year, one way or another.  So you better have that Christmas gift list prepared and checked over and over lest you forget someone and earn that person’s ire now and forever.

Before you panic and say this exercise will wipe out your entire retirement fund, let us give you some tips on how to give gifts so you get to enjoy the holidays, have that quiet time to reflect on the season’s true meaning, and still carry that peace of mind knowing that you have something left in your coffers when you get old – all that, and still make everybody feel happy and special!

Making your Christmas List

  • As you prepare your Christmas List, it is good that you device a system to make your budgeting easier.  Create Categories and Sub-categories to organize your list.  Immediate Family Members, Relatives, Officemates, Country Club Friends, Godchildren, etc. may cover separate and different categories. Sub-categories can then refer to the types and values of gifts assigned to the recipient like Premium, Mid-Range, Standard, and the like.
  • If you have a list made last year, it is good to review your current list against last year’s to refresh your mind about what you gave the previous year.

Set your Christmas Gift Budget

  • After preparing your Christmas List, set your total budget for Christmas gifts.
  • Once you have set your budget, you need to do some pencil-pushing to determine your budget for the Premium, Mid-range and Standard sub-categories.  It would be good to prepare this with your Microsoft Excel or your preferred spreadsheet software so you can make adjustments with the budget per person and still come up with your set total Christmas gift budget.
  • You may wish to assign a higher budget for those really close to you like those included in your “Immediate Family” category.
  • The budget you are going to allocate to our officemates will depend on the gift-giving culture of your office.  So if you are just new in your office, it is good to ask around and know what is the customary gift-giving practice in your office.
  • Again, review your list with its corresponding budget and once you’re happy with it, you are set to go shopping.

Shopping for Christmas Gifts

  • Again, go back to your list and put a little thought-process into it.  Think what each person will need or want to receive.  Write it next to the name and budget you have given this person.  For example, if your sister-in-law loves to cook, you can indicate there items that are kitchen-related then check them versus your allocated budget.
  • Bring this list whenever you go Christmas gift shopping and use this as your guide when making that decision to buy.  Note that your Christmas list is just a guide so everything is not cast in stone and you can still make adjustments. Just be sure you don’t get carried away and stray far from your budget.
  • Once you are finished with the list, you can now proceed to the fun part of the exercise – shopping!!!  Check which gifts can you buy at an on-line shop, the department store, the community bazaars, or what you gifts can do yourself.
  1. Online Shopping – thanks to the advancement in technology, you don’t have to fight for parking space, suffer long cashier lines or endure cranky sales personnel as you can now shop online.  Just like at, you can enjoy full-service gift shopping as takes care of procuring, gift wrapping and delivery for you.  That’s worry-free gift-giving at your finger-tips!  When shopping online, just be sure you are using a secured site (especially on the payment stage) and that the online shop is legitimate (check on address and telephone numbers in their website).
  2. Mall Shopping – sometimes it is still exciting to go the traditional way, going to the shop and buying the gifts yourself.  When doing so, it is advisable to go to the malls as soon as they open shop in the morning and have your shopping finished by lunch time to avoid the humongous Christmas shopping crowd.
  3. Community Bazaar Shopping – nothing beats community bazaars when you are looking for homemade goodies, trendy accessories, up and coming new items.  When shopping at community bazaars, be a little bit more meticulous in checking product quality as most of the products being sold come from the “backyard” industry.
  4. Making the gifts yourself – if you have the time and talent, you can make the gifts yourself and you will surely be appreciated for it.  It could be baked goodies, fashion accessories, etc. If you are going this route, be sure to plan ahead for your sourcing of materials, budget and production time.  This way, you don’t have to be so stressed out spending sleepless nights just to give your gifts on time.

We hope our tips will be of help.  Christmas can be a hectic, frantic and sometimes chaotic season – but usually that is where the fun comes in.  So just relish the season and have a smooth-free gift shopping spree!