Pre-Holiday Prep Makes the Holidays Less Stressful

Struggling to get everything purchased and wrapped for your loved ones in time for the Holiday’s? A few years ago, I was too! But now I’ve created a system that helps to keep everything in order. Below, I’ll share my top tips for keeping track of gifts purchased and how to get those unruly gift wrapping supplies in order! After all, we can all use a little less stress during the holidays, right?

How did my Christmas system get started? 

Purchasing Gifts Throughout the Year

My hubby and I spent the last four years in Germany and we traveled whenever we got the chance. Every time we’d take a weekend trip, I’d be on the lookout for presents that I thought my family and friends would love. I’d keep them all in a bag until Christmas and then send them off!  Pretty simple, right? Not necessarily!

Sometimes I would have gifts that I bought in February and had to hold onto until the coming December. Trying to keep track of that bag or box and remember who it was for and where it was from got pretty confusing!

That first Christmas I had purchased gifts throughout the year, but didn’t keep track of which present was for whom. Oops! The second year I got smart; I put sticky notes on each item to say who it was for and kept all the items from one place in a bag/box together. That made my Christmas wrapping and shipping process MUCH smoother! Three Christmases later and I find myself still doing this but with a much quicker process and a more sophisticated tracker. If you’re the kind of person who does Christmas shopping through-out the year or has family spread out across the country, like me, you might benefit from these tips! Here are four steps I take to keep track of the presents I purchase for family and friends.

  1. I save good condition, empty Amazon and other boxes that I can use to store the gifts in until it’s time to wrap and send. This helps me to organize my purchases and also save big time on packing boxes and supplies!
  2. I group items for each person in their own bag or box and put a label with their name on it.
  3. I keep all the gifts in one area (such as a spare bedroom or closet). So I know to take the gifts directly to that area and not confuse them with everything else going on in my house.
  4. I use a tracker sheet like this  that I found on Pinterest to keep track of what I’ve purchased for each person. It’s much more efficient to create a list than to remember what I have months later!


Wrapping the Gifts

When it’s time to start wrapping and packing, it is easier to get started when everything is organized and ready to go. When I commit to wrapping I want to get it done quickly otherwise I lose motivation and then STUFF is all over my house, half wrapped! I like to keep like supplies together so I know at a glance exactly what I have. This also helps me when I am checking my supplies before going to the store. If I know I only have one roll of wrapping paper from last year, I probably need to grab some more so I don’t run out mid wrapping session. It also keeps me from buying things I don’t need when after-Christmas sales come up on supplies!


I like to use something that I can keep mobile so if I need to move my “wrapping spot” I can easily move my supplies with me.  I have separate containers for my wrapping paper, bags/boxes, and ribbon.  For my wrapping paper, I purchased a standard gift wrap box that can hold up to 25 of the 30’’ rolls. This is more than I’ll ever need; I may end up storing my contact paper in there as well. My case for ribbon is a two-layered box that can hold up to 24 rolls of ribbon (depending on width) in each section.  And for my gift bags, I found a container that was rectangular shaped and taller than it was wider. Most of my standard bags fit into the box easily. I used some old cardboard I had around the house to make dividers between the types of bags I had (birthday, Christmas, etc.).  This helps me to keep everything organized and it’s also easy to store!

I hope my gift and wrapping tips will help you to make a smooth transition into this holiday season! Here’s to spending your time with the ones you love instead of being tied up in Christmas prep!

Look here to see how I can help you de-stress this holiday season! Need help with wrapping presents or prepping the guest space? I’ve got you covered! Contact me today!

Best, Melissa