So how do I start? I usually start with a simple Excel spreadsheet. I try to get everything I need to do for Christmas on one sheet. I start by sorting through what gifts I might already have stored away in the garage. Yes, I'm one of those assholes who actually shops for Christmas during the year. This Excel sheet also serves another purpose: Now that I have Christmas on the brain I will need a place to brainstorm and put the gift ideas that pop into my head. I find that its not really that hard to come up with good gift ideas for family and friends if you have been listening all year. What is hard, however, is remembering what the heck they are when the pressure is on and its time to shop. Excel sheets can hold your thoughts for when you are ready to act. Just copy all your paper notes, shopping links, etc. when you get to your computer each night during the season . Better yet, upload a copy to Google Docs or save it to your PDA, so you can add to it wherever you are. When I'm ready to shop and get down to it, I just go to this sheet to see what I need to do.
The rest of the sheet is a glorified to do list. Do I need to buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper? Will we be throwing a party? If so, its time to pick a night. Just get it on the sheet so you know what you are up against.