Christmas List: Managing Your Holiday Shopping

Woman checking Christmas listlist

Christmas lists aren't just for kids - grown-ups can benefit from them, too. A Christmas list helps you keep track of the gifts you need to buy and the gifts you purchase. It also helps you stay organized and on budget while making Christmas shopping more enjoyable.

Free Printable Christmas Shopping List

If you're like many people, your Christmas shopping list is scattered. You may have written a few gift ideas on a piece of chewing gum wrapper in your purse and jotted down other ideas on various post-it notes stuck throughout your home. This printable Christmas list template allows you to keep all your Christmas gift ideas in one place. There's plenty of space to write gift inspiration as it strikes. There's also room for each gift recipient's name, age, and allotted budget. You can also note when gifts are purchased and wrapped.

You may download and print this free, printable Christmas list using Adobe. If you need help downloading or printing the list, check out the Guide for Adobe Printables.

Christmas list

Managing Your Christmas List

Follow these tips to manage your list and keep your budget in check.

Getting Started

After printing the Christmas list, write the name and age of everyone you plan to buy a gift for in the appropriate columns. You may need to print out more than one copy of the list. Put the list somewhere accessible where you'll see it often such as your daily planner, your refrigerator door, or on your desk.

Avoid "gift idea forgetfulness frustration," by writing gift ideas on the list the moment inspiration strikes.

Setting the Budget

Planning a Christmas budget well before the shopping season begins, ideally at the beginning of the year, can help prevent overspending.

  • Early planners - To make a Christmas budget, make a list of your expenses and current savings plans. Determine how much you can realistically put aside each month aside for Christmas gifts. Put that amount away every paycheck. There's no magic number here; your budget should reflect what works for you and your family.
  • Budgeting during the holiday season - If you're starting your budget planning closer to Christmas, determine how much money you can take out of savings, along with setting aside money from your upcoming paychecks, and still be comfortable.

After you've made your Christmas gift list, check it twice. Too many people on your list increases your risk of going over budget. Also remember, Christmas gifts don't have to be expensive. Homemade gifts such as a handmade ornament or cookies are thoughtful and well-received.

Buying Gifts

As you purchase each gift, notate the cost and the date bought or ordered. If you track the cost of each gift, you'll be able to see where you come in under or over budget. This helps you determine where you can break even.

Tracking Online Orders

Many gifts are purchased online, and package theft is a major concern. To keep track of which gifts are outstanding or over due, note the arrival date of every gift immediately. There's also plenty of room to write a tracking number in the space provided for the name of the gift you purchased, too. Write the gift name and cost and then add the tracking number below it in the box.

Wrapping Notes

Indicate the date you wrap each gift. Wrapping gifts as they're purchased instead of all at once is a great way to reduce your workload as Christmas approaches and ensures you have enough paper on hand.

Saving Receipts

Since it's almost inevitable that at least one gift will have to be returned or exchanged, attach an envelope to your Christmas list to store receipts. After notating each gift on your list, write the name of the recipient on the receipt and place the receipt in the envelope. It may take an extra minute or two, but you'll be glad everything's in one place later.

Stay As Organized As Santa Claus

Imagine if Santa Claus didn't keep a Christmas list. Hundreds of thousands of children around the world either wouldn't get a gift for Christmas or they'd get the wrong gift. How does Santa do it? He's known for his well-organized Christmas list. Take a page from Santa's playbook this year by using a Christmas list. It will save you time and help you stay on budget.

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Christmas List: Managing Your Holiday Shopping