Ever since I have gotten married ( ane even before that really) I have been keeping a "gift closet" of sort.
For the new year, in January I always write out a list of Birthday gifts and cards I would like to give, as well as a Christmas list with ideas of gifts. I also like to make homade birthday cards, anniversary cards etc. So I can make those ahead of time as well.
I do this for a few reasons, one many of my gifts are homeade and I like to be able to plan for them and make things for people ahead of time, I also like to shop for great deals for things when they come up. This last year and also this year, I have purchased several Groupons, vouchers for Eversave etc. for specific gifts on my list. So far from Eversave I have purchased a voucher to get $50 worth of Melissa and Doug toys, and I will only have to pay for shipping ( because I had some referral credit) I really find that it saves money, time and sanity.
My friend is having a baby late in the year and I've already started her a homade scrapbook. It will take a while to finish, so it's great to start early. Same thing with my parents, I always make them a calendar for the next year with the girls' pictures and give them that for Christmas. I also have specific goals for my swagbucks and Irazoo points, as well as the points I get from Mypoints.
I have found that this saves me a lot of money in the long run. I'm not scrambling around the week before Christmas doing last minute shopping. I like to spend the whole month of December baking, making crafts with the girls, visiting family, decorating, etc. and I don't want to be worried with finishing up homeade gifts or shopping.
So hopefully you will be inspired to create a list of all the gifts you would like to give throughout the year and starting planning ahead, and you will find that the month of December is much simpler for you....