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If I could win an Olympic medal in anything, sport or non-sport-related, it would be moguls… totally kidding, that sounds like hell. My winter Olympic sport-of-choice is gift-giving. Every year, without fail, I knock Christmas out of the park. (Forewarning, I’m going to toot my own horn but I promise there is something in it for you too.)
As a self proclaimed holiday hero, I take pride in finding the most fitting presents for everyone on my list.
Seeing someone I love get something they love, well that’s just my roman empire baby.
There might be some empath genes pointing me in the right direction, but ultimately, my formula for finding that “how did you find this??” present is just that, a formula. No, not the bust-out-your-calculator-type of formula, more like a recipe. And unlike your grandma and her famous thanksgiving gravy, I’m sharing exactly what’s in this secret sauce.
My Secret Sauce: The PLEIN AIR Holiday Method
So what’s the secret? First, you should know I love gift giving with every square inch of my soul, but I don’t like spending too much time on it. November marks the early days of ski season and there is nothing, I repeat, nothing that can get in the way of mountain time with friends— not even cruddy snow conditions.
To eliminate moments wasted staring at screens, or worse, walking aimlessly through the mall, I’ve put together my step-by-step approach for efficient, enjoyable, and effective seasonal shopping.
Introducing, The PLEIN AIR Holiday Method. It’s more than just a holiday gift guide. It’s a fully tailored approach to striking gold in record time so you can rid yourself of seasonal stress and get back to après on the hill.
The Step-by-Step Approach to Finding the Best Gifts All in One Day:
1. Get Prepared Early
First and foremost, do your prep work ahead of time. Holiday shopping is a lot like holiday cooking, you want to do all the planning and measuring before you start concocting. There is nothing worse than panic shopping at the last second only to find that the major sales are already over and what you wanted is backordered until January. Rough! Set aside some time, ideally right before the black friday and cyber monday deals go live to get yourself organized and ready to shop.
2. Ease into Things
Oftentimes, the hardest part about finding gift ideas is knowing where to start. I like to ease into things by starting on the simple side with a detailed list of everyone I want to celebrate. Don’t worry about listing what you’re going to get them, just focus on who is on your list. Go beyond those close relatives and think about who else played a major role in your life this past year. I typically like to add my teammates from work and all friends, near and far, who made the year special. This year, my brother and sister in law had a baby AND I got a dog, so the new baby and puppy will be making it to the tippity top of my “must spoil rotten” list. Who will be on yours?
3. Set a Budget
Girl. I know budgets are not sexy, but just hear me out on this one. This time of year is for making snow angels and baking cookies, not for stressing about the damage you did to your credit bill. After all, you still need some chedda for number one (you) and that ski trip next month isn’t going to pay for itself. Yes, of course, you love everyone on your list to the moon and back and back again, but we all have (credit) limits and going beyond those will not show them how much you love them. The proof is in the purpose— more on that below. Don’t be afraid to nerd out here. Start a spreadsheet and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later.
4. Implement a Shopping Theme
This right here, is what makes the secret sauce so special. It is a CRUCIAL step in getting your shopping done in one day. After setting your list and budget, you’ll want to pick a theme for all of your holiday presents. Last year, I chose to give everyone something that encouraged rest and relaxation, from my parents to my boss, everything was purchased under this umbrella. Think of this like setting up bumper lanes for finding that creme-de-la-creme present every.single.time.
What do you want to inspire or evoke this year? It has to be something universal that can be easily applied to any personality or lifestyle. To clarify, this is not a singular item for every recipient, it’s a general idea that can influence every purchase. Some ideas include growth, wellness, or adventure. Once you pick your theme, you can get granular about what each recipient wants within that theme. I’ll dive into how to execute each of these in later posts!
5. Make it Meaningful
Don’t let this step intimidate you. With your shopping theme in place you can easily find a meaningful present for everyone on your list. You simply have to ask yourself the following questions: ”Is this personal?” and “Is this useful?” Things that would not qualify as meaningful are: a candle in YOUR favorite scent, clothing in YOUR favorite color… anything related to you and you alone. Ultimately, your gift should be personal to them, or personal to your relationship, but definitely not to your tastes. Nine times out of ten, personalized gifts will be inherently useful, but it’s always good to double-check by thinking about how they might use it.
Let’s Talk Themes
As mentioned, a gifting theme is crucial to getting your shopping done in one day. It allows you to tackle your shopping with a batch mentality, and it’s also the most fun part because it can be something you care about. Did I confuse you there?
To clarify, the theme can be about something that interests you, but the gifts within that theme should be something that interests your recipients. For example, let’s say you choose wellness as your theme because you love it, and who doesn’t?.... Besides your dad who has never heard of “wellness” and definitely doesn’t know what a skincare routine is. Don’t fret. You can still get him something squarely within the theme that he’ll love too, like flannel pajamas and house slippers.
The theme isn’t about limiting yourself, or your recipients, it’s about narrowing your focus so you can get creative. Think about it this way, if you spend less time thinking about where you’re going to start, you can devote more time and energy towards what will make your gift meaningful.
Still need some inspiration? I’ve got ya covered. I’ve done a deep dive into the following themes to share some gift inspiration, or gifts-piration if you will.
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There comes a point in the season when you realize you forgot to add someone to your list and the time is ticking. Are you shocked your brother forgot to mention his new girlfriend is coming to the family gift exchange? No, but that doesn’t change the fact that you still have to find a last minute gift idea for her. Look no further than our quick and easy gift guide, for all of the people on your list who still need a lil somethin’ special.