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How to Have an Organized Holiday

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

Many feel that the holidays can be stressful. And I can relate, there is so much to do in so little time. Of course my first tip is to start early with your holiday shopping, but besides that it can be hard to keep everything straight. Did I buy this present for her or was that just an idea I had? Did I ship his present already? All the questions swirling around can make holiday gift giving overwhelming.

I stay organized with this spreadsheet that I put together. I know, I know, you’re thinking that it takes a little bit of magic out of the season to organize everything in a spreadsheet. But I promise, the magic is IN the spreadsheet. It makes my life so much easier to stay on track, on budget and on time when I add all of my recipients and gifts to this spreadsheet.

1. Add all recipients

To start I add ALL my recipients to the first column of this spreadsheet. This process helps me understand who I need to shop for. This spreadsheet divides the groups of people by relationship. The default groups are Family, Work and Other. In the family group I add my immediate family, in laws and any additional family members that I’ll spend Christmas with or don’t want to forget.

Scroll down a little and you’ll see the Work group. I add my boss, assistants, company owners and work wives and husbands to this section. The last section is for any additional people that don’t fit into the previous groups. Neighbors and service workers like dog walkers, maids, mail carriers and anyone else you want to thank for a wonderful year can fit into this category.

2. Add in your budget

After I fill in my recipients, I start thinking about my budget. It’s so easy to go overboard when buying for everyone. Even if you don’t stick to a strict budget, putting the prices of everything you’re purchasing this holiday season really puts things into perspective. It’s so easy to buy things when you see them in the mall and not contemplate how much you’ve been spending until it’s too late. This spreadsheet includes formulas that add all costs together to help you keep track.

On this spreadsheet there is room for three gifts per person, but feel free to copy and paste to add more columns to accommodate more recipient gifts if necessary.

3. Fill in gift ideas and purchases

Now it’s time to start filling in the gifts I’ve purchased or thought about purchasing along with their prices. Fill in all your ideas that you have to start with, then update the status of those items as they go from Idea to Purchased to Wrapped to Shipped (if you’re not spending the holidays with the recipient).

After the big gifts, it’s time to focus on the stocking stuffers! Whether you save the best for last and purchase stocking stuffers after the big gifts or you like to pick up the small items as you shop for the large items, this spreadsheet will help you keep track. Following a similar format with the same columns and fields, it will allow you to take stocking stuffers just as seriously as the rest of the gifts!

A few other tabs to keep you organized:

  1. Also on this spreadsheet is the VHM – Gifts Given This Year tab. If you have trouble remembering what you gave your father for his birthday, Father’s Day and your parent’s wedding anniversary then it might be a good idea to keep track throughout the year on this spreadsheet, just so you don’t duplicate an already given gift.

  2. The last tab on this spreadsheet is VHM – Notes & Ideas which is a great place for jotting down notes for gifts when you don’t know who they will be for or if you want to purchase them. On this tab I like to store links and lists or great gift options.

You can use this spreadsheet digitally or print it out to write in notes. I like to do both. Earlier in the season I like to write things down, then I’ll transfer to typing things in as we get closer to Christmas and the list needs frequent updating. I also like to email it to myself or keep it in a spreadsheet app to access on my phone while I’m out shopping as well.

I hope this helps keep your holiday organized!



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