Yes, I start my Christmas shopping insanely early. This works out better for me because then I don't end up in a complete frenzy at the last minute trying to find "the perfect gift." Some years there is a "perfect gift," but some years there just isn't. I've learned to accept that.
My buying list keeps getting larger, because my siblings keep having children. I'm happy to be an aunt, but it's one more person to buy for. Thus, I start early. These are the people I buy for:
1. My brother's four kids (3 girls and a boy) and his step daughter.
2. My sister's son (and after December, her daughter).
3. My mom
4. My grandma (only grandparent left)
5. My other sister, H, sometimes, if we agree to it. (just something small, usually)
6. My secretary
7. A few other secretaries at work, with whom I've worked with a lot over the past year
8. Some of the attorneys and associates I work with
Here's where I am in the process:
1. Three of my brother's kids are done. My one niece wanted stuff from Justice, so I got her an outfit, a purse, and a sequined scarf. They had 40% off everything the day I did it, so I kept it around $50, which is what I spend on each of them. (It slowly gets out of control if I spend more than that, and I spend around the same for their birthdays each year, so I think they are good.) My other niece got an outfit from Aeropostale, and a scarf and mitten/gloves. My nephew (who has Asperger's) got a electrical funky flashlight and a Chicago Bears sweatshirt (he loves lights and orange.) So, that leaves his other daughter and his step daughter. Step daughter is 18, so she will probably just get cash. I'm not sure yet what I'll get his other daughter, since his wife can never give me any ideas. Maybe a Wii game or something. By contrast, his ex-wife, the mother of the other three, quickly gave me all their sizes and wants. She rocks.
2. My sister's son is partially done or possibly done. I got him Toy Story 3 and Toy Story on DVD. He is two and can't take his eyes off those movies. (My sister took him to see Toy Story 3 at the theatre -- he was about 1 2/3, and he sat there and watched the entire thing!) I got him clothes for his birthday that just passed, and he has a ton of toys. I may pick up an extra set of Lincoln Logs for him, since my mom got him one of their sets, and she thinks he might need some more logs. Man, are those things ever expensive. My mom tells me it is because they are real wood. Huh. The baby already got her clothes, so she is done.
3. My grandma is done. She gets a renewal to her National Enquirer subscription. (Don't laugh, that costs like $100 for the year!) And she loves it. Frankly, it makes it very easy for me because I have no idea what else I would get her.
4. My sister H got my old car. So, she is good for the next three or four years on gifts!
So, that leaves all the rest. I might just give my secretary cash, at the risk of looking tacky. I usually spend about $500 on her, in the form of a small gift and gift cards. Maybe I'll just get her a small gift (so she has something to open) and then $500 cash. I don't suspect you can go wrong with cash. The other secretaries I usually do one of Lush's gift sets or something like that, so I can pick those up anytime over the next month. Or maybe I'll just give them gift cards this year. It seems lazy, but I'd rather get them something they can use. If they are like me, they have a ton of that body crap laying around already. The attorneys are a little harder, but I may do a bottle of wine or something like that. There are a few who I have some specific jokey stuff in mind. But hey, I've got some time! My mom, I have no idea. I'll think of something.
Oh, and I also do a "letters to Santa" type drive every year, so I have a kid to buy for in that area, which I also already ordered his gifts off Amazon. So, also done with that one.
At any rate, the process is at least begun.
These are the people I will get a gift from: (1) my mom; (2) my secretary; (3) a few of the secretaries; and (4) some of the attorneys at my office. Despite that I spend quite a bit of money on their kids year after year, my brother and sister never think to send me a little gift. (I mean, seriously, get me a $10 gift card from iTunes or something, that would be fine. Just acknowledge that I don't have a family of my own to buy me gifts.) My grandma is the cheapest woman on earth, so she might send me a pair of socks or $5 or something. (Not kidding about the $5. It's so comical.) But she is what she is, and I don't really care when it comes to her. For me, it really is about the giving, but it kind of baffles me that neither of my siblings ever gives any thought to getting me something when I am spending quite a bit on their kids each year and they don't ever have to reciprocate in any way. After my sister finally had her son two years ago, it occurred to her that maybe she should buy presents for my brother's kids. I mean, duh, they are your nieces and nephews!