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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Organize your Christmas shopping

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

'Tis the season! If you're doing some Christmas shopping and are having some trouble keeping everything organized, this week's tip may help. lessilly suggests keeping a master list and another for the current year; that way, you can keep track of everyone and easily add incidental gifts and shopping you want to do if you're feeling extra generous. :)

Bob gets into the Christmas spirit

I use a variation on the packing tips that I have collected through the winning Tips & Tricks submissions to create my Christmas shopping each year.

First, I created a list entitled "Christmas". Within this list I have a task for each gift that I need to purchase. Some people will receive multiple gifts, and that number is placed in parentheses – e.g. Mom, Dad, Son (4). As new family members are added (by birth, marriage, etc), I can add them to this master list.

I don't ever check anyone off from this master list. Instead, each year, I create a new list for that year – i.e. "Christmas 2012". I duplicate all of the tasks in the master Christmas list and move them to the current year's list. I only work from the current year's list by checking off people for which I've already purchased a gift, adding notes about gift ideas for a particular person, or even what I bought for each person. The current year's list is easily customizable because I could add new people to the current shopping list if I get invited to an unexpected party OR if my family suddenly decides to do a Secret Santa gift exchange (instead of purchasing everyone a gift), I can delete individual family members that I no longer need to buy presents for.

At the end of the shopping season, I archive (rather than delete) the current year's shopping list. I don’t want old lists to clutter up my RTM list tabs, but I want to save my shopping lists for reference for several years to come. I can look back on who I actually ended up buying gifts for, how many gifts I bought for my kids that year, what I bought for an individual person (so I don't duplicate a gift), and what type of special gift exchanges we did with friends and family members – e.g. White Elephant or Secret Santa.

It is a perfect way to minimize my shopping frustrations during the hectic holiday season!

Thanks for sharing this tip, lessilly! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks