It's definitely the shopping season, and if you haven't bought all of your gifts by now you'll probably be scrambling to do so in the next couple of weeks. I just can't start thinking seriously about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, so I will be posting a few gift guides this week; I know there are a butt ton of these floating around the web right now, and the more I see the more I think they probably reveal more about the guide creator than anyone you would actually be buying a gift for, but I'm an obsessive window shopper, so I love looking at these anyway and I thought I may have come across some products that other people aren't aware that would make primo gifts. Anyway, I'll be doing a few of these based on different areas of interests. But before I get into gift guide crazy town, I wanted to talk about managing gift ideas. I probably should have talked about this sooner, seeing as I've been doing it for a while now, but hindsight 20/20 I guess. Anyway, hopefully this will help you keep track of your ideas as you look through all of the gift guides on the web and come up with your own ideas!
Let's talk about Amazon Wish List. Don't get me wrong, I love shopping locally, and I know some people are really anti Amazon, which I respect. However, I live in the middle of a shopping dead zone and have to get things shipped to me on the regular. Amazon is my savior. So there's this wish list feature they have. You can create a wish list for yourself, and you can add anything from Amazon's site as well as anything from any other shopping site. So you can totally put all of your cute Etsy finds in the Amazon wish list. External products are simply shown on the list and linked so the nice folks shopping for you can see it as part of the list and then click on the link and buy it from the original site. Easy peasy. The only thing I don't like is that you can't sort your list into subcategories right now, which I wish you could do without creating a bunch of wish lists, but that's a small thing. If you make your list public it's also searcheable, so if someone tells you they have an Amazon wish list you can search their name and it will pop up. There's also a perma link that you can email to your parents or whatever. There is also an add-on for Firefox that makes adding things to your wish list super quick and easy. Whenever I'm shopping and see something I know I want but won't be buying for myself (at least not right now), I try to remember to add it to my wish list. There are tons of different ideas in all different price ranges for people shopping for me in there. You can create different lists for different occasions (birthday, Christmas, Valentine's, graduation) or just how one big ole' revolving list like I do.
The other way I use Amazon Wish List is by creating a non public wish list for things I see that I'm seriously considering giving as gifts. I pin ideas to my Gifties board on Pinterest for things I see that I think would just make a great gift, but if I see something and think, that would be great for Mom, I add it to this secret wish list on Amazon and make a note in the comment box who it would be for and maybe even ideas for other things I would give with it. You could also do something similar with a secret board on Pinterest, but I've been doing this since before those existed, so I'm used to this current system.
Pinterest is another great way to manage your ideas. Create a board for things you would love to receive (Gifts for Me), and another (possibly secret) board for gifts you would like to give (Gifts for Others). The only thing I will caution you with this is to make sure the items you pin link back to a site where the item can be purchased. It's easy to see a picture and re-pin without clicking, and if you're counting on a certain thing and then it turns out the link is broken or there never was a good link, that's going to be disappointing and frustrating, especially if you're buying last minute (been there, done that).
These days, I do a lot of shopping around online before I buy anything for anyone. Having all of these ideas in one place makes it so much easier to keep things straight. Even if you know you're buying a certain product, say a digital camera, but you're shopping around different sites and models, adding them to one place where you can quickly find them again is still a big help. The other great thing is that you can pull both of these things (Pinterest board, Amazon wish list) up on your phone easily if you have a smart phone via their respective apps. That way if you find a similar item in store, you can compare prices (online is not always cheaper!).
I wish you all the best of luck with your seasonal shopping and hope to see you back here tomorrow for my first gift guide!
Yours Truly, Jen