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November 5, 2014

What day is it?
Not only is it Hump Day, it's also Happy List Day.


That's right - fleaChic is going to devote Wednesdays to
helping readers avoid Panic Shopping Syndrome.

You're thinking, "Panic Shopping Syndrome?"

According to Time magazine, procrastinating last minute Christmas shoppers not only spend more than consumers who plan their purchases, they also tend to buy more frivolous gifts - cheeseburger phone covers, wasabi lip balm, or any of these silly fads: 

So, what is the first step to avoid wasting your hard earned dollars on a gift that will be stored in the back of the recipient's closet or something they re-gift next year? Your Happy List Book!

1.  Dig through your desk drawers and find a spiral notebook that has lots of empty pages or splurge on a $1 Dollar Tree notebook.

2.  Label the first page with the heading 2013 Gifts.  Write down the names of everyone you gave a gift to last year, even if it was a tin of cookies or a mug of tea and biscuits.  Now stretch your memory and write the gift and the amount you spent beside each of last year's recipients.  At the bottom of the page write the total (or best estimated total) you spent on last year's holiday gifts.  Remember, this book can be for your eyes only so be brutally honest.

3.  Label the second page 2014 Gifts.  This page is going to be hard because you've got some tough decisions to make - who can you drop from last year's list?  And how about trying to reduce the amount you'll spend on those who 'make the cut' by 10% or more?  Write down each person's name and to the left of their name draw an underline like a check list:

_____ Mom and Dad
_____Aunt Elizabeth

4.  Now that you have the list of loved ones, friends, coworkers and vendors to whom you want to bestow a gift, you're going to give each of them their own page in the Happy List notebook.

5.  Here's where the fun begins.  On Aunt Mable's page, list her hobbies and interests.  Is she a crafter?  Does she enjoy wine or spirits?  Has she planned a trip for next year?  Is she an Elvis Presley fan or a gourmet cook? What does she collect?

You get the idea - devote a page of your Happy List book to everyone you plan to give a gift to this holiday season and spend some time writing down their interests. 

The Dreaded Budget
Whether you're aware of it or not, you have a budget.  It's just a matter of whether it controls you or you consciously control it.  If at all possible, try to implement a cash policy and avoid credit cards if at all possible.   

Start a Budget page in your Happy List notebook with an estimated lump sum total that you plan to spend.  $500?  $750?  Compare it to what you actually spent last year.  Is it more?  Is it less?  
Begin with a list of the large amounts you gift every year - $300 on your parents or children, $50 for each niece or nephew, etc.  There are many types of gifts:  to loved ones, to friends, obligation giving to a co-worker who gives you a gift every year, etc.  As expected, we spend more on those we care about most and that's the way it should be.  
So, that's our assignment for the next week - each of us are going to create a Happy List holiday notebook of gift recipients and an estimated budget.  Next Wednesday I'll have more information and ideas to help make the upcoming gift giving season a little less financially painful and much more satisfying.

This is going to be fun, I promise!


  1. I have done really well this year and have got all my presents bought just need to finish crafting a couple. A great idea for those that need help.

  2. The camel made me smile. :) And I love this collection of gift ideas. I am NOT a last minute shopper. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

  3. YOU are awesome!!!! What a fabulous idea. I am definitely going to do this.
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  4. I have all my "bought" gift already I only need to finish my Christmas Card, and the several handmade gift for family.
    I have to ship to Japan and the UK so I need to have what I send boxed and ready to go.

    And I will hope the Domo-kun toaster is under the tree for me ! domo konnichiwa !
    I so need the lighted slippers !

    Love this idea !
    Most friends in my age group don't need anything. We give a dinner, a plant or some food. Nothing big.
    We have all gotten to the age where company is the best gift.

    cheers, parsnip