The process of giving a gift should be enjoyable, stress-free, and should bring happiness to the heart. However, for many it can be stressful and burdensome. Waiting till the last minute to purchase a gift can add unnecessary stress and frustration when a desired item cannot be located or ordered. To make the process of gift giving rewarding and meaningful, one needs to plan early and be organized.

Here are a few ideas to make giving a gift simple, easy, and fun!

Dates, Dates, Dates

<Gather your family, friends, and colleague’s birthdays, anniversaries, and other major holidays and add them to your calendar. Have one calendar, electronic or paper, for all important dates. Keeping the calendar in an area that is easy to view and access simplifies things. If you prefer to use an electronic calendar, set reminders for 7 – 10 days in advance of the occasion. This allows adequate time to purchase the gift/card, wrap it, and put it in the mail.

 

Greeting Cards

There are two ways to eliminate the hassle of running out last minute to grab a card. One is to take your list of birthdays, weddings, holidays, anniversaries, etc. to the card store and purchase them all at the beginning of the year. The second is to set up some sort of greeting card automation online. There are a few companies online that specialize in this service.

• Send Out Cards – www.sendoutcards.com
• Greeting Card Universe – http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/
• Simply Sign It – http://www.simplysignit.com/
• Card Store – http://www.cardstore.com/

If you prefer to save a tree and send an e-card, there are hundreds of websites that offer this fast, convenient, and eco-friendly service. However, it is always a treat to discover a card in the mailbox from a loved one!

Gift Cards

Gift cards and certificates are a great way to show someone you care when you don’t have the specifics of that person’s wants and needs. They are also convenient to have on hand for last minute gift exchanges or to give as a gift when invited to dinner. Purchasing a gift card or certificate as a gift can take the stress out of the whole process. Cards and certificates can be purchased online or at specific retailer/grocery stores.

Another reason for giving gift cards and certificates is it helps people to stay within their budget. Here are a couple of sites that simplify the process of purchasing and redeeming gift cards.

• Gift Certificates – www.giftcards.gifts.com
• Gift Card/Albums – Ribbon Gifts – http://gbrooke.ordermygift.com/default.aspx

Gift Wrapping

I love a beautifully wrapped gift. I can appreciate the time and effort of coordinating paper, ribbons, and bows. However, I don’t always have the time or the funds to create the overall look I desire. These days, whatever is convenient, stress-free, and/or gives me the ability to recycle, I do it.

If you are giving a gift of substantial size, consider paying to have it gift wrapped. This will save you time, money, and a bunch of stress. Most department stores have a gift wrapping department. During the holidays, you will find a gift wrapping table set up in every mall, plaza, and gallery. Take advantage of this service as it simplifies the process.

If you have children and have been saving all of their artwork, here is a fun tip to putting the masterpieces to good use. When your child is invited to a birthday party is giving a gift to a family member, what better way to personalize the gift than wrapping it in the child’s personal artwork? In fact, simplify the process even more and have the child do the wrapping!

Gifts on Hand

Having a stash of gifts on hand can take the stress out of last minute notices or forgotten events. Assign a drawer or cabinet within your home to store the supply of gifts. Use containers and baskets to sort the gifts into categories (boy/girl, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.). Don’t forget to label the containers! Having the gifts beautifully wrapped with a Post-It note attached indicating what is inside, will make it easy to ‘grab-n-go’.

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