Christmas | Gifts | Holiday | Organization

Christmas in July 2013

July 23, 2013

Every year in July, I take a day to sort through all the Christmas gifts I’ve already bought (hello after Christmas sales!) and get a game plan together for the gifts I have left to purchase. I thought it might be fun t0 blog about my process this year in case someone else out there likes to start early. I can’t be the only one, right?

Christmas in July at
If preparing for Christmas in July sounds like utter madness to you, I understand. A few years I would have agreed with you. However, I’ve found planning ahead to be extremely helpful.

Why I organize Christmas gifts in July:

  1. We buy for a lot of people each year: six parents, two siblings and their wives, various gift exchange parties, a nephew, two (new this year!) nieces and one set of grandparents. I want to ensure that each person (big or small) receives the perfect gift each year, and to do that, I need to plan ahead. Not only to stretch out the budget, but also because I like to take the time to ensure each person receives the perfect gift(s). 
  2. I start buying Christmas gifts the day after Christmas each year and continue buying gifts throughout the year. If I didn’t stop mid-year to sort through everything, I might accidentally over shop for one person and under shop for another leaving my budget a wreck and me stressed at the last minute.
  3. Gifts are a big part of Christmas for us. We love being able to shower our family with them each year, but if I left all of the gift purchasing to the last minute, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the season as thoroughly as I would otherwise. When the gifts are purchased, I can spend the holiday focusing on spending time with family, decorating the house and baking Christmas treats. 

My Christmas Binder

A couple of years ago I created a Christmas binder to keep track of purchased gifts and receipts. Since then I’ve used it faithfully to keep me organized. This year I finally found the perfect gift planner printable from Liz at Life in Yellow. Our parents get their own pages, but everyone else neatly fits on this little sheet.

Gift Buying Checklist used by

I keep a pocket for receipts in the front of the binder, and, later, I’ll add other pages for organizing things like menus and special dates.

At this stage of my holiday planning, it’s most important for me to list what I’ve bought so far for each person along with the dollar amount spent. We’ve allocated a set amount to spend on each person, so totaling up what we’ve spent so far helps me know where the rest of the gifting budget should be spent. For instance, I have more left to spent on my Mom than I do on my step-dad (see below).

Gift Planning at

Christmas in July 2013

I’ve focused a lot of efforts on purchasing Christmas gifts early this year, so I had a lot to sort through!

Early Purchased Christmas Gifts at

Some items had already been boxed (just behind my Christmas binder in the photo) for wrapping. Each box had a piece of paper taped to it with the recipient’s name, what the gift was and the dollar amount. Everything else had to be sorted through and labeled appropriately.

Once all of the gifts were sorted and boxed, gift wrapping commenced. It makes sense for me to go ahead and wrap the early-bought Christmas gifts since I’m already sorting through everything. Plus, it saves me from having to wrap everything in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I decided to tackle this major project in the back guest bedroom in case I wasn’t able to complete it all in one day. That way I could just close the door on this mess.

Christmas in July Mess at

Luckily, I was able to finish in a day. Winter was a huge help, naturally.

Christmas in July Winter Cat at

Once everything was wrapped, I tucked it all into the top of the back guest bedroom closet. No one will stumble across the gifts there, and even if they did, they’re all wrapped up. I’ll keep the Christmas binder in my desk, so that I can easily access it for online shopping throughout the rest of the year.

I’m so happy to have this much of my Christmas to-do list checked off. I’ve still got plenty of shopping left to do — more than half, actually — but at least now I not only have a game plan but also a large portion of my gifts purchased and wrapped.

Merry Christmas in July!


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  1. Wow! I am so impressed with your planning and prep. I am barely making form one week to another. Let alone 6 months ahead of the game. Way to go! (Found you through thrifty decor chick link-up)

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