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Keeping a Running List of Gift Ideas in Your Phone

The 1 Thing You Can Do All Year to Make Buying Holiday Gifts Effortless

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / ShopStyle Photography

We've all been there — it's early to mid-December and there are still a number of gifts you've yet to think of, let alone buy for your friends and family. After years of getting stuck in the gift-giving rut and spending money on things my loved ones probably didn't even want, I've revolutionized holiday gift-giving with a hack so simple I don't even know if you can call it a hack.

I keep a list in the notes app on my phone of the things I know my friends want.

Whether I'm at brunch with friends in June and someone mentions a perfume they'd never buy themselves, I'm watching TV with my boyfriend in January and he notes a cool product in an ad, my mom emails me in May to say she saw a nice copper pot set at Bed Bath and Beyond, or I see something in a shop that basically screams a friend's name, I write that item down under the person's name* in the list and go back about my day.

It ends up looking a little bit like this:

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Alessia Santoro

Depending on the person and how much I want to spend on them, I'll go through the list in early November and highlight the things I really think they'd like, delete anything I'm sure they've bought for themselves or which is no longer available, and put a little star next to anything I'd rather save giving them until their next birthday.

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I've been doing this for years, and not only has it resulted in some seriously awesome gifts that I know the person is going to be pumped about, but it makes gift-giving fun again. I no longer stress a week (or a few days) before Christmas Eve about what I'm getting someone. Instead, I'm typically finished with my holiday shopping well before mid-December (yes, I'm bragging) and I can spend more time focusing on wrapping said gifts (Why does wrapping take forever?!) and enjoying much-needed downtime with my loved ones during the best season of the year.

*To any of the real people on this list: these gift ideas were all made up, so you'll just have to wait to see what I buy you — I've been prepping under your noses all year.

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