If you’re anything like me, Christmas shopping is a chaotic affair that basically involves putting it off until the very last minute, and then blunderbussing my thought, energy and money down the nearest high street, getting increasingly frantic with each shop I enter.
I stand, staring deep into the eyes of some kitten emblazoned mug, wondering if it’s a good gift for, for, well, anybody frankly at this point. I’ve not idea who I’ve bought for, what I’ve bought and how far I am from emptying out my bank account.
The tug-of-war of ‘good gift’ versus ‘no money’ pulls my brain apart at the seams. It’s only once the dust has settled, and my brother is actually opening his My Little Pony themed juggling-knife set that I realise I’ve not done well.
Ho ho hopefully this will help
This year I decided I was going to finally be a grown-up and create a list. I thought about the old fashioned pen-and-paper approach, but I hate writing by hand, and I figured there is an app for literally everything these days so went hunting in the Google Play store.
I ended up going with the imaginatively named Gift List. It’s free, and totally changed the way I did my Christmas shop.
You can add people to buy for, attribute a photo, set a budget per person, and then add gifts that you’ve already decided that you want for them (or just vague ideas). The app then automatically populates a ‘shop’ section that shows you what gifts you still need to buy, and a ‘stats’ section that shows you a (terrifying) countdown to Christmas, total spent (which is even worse), your total budget, and gifts left to buy and wrap.
That’s right, in each person’s section, you can tick off the purchases and even mark when they’re wrapped. What’s even better is that the gifts get auto-generated Amazon suggestions, so you could end up doing all your shopping without ever leaving your house.
It comes with dollars and US Amazon as standard, and I totally thought I would just use the power of imagination to change the dollars to pounds, but it can be changed to a whole host of alternative currencies and Amazon stores.
It’s still utterly horrendous seeing the amount of money going out of your account, but this is the first Christmas ever where I’ve actually felt in control of my shopping. Now I just have to hope everyone likes the gifts.
- Andrew London is a laughable excuse for a human being, barely held together with string and sticky tape. In Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself he will be sharing with you the different technology that he uses to try and pass for a proper functioning person.
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Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.