I know it seems crazy, but yes, I am already thinking about Christmas. One reason is that I like to make gifts. This takes time and planning. You can’t just wait until the last minute or you will end up wide awake at 3am Christmas Eve trying to finish painting some project. I know. I’ve been there. Or, you could end up at Walgreens trying to find something last minute because something you ordered didn’t show up on time.
Another thing I tend to do is buy random things I find on sale or at craft fairs throughout the year. Sometimes I forget what I’ve bough and end up with too much stuff for one person or spending more money than I intended.
So, a couple of years ago I started keeping a list of what I was buying/making for each person, if I had it on hand or needed to order
it, and how much is cost. Download all the free printables here: holiday craft planner printable
Set a Budget
I’m not a fan of rules, but I do think that setting a budget is important. I don’t want to end up broke at the end of the holidays. I want to have extra money on hand to have experiences, buy the wine I want, etc. So, I list out who I need to buy for. Then I decide what I’m spending on my kid. Then I figure out what I will have left over to spend on the rest of the people on my list. I also put aside extra money in my budget for baking cookies, holiday meals, and other expenses I don’t normally have. For example, last year my friend hosted a sign making party for $60.00 per person. Having some extra money budgeted for those sorts of items helps ease holiday stress. I use this nifty list to keep track of each person and my budget.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in setting a budget is not being realistic about what they are going to spend. If you want to get binoculars for your dad, you can’t put $15 in your budget. That’s not going to work. But, with early planning you might be able to get a $75 pair for $50. I try to set a max I will spend on each person. Sometimes I get a bargain and have a little left over.
This is something I am always working on. I try to keep track of what I’m getting, where I bought it, etc on another list. This way I know that everything I ordered online shows up. Why? Because sometimes I order stuff (craft supplies) from overseas. They take so long to arrive that I forget I even bought them. For example, I bought my kid a bunch of perler beads directly from India list year. I ordered them in October. When they showed up a couple of days before Christmas, I had totally forgotten I’d bought them. I ended up putting the package away for her birthday because I’d already bought too many things.
This list helps me shop early and remember what I’ve bought. This way, if I pick up a piece of pottery for my mom at an art fair, I know I already have something, what I spent on it, and where it is. It also helps me look for deals. My little one wants a nice camera this year. Knowing what I am willing to spend on it, lets me look for deals between now and Christmas. I also like to spread my spending out. I feel less stressed if I buy things as a go along – just as long as I use a list to make sure I don’t end up spen
ding way too much money.
I love giving handmade gifts. While it’s very fulfilling, it can blow your budget out of the water. I have a planner that I use for sewing and cosplay projects that is also really helpful for Christmas gift making. It helps me keep track of basic info like sizes, favorite colors, themes, the pattern I’m using or the website/pin board where I have the idea. Sometimes I print out the tutorial and staple it to the worksheet. To other thing I love about this worksheet is that it reminds me to look through my supplies before I head to the craft store. It’s pretty annoying to get home and realize you already had the zipper or purse handles or the color paint you just bought. I usually write down a rough estimate of the cost of each thing I need to buy as well so that I can make sure the project isn’t crazy expensive. Another reason I like to have a list of things I’m making is that I’m not always in the mood. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like sewing. If I have other projects in my to do bin, I can pull one of those out. Also, I like to order supplies online. If i know I need something I can order it way ahead of time to save money or buy it on sale.
Good luck with your holiday shopping and crafting. I hope these free printables are helpful in keeping you organized. Another tip I use to stay organized is that I make a pin board for each Christmas. I pin things I’m making, baking, and buying. Pin these holiday craft planner printables right into the board and you will have them when you need them.