Master Gift List: A Holiday Shopper's Best Friend

Master Gift List

Every family has one: a gift-giver of extraordinary flair and creativity. Year after year, this paragon finds just the right gift, large or small, for every friend and relation, and all without breaking the bank.

Her “just because” offerings are tiny jewels, she’s hip to the latest teen trends—and she never, ever hears the double-barbed response, “Oh, you shouldn't have--you really shouldn’t have!”

What’s her secret? A master gift list.

Christmas Countdown Day 5: Start a Master Gift List!

Master Gift List

Ready to "Think Christmas"? For most of us, those thoughts are likely turn to gifts and giving!

Who doesn't love the holiday custom of giving and receiving gifts? But holiday gift-giving also comes with a sting in the tail. Much as we love the custom, we also find it stressful!

A recent poll at our site showed that gift-buying topped our list as the "biggest holiday organization challenge". Whether it's anxiety over choosing the right gift, worries about staying within budget, or simple resentment of the time required to find, buy, wrap and deliver holiday gifts, the downside of holiday giving is enough to bring out the Scrooge in any of us.

How to speed the chore--and keep the joy in the giving? Today, we'll begin a Master Gift List: a decision-making platform for holiday gifts and giving.

Before The Season: Focus On Holiday Values

Focus Holiday Values

What do you really want for Christmas? Our ideas may differ in the details, but most of us want much the same thing: a seasonal celebration focused on faith, family and friends.

We want the excitement of the season without the disruption that too often comes with it. We want to draw closer to those around us, not to be thrust apart by hectic schedules. We want to enjoy as well as to prepare, and to keep the Christmas season in a manner that is joyous and spiritually centered.

Problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the seasonal whirlwind! Tradition, the media, family expectations and the economy lean on our decision-making, each with a different agenda. Unconscious forces can distort our celebration for reasons that have nothing to do with what we truly want from the holiday.

Christmas Countdown Day 4: Connect With Holiday Values!

holiday values exercise

What do you really want for Christmas?

For most of us, our dreams center around family, faith and friends: a celebration of our deepest joys.

Yet too often, those dreams go by the wayside as the holidays take on a life of their own. What can cause this distortion of what we truly want?

The season brings many pressures to bear on our celebration. Holiday commercials raise their voice to an unavoidable shriek during this time of year. Lavish television programs showcase food and décor standards out of all reality. A trip to the mall can bring a quick end to a wish for a homemade holiday; all that glitz can be seductive!

Sand Art Brownies

layered brownies in a jar

Looking for a classic "gift in a jar" for holiday gifts?

Sand Art Brownies are easy to make gift in a jar and oh, so pretty! Layered cocoa, brown sugar, chocolate chips and pecans make this Mason jar recipe extra-special.

Welcome a neighbor, thank a teacher or give a homemade Christmas gift with this layered cookie-in-a-jar recipe.

Our recipe includes free printable gift tags to make assembling your Sand Art Brownies a breeze!

Simplify Your Holidays With A Christmas Calendar

Make a Christmas calendar

Ask any mother of young children: time pressure creates a unique stressor during the Christmas season.

Holiday events, school functions and holiday parties crowd December days; service projects, travel and worship activities double. To keep holiday stress at bay, a calendar is a must-have tool for an organized Christmas.

Even if you never rely on a family calendar the other eleven months of the year, December's busy days call for a dedicated calendar for smooth sailing.

Christmas Countdown Day 3: Set Up a Holiday Calendar!

Christmas Countdown Calendar

What's the number-one way to cut Christmas stress? Keep a careful eye on the calendar!

No doubt about it, December days can be busy. Keeping track of commitments, events and activities keeps the season real. If you know where the family must go, it's easier to get there--and to say "No!" to too many obligations.

Does a family calendar guide your holiday plans? It should ... if the goal is an organized Christmas!


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