Keep a Gift Log

Logging all of the things - it really helps.

When I was in high school, I found a “Little Irish Birthday Book” on the clearance rack of the bookstore. The book was simply a list of every day that occurs in a year, so you can write a name. With this little book, my gift logging was born. I started entering in every person who I met. When I gave a gift, I would add an entry under their name with the year and what I sent and a smiley face if they liked it - I did not realize I was ahead of my time with the whole emoji thing. I found out that it could only hold a few years of information and it had no good place for me to track what I was receiving, which I started to be curious about.

With the proliferation of smart things - phones, watches, lights, etc., we are logging more and more of our lives. If you keep up with bullet journalling, you may notice that people also track moods, sleep, instagram posts, and more. Applying the tried and true method of logging to gifting will, wait for it, change your life. I’m not kidding - rather than bore you with a litany of reasons why you should be logging your gifting, I’ll keep it to 3 reasons you should be keeping a gift log and then a quick How to keep a gift log.

Three reasons you should be keeping a gift log

1. Magnify Gratitude

Keeping a log of things helps us not only to remember the past but also to be more aware of the present. I put this first because it is so powerful. It only takes a second to write down a description of what someone gave to you, just flip through your log (if you are keeping one) or put it in your journal. Research shows that we will be even more thankful if we write down specific things about the gift that we like - so, go crazy with the details!

2. Know What They Like

Once, I gave a friend a funny joke mug that I thought she would like, but it turned out that she had a full set of pottery made by her grandfather and simply did not use any other dishes. That’s the kind of thing that you learn over time. I made a note in my book never to do it again. Another time, I found out about a baby shower a little late and ended up arriving only with some fancy chocolates for the Mom. She loved them so much that I gave her the same chocolates in different settings for the few years we lived close. Keeping track of what people do and do not respond to is helpful for you to make people happy. Also - making people happy makes us happy - it’s like a happy bouncy thing.

3. Never Repeat a Gift

Have you ever gotten the exact same set of cat stickers from someone two gifts in a row? No? Well, I have. It is weird because clearly you like cat stickers, who doesn’t but maybe you didn’t use up the last roll yet! Don’t be that person. When you track what you gift someone, it is so easy to avoid this because you can see everything that you have ever gifted them. Some gifts are great for repeats, like coffee dates or movie tickets, but physical items are mostly good for one go.

How to Keep a Gift Log

You can keep your gift log anywhere. I recommend a dedicated notebook. It can be a physical notebook or a digital one.

Here’s one way to set up your gift log notebook. First, count the number of pages and divide the total by 12, and the result is the number of pages per month (120 pages means 10 pages per month). You can write little page numbers in the bottom if you want to have an index, but then you need to subtract one from the total because it will be the index :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. I’d put a little labeled tab and the name of the month on the first page. I’d like to pretend it is all artsy, but I use block letters. After you label each month, you have 9 pages to work with. For most months, this will last years and years.

You just put in the person’s name and their birthdate, like “Amy (7/30)”. This starts Amy’s block. Generally, I put one person on a page to start a month. If you have more than nine people you are giving gifts to, good for you! Under each name, just add a year and a description. In my example, Amy and I are just exchanging birthday gifts, but you can add little tags, like “Christmas” or “Nurses Day” to keep a more complicated log.

We’d love to see your journal. We follow #bettergifting on Instagram for things like this, or send us an email.


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