I am a world-class procrastinator, and I am terrible at coming up with presents on a given date, for example CHRISTMAS. This is a lethal combination and leads to a lot of heartburn. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution and thought someone else might benefit from it: the Gift Closet!

The Gift Closet sounds magical, but it really isn’t. I’ve just realized in the past few months that this is a real thing for me and not just a weird habit of stockpiling. Here are some kinds of things I keep in there:

  • Cute or interesting items I find when we travel. (For example the lovely cashmere fingerless gloves I bought in Shanghai, or woolens from London.)
  • Great “gifty” items I buy in bulk when they are marked down on sites like Joss & Main–some gorgeous French candles are a great example of those. I’ve pilfered a couple of them but they are so pretty I’m sure it is okay!
  • Handknits that I make for the pure enjoyment of knitting, but with no planned recipient. We can only use so many hats and cowls in my house, you know? I also happen to keep all of my “extra” jams and preserves in there. Ginger-Peach preserves make a great hostess gift.

This crazy closet has really saved me on several occasions, and I’ve found this month that I actually am relying on it. Why?

First, I have great gifts on hand. On. Hand. Like, in my house and I don’t have to order anything or sweat it out that I’ll get time to shop and I’ll actually find something. The gifts are no less great just because I didn’t purchase or make them with the recipient in mind. I chose the gift for them.

I can make things for pure enjoyment and not worry that I won’t make a deadline or that it won’t suit the recipient. No pressure!

Also, I can be really picky about what goes in the closet, choosing the most lovely things and not settling for what is in front of me in the only store I could get to right this second.

It really is a little like shopping a terrific, eclectic boutique stocked only with items you like. How often does that happen?!

You can also expand this idea to keep toys on hand for the last-minute birthday party invitation. It’s a great way to take advantage of fun toys that are on sale. Thinking back, I used to do this a little bit throughout the years. When one of the girls was about five, I found several pop-up tents on the clearance shelf at Target. Awesome gifts for several little girls in the next year or two, and it was totally stress free.

The hardest part for me is actually pulling the trigger and making the purchase. It is a lot easier to leave my handknits in there than it is to fork over my money for an item that has no known recipient. But I’ve benefitted a lot this year from buying ahead, so I’m going to have to get over that and purchase a few new things. I wonder what I’ll come up with?

Do you have anything that helps reduce your stress around gift-giving? Please share!