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5-Minute Gift ListMy mother-in-law is serious about gift-giving. If we’re to remain in her good graces, our holiday wish list must be in her inbox no later than December 1st.

Every year this poses quite a challenge for my wife and I. Jen is a physics professor and typically gives a test the week before Thanksgiving. That means she’s writing tests, then grading, then “taking a break” to cook Thanksgiving dishes for friends. Once Thanksgiving is over, she jumps right into the last couple weeks of teaching, grading more papers and preparing for finals.

Of course, my schedule isn’t much better. I like to have some sense of closure in my business before the holidays. I don’t like having to check my phone or email while catching up with friends and family. So I go into “task list completion overdrive” about mid-November.

To compound the issue, we’re at a point in our lives where we don’t want for much… except more time for friends and adventure.

So I figured out a nifty trick a couple of years ago that has made the annual gift list a snap.

In fact, it’s so simple I’m guessing many of you already do it.

As the months go by, things come across my radar that sound interesting but wouldn’t add any real value to my life at the moment I notice them. So I bookmark them in a special folder titled “Gifts.”

As you might have guessed, when the time comes to produce the gift list I just spend 5 minutes paring down and prioritizing the list.


As an added bonus, this method completely circumvents our “impulse buy” tendencies. Go ahead, get excited when you see it. Put it on the list. Guess what? 6 months later you’ll know if it’s something you really want in your life.