simplify gift-giving this year

It’s getting to be that time of year again.  Instead of a December 22 panic attack, how about planning ahead?

Some suggestions on how to simplify the gift-giving process:

* Schedule shopping days in your calendar now.  Know your personal shopping limit and set the time accordingly.  (I personally can only handle a few hours at a time and must take breaks for snacking.

* Pick a meaningful gift and give it in bulk.  For example, did you read a book this year that really touched your heart?  Go buy 20 copies!  Did you discover a new cooking gadget that you can no longer live without?  Go buy one for all your friends!  Did you take an amazing photograph of a dolphin leaping out of the water this summer?  Print several copies and get cool frames that complement it perfectly.

* Hire an elf.  If you have a list, send a Bacana team member shopping for you.

* Give a gift certificate to the restaurant everyone’s talking about or a membership to the best museum in town or a season subscription to your favorite theatre company.

* Make a donation to a charity in someone’s name.  You can personalize it by giving to a cause that’s very meaningful to the person receiving the gift.  Kiva is a great organization because the person receiving the gift gets to log onto the site and choose what individual or business will receive their donation.  Heifer International is a favorite of ours too.  There are plenty of places out there that need donations!

* Have a tree planted or endowed in honor of a loved one.  Check out your local parks and conservancies.

* If you’re someone who likes to handwrite cards, order or buy them now.  There are some great eco-friendly companies online.  Also, go ahead and order those charming holiday stamps!

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have everything wrapped and sent by mail in the hands of the USPS by December 15?  Then you can just sit back and enjoy that holiday ride.

What time-saving suggestions do you have for the busy gift-giver?  Leave a comment below.