One of the best things about this plan is the time I have (right now, anyway-- ask me again in November) to accomplish my objectives. It would be easy if I were one of those people who can run out and buy a generic, one-size-fits-all present for the people on my list and be satisfied with that.
A present from me (and in some cases purchased by me and given by my family) must have meaning. It represents something about the person it is intended for and something about my/our relationship with that person. I set my gift-giving standards pretty high, and I suspect that is part of the reason the whole Christmas season has gotten so stressful for me the past four or five years.
So here are the people I must consider during the holiday season:
My husband. Sparky will be 50 this year, and his "annual bottle of Polo" is one of the factors that made me set my Goodwill gift goal at 50%. He is an armchair sports fan, antique radio afficionado, and up-and-coming foodie. He bikes to work every day, reads a lot, and never asks for anything. He has historically been one of the toughest giftees on my list.
Son, Snooze. Snooze will be 21 in April, and could easily have been internet-named Sasquatch. He is a typical college kid, living with two friends in a surprisingly non-vomit-inducing (unless you look too closely at the stair treads or around the edges of the bathrooms) apartment in Flagstaff. His desert existence prior to life on the mountain has uncovered a need for warm winter clothing, he enjoys cooking (when they can afford food) and the eclectic decor of the apartment itself provides many fun opportunities for improvisation. Snooze is grateful for anything and everything, but because he is the age he is and the size he is, and requires certain technological upgrades on a fairly regular basis, he was another 50% determiner.
Daughter Shriek. Shriek will be 15 this year. Not your typical frou-frou teen girl, her sense of style is delightful and sometimes unpredictable. She is a musician, avid reader, animal-lover, and photographer. Left to her own devices, she has a tendency to hang out in her down-filled bed and jammies all weekend rotating between Xbox, iPod, phone, and ANTM.
She cannot be left to her own devices very often.
These are the primaries and will receive the bulk of the thrifty booty. Additionally, over the next ten and a half months, I must find gifts for my two parents; my two in-laws; my sister, her husband, and their two boys- 16 and 11; my brother and his wife; and a couple of close friends. There are several situational-optionals as well: grown nieces and nephews receive if we are together for the holidays- which of course has not been determined this far out, and may provide a last-minute panic despite my best intentions.