I love to give gifts. No seriously, I love to individually select special items for people for their birthdays, holidays, and sometimes for no reason at all. I think the challenge of finding "the perfect gift" is a lot of fun.
The problem comes with the fact that I have a really, really big family. Three sisters, one of which has a family of her own now, and four sets of divorced-and-remarried parents between Casey and I make gift-giving a budgetary challenge. We just have a lot of people to buy for!
That's why a couple of years ago, I instituted the "Gift Bin" system; a giant plastic bin of small-ish things I've purchased throughout the year:
I know it seems a bit out of hand and possibly even like a big pile of crap to the outside world. Actually, it is a bit of organized chaos. But, just know that most of the items are things I've bought for a specific person with a small sticky note reminding me who it belongs to (So, act surprised at Christmas if you see a future gift now). Some of the items are just things I've bought out of season (scarves, hats, etc.) for less than $2. Some are just things I've seen here and there and are a good price, and I'll save them for occasions that I've forgotten about (can I still claim the Mommy Brain excuse?) or that we are unexpectedly invited to.
This weekend, we attended a birthday party for Beatrice Kate's Bestie: Abigail. We knew when Abby's birthday was and I had actually already purchased her gift a few months ago. So, when our first excuse to cheat on the The Dollar Diet arose, we were already prepared:
Then, when your weirdo neighbors (ahem, like ours...) randomly brings you a gift... you don't look like a total jerk for forgetting to get something for them.