One of my favorite tricks for staying on top of gift giving is maintaining a 'gift closet'. I keep an eye out for specials and sales all year long, but especially after each holiday. If I find something I know someone would like, I buy it and store it in my closet.
The gift closet is also good for those little gifts you give to drop-in visitors, or as hostess gifts. I also like to store inexpensive gifts for children--very useful when they visit and get tired of chasing the dogs. (The dogs always thank me.)
I have all manner of items in my closet. Tools, wine accessories, music CDs, crystal, Christmas-themed gifts, stuffed animals, card games, and assorted tins (in case I get the crazy notion to bake cookies).
To create a gift closet:
• Scout sales and clearances
• Buy for men, women, and the children in your life
• Buy non-gender gifts for those unexpected visitors
• Unless you KNOW an expensive item is perfect for someone special, don't buy it too far in advance of gift-giving in case it needs to be returned or exchanged.
• Buy nice gifts. Anyone can pick up the trashy stuff at the end of aisle four.
• Buy things that appeal to you. In case you never get a chance to give it away, it'll always be nice to have around the house.
Most people think of Christmas shopping in November, but I try to keep it in mind all year long, kicking it into high gear by August.
Do you have a gift closet? What do you like to buy for friends and family?