Wednesday Wellness: Planning Ahead for the Holidays and Gift-Giving

Happy Wednesday Wellness, Friends! I started writing about wellness as I noted that so many of my friends and creatives struggle with balance, as do I.  Join me on my wellness journey!

I haven’t always liked to plan. I’d been spontaneous all my life, until becoming a mom.  Then I started seeing the value of planning, researching and mapping out. I discovered the crafty stickering planning community. I still love the shiny sparkles of whatever whims, though, and the stickers really help!  (Read more about my planning here.) Yes, organized chaos is a too a thing.

I just dusted off my 12 year historical gift giving spreadsheet, as I do every September.  I review the prior year for completeness, copy and paste a new year, and clear the contents.  I also add any new recipients, and sadly, hide anyone necessary. I don’t actually delete anyone, I just hide the row.  I may need to check what I got beloved Aunt Barbara before she passed away, as it may be a good idea for somebody else in the future. I also study last years budget vs. spend.  If I spent less for somebody, maybe that’s my new budget.  If I spent more on somebody, maybe that’s my new budget!  My niece became a teen this year, so her new budget is now the same as her older brother.  See?

This is a gift-giving list, reference, and budget, all in one. My own family has a ton of birthdays September through January, so I track those here, too. Many times as my own children approached certain ages, I’d scroll back and look at what I got my godson when he turned 12, for instance. Or, where did I get that musical teapot that all two year old girls seem to love?  Scroll back- and I see the store and the price.  Have I already given so-and-so my favorite book?  Scroll back to that year I gave most everybody the same book… oh look, so-and-so wasn’t on my list yet at that time.   See what I mean? Super helpful.

Here is a snapshot of a clean year.  I started on Excel, but I moved it to Google Sheets last year.  (I blacked out my budget so that my dear family members won’t see what I’ve budgeted for them.) But you can see from this template what I’m doing.  Many of my family members have two entries for their two occasions.  So I start shopping in September, and spread my shopping budget over ten paychecks (through January).

Pro-Tip: Enter your spouse and children’s gifts in white font, so they won’t see it on the printout.


Nota Bene: Creative Gifts. Two years ago I made necklaces for my best friends and sweet cousins. So last year I made a different kind of necklace for them.  Earlier this year, my daughter and I made her a memory quilt using her favorite t shirts that she had outgrown.


We made this Memory Quilt together!

As my godson approaches college age, its something I’d consider doing for him.  But I may outsource such a big project.  This may change my budget.  Or, I may bookmark that for his Graduation. I’m learning how to knit, maybe I will knit scarves and give some out as gifts!  Oh hey, I WROTE A BOOK THIS YEAR! maybe I can give somebody on my list a copy of my book.   (Maybe I can afford to outsource that quilt after all.)

I hope you enjoyed learning about my planning tool.  Let me know if you try it this gift-giving season!

How do YOU organize your shopping?




Wellness Wednesday

Happy New Year, Friends!

This year I am managing my money better.  Manifesting Money and Letting Go of wasting money. Now that I’ve written it down and posted it here, I gotta be accountable!

Here’s what I’ve done so far.

  1. Posted new, unread books for sale on marketplace
  2. Cancelled FasTrak (toll account) and am expecting refund
  3. Cancelling unread magazine subscriptions
  4. Signed on as a coach, now getting a 25% discount on my fave shakes
  5. Finished returning extra holiday gifts that I didn’t give out
  6. Finished returning holiday gifts received that didn’t work for me
  7. Shopping and dining with gift cards & credit received
  8. Traded DVDs and VHS tapes at the local record store for CASH
  9. Got just manicures instead of mani-pedi’s
  10. Followed up on gift card prize and deposited checks for music

If the books don’t resell on amazon quickly, I can either reduce my asking price, or just trade them in at the local Half Priced Books store. Now that I have seen how much money the DVDs brought in, I am very excited to go through my remaining DVDs again.  Honestly, I don’t use all my exercise DVD’s, I can totally trade in about 12 right there.

What are YOU doing?

Do you have any great tips to share? Please comment below!


Wednesday Wellness: Plan to Have Fun

Today for Wednesday Wellness I am writing about planning, that is, planning to have fun.  Despite being an extreme INFP (this means non-planner), I have found that taking the time to plan is invaluable.

I am an Administrative Assistant by day, and a Manager of a household of a family of four. I manage my executives’ expenses and calendars, as well as my family’s. When I map out my weekends, everybody has what they need and everybody gets to their activities on time.  Managing a household of a family of four people- each with divergent needs- presents its own challenges.  OH, and I’ve managed my Christmas/Birthday Shopping List by spreadsheet for um, 12 years now.  Hey, it works.

But sometimes I just want to not plan and relax.  Guess what, I have to plan to do so.  Like for my birthday, for instance.  There were no outstanding obligations, and then it rained (in California!  Wuhoo!), so I was delighted.  I planned to meet my besties for my annual birthday brunch, then I picked up a special light bulb for my new piano lamp (birthday gift from my husband and kids) and then I played piano in the afternoon.  For dinner we met up with my parents and my sister’s family to celebrate my own birthday, as well as my mother’s and father’s birthdays (yes, we all have out birthdays within 8 days, the week before Christmas!  My poor sister- the June baby- at least she has the month all to herself!) Then afterwards we headed over to the award winning Christmas Lights crazily lit house  in the next town.  Delightful Birthday.

I have a new planner by Bloom, which I love because it has some cool reflection pages.  Here’s how I am managing this week.


PLAN, to have FUN!

Here at my day job, one of the six documents to be presented at this afternoon’s board subcommittee arrived late.  Four others had last minute revisions, some multiple revisions.  Good thing I planned to hang out on campus today, in case I was needed.

Now I can write a nice green check on my planner:  next to Write Blog Post.

How do YOU plan to have fun?