Inspired by: a Pretty way to organize your gift ideas

January 31, 2010

I just ran across this pretty little book from Russell and Hazel (one of my favorite places to score lovely office supplies) and it inspired me.

They suggest you use their Gift List Book for keeping track of ideas you have during the year for a great gift for someone.

Sure, this makes sense. That’s happened to me a million times. I run across something and think “oh, that would be just the right thing for (fill in the blank)” but I don’t immediately capture the thought and -poof- it’s gone. This book, carried in your purse with you, would help.

But, I think a further use for this kind of list-keeping would be to keep track of what you actually gave to people.

Go with me on this:  I love to give books as presents. (Maybe this is because I love to receive books more than almost anything.) I’ll take time and great care to choose the right book for my giftee. But later, most often, a whole year later, I can’t remember specifically what book I gave. This happens LOTS with my nieces and nephews. (“Did I get Knuffle Bunny for Nephew A or Nephew B?”)  And then I’ll stand in Barnes and Noble and panic thinking I might duplicate.

I wish they would add another 20 pages of plain grid paper to this book for just this kind of list keeping. I think I’ll email the good folks at R&H and suggest it, in fact. That might be obnoxious, but I’ll do it anyway.

If I just took 10 minutes each holiday to make a quick list in my handy Gift List Book (or, really, any notebook), this problem would be solved. And peace would reign in the land.

Genius, no? Part genius, part Crazy Lady? Tell me.



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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Gretchen January 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm

An absolute necessity. I’m with you on this one. For about five years now I have been keeping a blank journal of gifts given (and gifts received too). It makes it so much easier than counting on my memory. I keep the gifts received portion so that I first of all can remember all the wonderful things that my wonderful friends and family have given me through the years, but also so I don’t make any blunders if I should perchance regift or sell something at a group yard sale.

I have not, however, gotten into the habit of recording gift ideas. This little book is perfect!

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies February 1, 2010 at 3:17 am

What a cute little book? I need one of those.

Amanda @ Serenity Now February 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Very true!! During Christmastime, I keep a typed list of gift ideas on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper (folded up) in my wallet.

You should def. give LOST another shot. There was 1 season that wasn’t their best, but they’ve really stepped it up. My favorite show by far. :)

Melinda February 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

This is not at all crazy but somethng that is completely necessary…at least in my world. I have had the same little blue notebook that I have been using for years to keep track of such things. I use it mainly for the holidays as I like to be able to look back at what I got for someone in years past so as not to get in a rut. It’s small (easy to stash), has a fold over button-flap which holds a pen perfectly and keep pages from fraying in said purse and also a handy inside pocket where I can stash gift receipts. I’m truly in love with it. The only problem…I have no idea where I got it in order to get another. Oh well…this one has plently of life left until my kids figure out what it is. Then, it’s all over!

Jennifer Tankersley February 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Well, after reading this post, (and that is a very pretty book, by the way), I thought I might like to share one of my Gift Lists. ListPlanIt has 3 different options, but this one lists everyone you might be shopping for, gives space for listing gift ideas, and then has a space for noting the actual gift bought: Just thought you might like it.

Meredith February 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm

It’s a good point, Jennifer. I really like what you’re doing over there at ListPlanIt. Highly recommend it!

Meredith February 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm

And, may I say how glad I am to know that none of you thinks I’m crazy to write down my gifts given. Makes me feel much better!

carlee February 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

This notebook is a really great idea. I could use one of these!

solstice letters February 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

You’re right – that is an excellent idea. I know it would come in handy at our house.

redhill February 1, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Agree! gift list such a good idea, both for those given, gift ideas and really important to have recorded gifts received, I have a large family and like to be able to remember who gave what, otherwise too easy to forget the thought and love that went into those gifts. I’ve tried to do this, but to have a little dedicated book, great idea. An app for my IPhone even better!

Deren Monday February 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

OK, I’m just going to throw this out there and take the heat…

Let the stones fly: I keep a list of stuff I want. Why?

I have a terrible memory. And every holiday my lovely wife asks what I want. And every holiday I offer a blank stare, like Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry. So I have a me list too, in addition to the “others” list.

Come on, ya’ll. Admit it. You do too…

Meredith February 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

@Deren: You’re right, loud and proud!

And, Redhill got me searching and I’m downloading this iPhone app:

I’ll have to play with it, but it’s a good place to start!

Erin February 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Ooh, the iphone app is a good idea. I used to have a large planner and used a few pages in the back to keep track of gift ideas – but I’ve downsized to a smaller planner. I have a folder on my computer called “Christmas” and inside are excel sheets called Party, Cards, and Gifts. I’ve been just adding to the same excel sheet each year as we brainstorm gift ideas. It is not a foolproof process. I’m thinking I need something digital so I don’t have so many notebooks laying around, and I want to minimize the things I carry with me. An iphone app sounds perfect, but I always worry about what will happen when the next big thing comes out and whether I can transfer all the data on the app, etc.

Kristin February 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm

That is such a brilliant idea. I always come across something that would make a fabulous gift and forget about it five minutes later!

mari February 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Hi Meredith,

I just discovered your blog and am very excited to have discovered a kindred spirit. As I read about your feelings for See Jane Work and The Container Store, I thought, Yes, yes, that’s me!

I keep my “gifts given” lists using Address Book on my Mac. I enter a brief note (occasion, gift) in the notes section of the address entry for the recipient. I’m far from perfect about remembering to do this with every gift, but using Address Book helps remind me because I often need to look up an address in order to mail the gift. And of course, Address Book notes sync on my iPhone, too, so I have an automatic iPhone application for my lists.

lou February 16, 2010 at 4:35 am

ah. this is a great book. i realized the other day that i had a hard time thinking for a birthday gift for my friend. i wasn’t sure wheather i gave her a calendar the year beforen already… it was a struggle. that book here is what i need. thanx for the hint!

Stephanie August 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I keep an excel spreadsheet for each Christmas season. I have a tab at the bottom for each person that I buy for. I type in what I buy them and how much it costs so that I stay on budget. I also have a tab for Christmas cards sent & received. I buy Christmas gifts all throughout the year when I travel. By the time Fall rolls around, half of my shopping is done and I can see where I stand with each person. I’ve been using this system for about 10 years.

Janice Gray (AJ = Aunt Janice) September 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

For us rather ‘seasoned’ persons… might be a good idea to make a note of WHERE gifts purchased early have been stashed!!! smile Granted the “Early” purchase come under the title of miracle for me. smile again.

Sandee Contrenas October 16, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Omg. I hadn’t thought about this that way. I’m book-marking this to check out your other posts later. I have a couple of other web pages to take a look at and stumbled upon this while searching some info for work.

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