Share Your Christmas Organising Tips And Win A Gourmet Hamper

No, it's not too early to be thinking about Christmas. If you're travelling, the flights won't get any cheaper; if you're sending presents overseas, the discounted options are closing soon. To get you in the mood for seasonal planning, we have two awesome Christmas hampers to give away, thanks to the team at Australian Gourmet Gifts.

We have one Luxury French Sparkling & Chocolate Hamper valued at $89.95 and one Christmas Delights Hamper valued at $69.95 to give away. To enter the competition, just answer this question in the comments below:

What's your best organising tip for Christmas?

Whether it's sorting your gift list, planning how to keep all the relatives happy or working out a way to keep the Christmas decorations untangled, we want to hear about it. The response we judge the best will win the Luxury French hamper, and the runner-up gets the Christmas Delights hamper. The competition closes at 5pm on Friday 14 September. Full terms and conditions here. Good luck!


Comments

    For my wife and I, Google Drive / Spreadsheets is the only way to keep track of who, what, and how much during Christmas. We love giving presents, and keeping track of what we have bought for who, while we are apart is made easy with a shared spreadsheet we can both access from our Android phones.

    Thanks google, and thanks Lifehacker for the chance to win!

    My best tip for organising Christmas (or rather, presents in general) is having a Google Spreadsheet shared with my husband in which we list all the people we buy presents for, and update whenever we think of something for them throughout the year. We also have tabs for 'things we want' so that if asked for ideas we've got some handy. When a present is purchased that's marked off as well, so we know who we still have left to shop for. Accumulating ideas through the year makes it easier when it comes to the crunch, or to take advantage of sales.

    My best tip is to prepare early and buy early. Make a list of people you want to give presents to in an excel spreadsheet in 4 columns. Put in names, budget, gift bought, money spent in the respective columns so you know how much to spend on each. Shop early and buy when gifts are on sale throughout the year and fill up your spreadsheet including the money spent on each of the gifts. Come christmas time, take the difference the total budgetted amount and the amount spent, and if that is a positive figure, buy yourself a gift.

    My first tip is to have an ongoing list. Once you've given a present, make a note of what you gave. Then always carry the list with you - over the space of 12 months, you can probably get 90% of what you need for Christmas/ Birthdays without a dedicated shop.
    Next is take advantage of Christmas Layby's! They are awesome for kids presents. You can spread the payments out, and you don't have to store the stuff at home.
    Another tip is to organise the big family get together on a day near Christmas, but not on Christmas. You'll get near 100% turnout, and get the advantage of leftovers from other peoples parties if you time it right...;-)
    Finally - take time to enjoy the holiday. If it's a couple of hours of "me" time, or taking the kids to the part to ride their bikes, make sure you get the most out of Christmas.....

    I use my Calender (Outlook, google etc.) and I/we add names and notes to a list on day "Dec 1" . So if I see a "deal "- and it is budget, I might buy it, and add the item to my list. That way I don’t forget "people" and I don’t forget what I purchased them. I have done it for 5 years, and it is so "set and forget" , as I can share my calendar with "those required" (i.e.: wife etc.) and we work as a family team. Save us money and grief as well...

    My tip is even simpler than the above, though it takes great self control and requires a spouse, preferably your own, but kudos to you if you can rope somebody else's spouse into this role.

    In the first year, you show no interest whatsoever in participating in the annual ritual of running around like a headless chook, assisting your spouse's frantic preparations (which may start in October or even earlier). You'll only get it wrong anyway and end up getting the wrong colour of wrapping paper or, heaven forfend, ribbon that does not meet your spouse's standards (apparently "It's just ****ing ribbon!" is not an acceptable defence).

    As for actually choosing presents, forget it if you're a bloke, you're genetically incapable of such fripperies. Buying things for your kids that you'd have liked as a kid can be acceptable, but make sure you judge your kids' ages correctly. A bow and arrow set may be a reasonable present for a sensible teenager, but not so reasonable for a seven year old, particularly if the arrow heads are capable of piercing flesh. Ditto juggling knives for a four year old. Your wife will be capable of grasping these concepts instinctively. Let her buy the gifts.

    When it comes to Christmas Day, your job is primarily to ensure that you have an endless supply of all possible sizes of battery (from button cell sized to car batteries), ensure that the latest shiny toy does not get thrown out with the wrapping paper as inter-sibling rivalry will result in domestic Armageddon as one child blames another for losing it and to thank your spouse effusively for the 20 pack of socks she has given you (ignore the fact that she'll gradually nick them off you before Easter arrives).

    If your in-laws are invited round for lunch you will either develop selective deafness or make a strategic withdrawal to "fix" something (one of the kids is bound to have broken something by now). Commenting on your mother in law's narrow minded bigotry is not very festive, so if either of the above is not possible, a medicinally mellowing quantity of whisky may improve matters.

    Finally, you should gracefully and appreciatively eat whatever food is put in front of you. It matters not if it is burnt/undercooked/still partially frozen, you should recover quicker from any bout of food poisoning than you would from the carving knife plunged into your chest by a criticised cook.

    I offer this advice in the hope that people can avoid the past mistake of others. Not my mistakes of course, no, definitely not.

      I agree with all of Graeme's points and add that it is also the duty of the husband to take photo/video of the paper storm that is Christmas morning.

    My best tip would be to enter and win this lifehacker competition, that way you've already got like half the things to put on the table at Christmas time!

    I start thinking about Christmas around June. My family has the rule that you only buy for your own generation and below, so I only really have to buy for all my cousins (plus the new one on the way!) and my partner. Every year, I try something different in the way of gift giving, so that they can never figure out exactly what they'll be receiving. Last year, the cousins got a (different) funny book, a gift card, and then something small and silly that related to them. The best part was finding everything on the one website and having it all delivered - then all I had to do was wrap it all! As for my partner, I managed to find a gift certificate for a PADI diving course, which he'd always wanted to do, so that was even easier.

    My partner, unfortunately, is a last-minute shopper, so we were at the local Westfield a few days before Christmas, trying to find things for his family.

    I have two tips:

    1. Tell mum that the bird you put in the deep freeze was a peacock, not a turkey.
    2. Lose 5kg BEFORE December the 23rd.

    I find if you make a small list. then take a couple of hours on the afternoon of Christmas eve, that should cover it. if you live in Brisbane, and your wife does not turn up with the car that you need for that couple of hours, and the shops are closed by the time you do get out the with the car, no worries... at first anyway. You see, you may find yourself under the illusion that all night shopping continues through Christmas eve night. On sober reflection, you realise that, as commercialised as we have become, everything is now closed. But wait, as you wander along the river at south bank with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach at the prospect of going home with not just crappy presents but with NO presents, you notice a few market stall holders packing up at south bank. You find one with a few items still on display: pen cases in handcrafted wood. Although you think that such respect for writing instruments had disappeared in the sixties or perhaps dragged on into the seventies, you somehow begin to think that perhaps this is the perfect gift for your spouse. After all, she does like trees. you are delighted to part with an exorbitant amount of money because...well, because you now have a present, any present, in your hand. When the stall holders have finally gone home, your triumph fades and the sinking feeling returns as you realise you are still short by about fifteen presents. You cannot count very well by now. was it thirteen or sixteen presents? The names of various relatives float before your eyes, then you see their faces as they might appear to you sternly and unforgivingly, as they watch you mouth some feeble excuse for the lack of ANY gift. You realise now that, yes, a list of names.... But wait, in your cloud of foreboding, wandering alone on Stanley Street, you notice that South Bank cinema is open. Ten minutes later, you emerge with a fistfull of twelve or sixteen cinema vouchers. Whatever! Enough to make possible surviving Christmas without being permanently ostracized from your family. Somehow, the streets of Brisbane seem friendlier and the lights brighter as you make your merry way homewards. You've got your presents and it's not even 10pm yet.

    I have an Evernote Notebook that I keep year round on phone/pc (plus a note of things I have for hubbie which is stored elsewhere so he doesn't have access to it). 1) People to buy for & ideas which I updated when I see something and/or buy it for them. A note with where I've put it helps too. 2) Things I want for when people ask (Amazon wish lists work the best for that especially when it comes to the in-laws). 3) A calendar/list of what's happening when so I don't double book. 4. Recipes/menus for what to cook with a schedule by the minute of what needs to be in when.
    Hubbie goes for the open a single website, pick something off there for everyone, done it approach.

    Usually we just go to either my parents place or my wife's parents house for Christmas. However, at the end of November our first child will be born and already our popularity has grown and everyone wants to see us (read: the new baby) this Christmas. So google maps will be our friend this year, planning the many trips that will no doubt span from Christmas Eve to Boxing day. Working out how to get from point A to point B, how long it will take and the best route. Another factor that while not tech related but will play a big part in the planning will be who has the best meal on offer (read: stuff ourselves silly/sleepy and stay the night).

    I have a big wooden chest that I start putting pressies into in August,by Christmas I am totally organised with no more gifts to buy or stress to endure.

    Make a note of the people who you feel it's important to remind that you are grateful they are part of your life, and schedule time to see or contact them somehow during the Christmas season.

    ProTips: For Christmas day
    1. Have sparkling white wine and juice with breakfast
    2. Get your children/others children to sort out presents and cart them around to everyone
    3. Have ready a pavlova for after lunch
    4. Sleep for the rest of the afternoon

    Ive found the best way to be organised for Christmas is to keep lists and shop early - thus avoiding the crowds and 'impulse' gift buying!

    Take a day off work aweek before and tidy the house, put the toys away ( all toys ages 0-99!) and then relax and enjoy the Christimas goodies ( and the kudos from the wife ) :)

    The toy sales by K-Mart, Target, Big W are a great way to save some coin. The fish markets are open 24 hours the day before Christmas but so are a few major westfields so use the supermarkets in them for your seafood needs, just as good :) Finally prepare early, by those presents for people during the year so the expense is not so great. Stock pile Christmas goodies, beer, etc

    Tell everyone we have a trip planned and then inform them at the last minute that it was cancelled... that way everyone else gets stuck with the planning and preparations. Otherwise, plan early and make a turducken... feeds an army and everyone thinks you are a legend.

    As obvious as it sounds, my tip is to start organizing and planning as early as possible. As soon as one Christmas is over, start saving for and planning the next. That way you won't be caught off guard when December rolls around again, so there won't be any last minute scrambling around to get a pair of socks or jocks for some unfortunate family member.

    I try to keep a Google Docs spreadsheet with present ideas for people. I update this throughout the year whenever I see something online that someone I know would like. I also have a "Present ideas" tag in Google Reader.

    Let someone else do it, wait, what do you mean? I don't mean letting your life partner do it all. Delegate things and let people do it how they want. Every year my mum would host a party and give very specific instructions on how the pavlova [and other food stuffs but for now let's concentrate on the humble but gooey delight that is a pav] was to be presented, it caused major anguish as we kids just couldn't seem to get the right balance of kiwi fruit and passionfruit pulp. So in a fit of despair when she was ill she said "make it how you like" To be fair some years the pav is a bit of a mess but the stress that she felt and the time taken to try and control the outcome has gone.

    So in short, don't do it all yourself and allow other people to do it how they want. Christmas after all is about family and sharing times, OK there's the whole Jesus birthday thing but really family and sharing is what it is about.

    I have a notebook in Evernote that I use to record gift ideas in case I see something online, in a shop or I hear someone speaking about ideas.
    I use Evernote on all my devices, so I have it handy when I come across an idea.

    I find being a Child of Divorce (as is my Partner) and having all my grandparents alive and well and in the town that a Meticulous schedule of times you will be at each and how much time you will have sent out a week or 2 before really helps me and the rellies plan - I have also found having 2nd Christmas on Boxing Day helps a lot too since there just aren't enough hours on the day to make everyone happy.

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