The Season of Lists, Lists and More Lists

November 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

‘Tis the season my friends for all those constantly updated annual lists to come into play. Frankly, by now you should be at least halfway through the gift buying cycle for everyone on your employer’s gift list, holidays cards should be at the printer, and final lists approved. And if you’re not yet kicked into high gear just wait until Monday! Right after the Thanksgiving holiday is when everyone gets the wake up call that they better get busy.

Back around September all these lists were dusted off, given to the employer for approval and gift decisions. Additions and deletions were made and depending on your employer, you may have made the gift buying suggestions, be the buyer yourself and some of you may have a gift buyer or personal shopper make a presentation and the gifts will be handled by them. (You lucky ducks!)  I used to be personally responsible for 300 personal gifts and another 200 corporate gifts in addition to my regular monthly responsibilities. I hated the holidays. And now, to the utter dismay of my teenage daughter, I can honestly say I loathe the mall, and see shopping in Beverly Hills as a sentence worst than the plague. But I digress.

Here are the lists I keep which I do update throughout the year.

Suggested Additions List

           This is the list we start out with of who has come into my employers life the past year that may go onto any of the lists below. Maybe the past year they were in construction and have a contractor or subcontractor to add, have a new employee, someone in the family has a new baby, or if they are in the movie industry, they have a new movie family depending on which project(s) they are working on at that time.

 Christmas Gift List

This is a database that lists the names, relationships (vendor, family, friend), level of gift designated (small, med, large), card message, method of delivery (local or shipping, hand deliver or runner), what was given the years prior and who is handling the purchase.

Christmas Gift List for the Gift Buyer

The same as above but additions are updated (in red) with the date of the change, has addresses and phone numbers (for deliveries), and the method of delivery is important so they know if they are gift wrapping for shipping or hand delivery, shows the date I want the gifts received, and after the holidays lists the final costs of each gift including delivery (for tax purposes later).

 Christmas Card List (Personal)

This database contains the name, address, relationship and if they will also receive a gift or donation to a charity on the recipient’s behalf. Usually everyone on the Christmas gift list is on one of the holiday card lists. (Note on card lists: if your printer is busy to get to the fancy 4-color card you’re printing, try to get the envelopes printed in advance so you can start addressing. Usually they always have a press running black ink. Back in the day a calligrapher had to have them weeks in advance. Now we label or laser print them but the sooner the better. Stuffing is the easy part.)

 Christmas Card List (Business)

This database contains the name, address, relationship and each will usually receive a gift card inserted in their holiday card letting them know a donation has been made to a charity on their behalf.

Employee Bonus Lists (coordinate getting the checks w/the gifts and cards)

This lists the employee, relationship and amount they will receive as a bonus (at least amount equal to one weeks salary), and what they received years prior.

So you can see, the gift season is ongoing and really begins long before September. For example, the charity has to be picked, charity cards designed and printed, monetary amount designated to donate, photos taken for personal holiday cards, addresses accurate, calls made to find out who is in town and who isn’t, corporate and office gifts that are perishable coordinated for delivery a week before their holiday closure, and we aren’t even talking about the personal gift buying yet!

The most important gifts you will buy will be for your employer’s immediate family and the people your employer works for. I recommend paying attention to the gifts your employer gives for birthdays (the monthly birthday list will be discussed in a later blog) as well as honing a taste for what the individuals close to them like. If you don’t know them personally, they have an assistant who can clue you into if they collect anything, have a favorite artist, author, wine, etc. Successful gift buying is your ability to pay attention to what people like and not what you want to give. (Gift buying blog to come.)

One thing I can recommend now that I have a little distance between myself and being on the exhausting front lines of the season is to enjoy the ambiance. As much as I don’t like Beverly Hills, even I must admit, there is such beautiful scenery and spirit in Beverly Hills and in all the shopping outlets that is not there at any other time of the year–trust me it isn’t! The holiday music is playing, the air is crisp, the retail people seem nicer, and the decorations are bright, sparkling and inviting.  Like everything else in life, stop, take a breath and appreciate it.

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