I am a list maker and I always have been. Whether it is groceries, tasks at hand, projects around the house or holiday gifts, I have a list for it. It keeps me organized and helps to keep my sanity, especially when life gets busy, not to mention the fact that my memory absolutely stinks!
Around the holidays is the most important time for me to keep a list. I have to know for whom I need to buy gifts, what ideas I have for gifts, and sometimes how much money I have to spend on the gifts. From bus drivers to co-workers to my husband and kids, I write down everything! It also helps to know what I have bought so I know when to stop (especially for the kids because it's so easy to keep buying) and also to know that I actually have bought something at all. If I buy something in September and put it away, chances are that I'll forget by October.
One good tip I have for keeping a master list for holiday gift-buying is to keep a small notebook with a list of names with you–in your purse, in your car, or anywhere you can get to it very quickly. As I mentioned, the memory isn't what it used to be, so when the lightbulb goes off in my head and an idea comes to me, I have to write it down quickly. Or when I'm talking to mom and she mentions that dad has been looking through the fliers for a new tool, I can jot it down before it gets lost in the abyss that is my brain.
Aside from keeping ideas organized, it can also keep you on budget. If you allot a certain amount of money for holiday gifts, you can be sure that you stay on track.
Quick tip... get a plastic baggie and put all holiday receipts inside for reconciling credit card bills or making returns, if necessary.