Nothing Says Holiday Magic Like a Christmas Spreadsheet


The countdown to Christmas is on. Shopping days are dwindling. Hopefully everyone is almost done. I know that I am. I know this because I double-checked my Christmas spreadsheet last night.

I started keeping a Christmas spreadsheet sixteen years ago after discovering how overwhelming adulting can be during the holidays. On a side note, I was also a new accounting major looking for any excuse to practice my spreadsheet-making skills. The Christmas spreadsheet is where I keep track of:

  1. presents bought,
  2. spending per person,
  3. and gift ideas for people that I have yet to buy for.


I keep the spreadsheet in Google Sheets. This way, I can have it open in a separate tab when I shop online and have it with me (in app version) when shopping at brick and mortar stores. The Google Sheets app is available through both iTunes and Google Play.

The setup is basic:  one column for name, one for the total spent, and one to list gifts purchased. I update the spreadsheet after each shopping trip – real or virtual. This way I always know where I stand with my Christmas shopping and always have a running tab of what I’ve spent so far.

Christmas Spreadsheet 2

You can personalize your spreadsheet however you want. I highlight each person’s name as I finish shopping for them so that I can see at a glance who I have left to buy for. I also have another tab that lists ideas and gifts that I still need to purchase.

Not sold on the idea? Sound like a waste of time? Miserly? Here’s why I do it:

  • It allows me to keep a running tab of total expenditures for the season. Maybe you have more restraint, but I can do some serious damage when I go Christmas shopping. Having to enter the dollar amounts in a spreadsheet at the end of the day keeps me accountable.
  • Old Christmas spreadsheets are great for generating gift ideas in subsequent years. If I don’t know what to get someone, I go back and see what I bought them in previous years. Maybe they like a particular book series or brand of perfume.
  • Some people are hard to buy for. Some are easy. Keeping this spreadsheet ensures that I don’t go overboard on my mom, while my dad only has a pack of socks to open on Christmas day.


Let me know in the comments below how you keep track of your Christmas shopping list. Please subscribe and share if you liked this post.