Monday, November 16, 2009

Simplify the Season – Shopping Part One

Welcome back!  I am so glad you are choosing to Simplify your season along with us.  So far we’ve discussed traditions, baking, party planning, and BOY have we had some fun!  Now on to the commercial side of this season… shopping.

Could shopping possibly be a part of a Simplified Season? You betcha!!! And who doesn’t love shopping? I don’t mean the “sharpen your elbows, Black Friday, 3am” kind of shopping. Although if anyone can turn shopping into a contact sport those ladies sure can! Are you one of them? I can’t see this as simplified, only as an odd form of rugby. 

My favorite thing about Christmas shopping is finding that PERFECT gift. The gift that you know that the receiver will open and love.

Where do you start?
Make a list of everyone for whom you will need to buy gifts.  Include family, friends, neighbors, clients, your child's favorite playmate, service people (school teachers, nursery workers, babysitters, hair dresser, the staff members at an office you frequent regularly, postal worker, barista, whoever!).  Even if the gift is "just" a plate of cookies, jot the person down.  Great!  So, my stress free friend, just by making the list of recipients, you may even get some gift ideas.  Hooray for you!  With just a little advanced planning, you are well on your way to a stress free Christmas Celebration.

Think about that list of people. Do you have to buy gifts for people whom you hardly know. Whether it is a brother-in-law or a boss, this can be a daunting task.  Do you end up spending hours wandering the malls and marts to try to find that special gift that will please the recipient?  Look no more I have the answer!

But first... THINK about giving “clutter free” gifts. For example, Aunt Emma – maker of the great sweet potatoes- may love frog figurines.  BUT she probably has enough to fill her house and yours.  So instead of giving Aunt Emma one more frog related gift, let's find something she could actually use.   Instead of just giving one more generic bath set -- know the giftee. Find out if they have a favorite brand or scent and go with that. Novel concept?  You betcha!  Have I stepped on any toes yet?  Probably.  Sorry, we’re simplifying!!!

Where can you find unique gift ideas for everyone on your gift list (including you!)?

I call this the Ultimate gift finder.  It is totally free to use.  It will scour the internet (the WHOLE internet) for unique gift choices just for you.  All you have to do is fill in a minor detail or two (gender, age, interests, occasion) about the gift recipient.  The personality profiler is an amazing tool!  Another perk of using this site is that you can get ideas without making a commitment.  You can even go to the retailer sites from the site and find more ideas!  (Yes, it helps me find gifts for my "hard to shop for" brother-in-law year after year.)  Aunt Emma will thank you. 

Are you a parent or a grandparent (or an aunt) looking for toys for the tot in your life?  Try the search features on or for age appropriate toy ideas.

I love to hear the unique gifts people find along the way! Leave a comment or send me an e-mail and let me know if or the toy finders have worked for you… or at least if you had fun trying it out!  Want to have fun for a few minutes?  Personality profile YOURSELF on What a hoot!!

As you digest all of this, if you’re still feeling stuck, stay tuned.  Never fear!  We’ll continue shopping next weekend.

If you are in the Jacksonville/St. Johns area and would like your home better organized, and would like the assistance of a professional organizer, e-mail  You can also find me on Facebook by clicking HERE or searching for Organize With Julie.  Want to follow me on twitter? Find me @juliebavi.

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