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How Trello Keeps Me Sane With Holiday Gift-Giving

Most people have Christmas traditions related to putting up trees/decorations or going caroling or baking cookies with family and friends. One of my Christmas traditions revolves around the creation of a couple of Trello boards, as that is what officially kicks off the season. 

You might think it's too soon to be writing about Christmas, but let me tell you - just blink and it's going to be here. In fact, the Danes kick off their Christmas season the first Friday in November. Stay vigilant, it's coming!

If I want to be ready, I need my Trello boards. So here's a handy write up of the main ways I use Trello to manage the holidays and make them as stress-free as possible, specifically related to shopping and gift-giving. 

The Christmas Shopping List

My most useful board is my Christmas Shopping List where I keep track of all the gift-buying I need to do. I've been doing this for a couple of years, and now I don't know how I ever used anything else. 

Each card is a person I need to shop for and the board flows linearly with lists for each stage of the process:

  • People who need a gift
  • People who have been partially purchased (I like giving multiple gifts :) )
  • People who I am done shopping for
  • People whose gifts are wrapped and ready to be delivered


It's an easy way to figure out exactly what I still need to do for my Christmas shopping. 

For each card, I use the comments and description or attachments to jot down any ideas I have about what to get that person, along with any other notes. This is a helpful way to collaborate with my husband who is not much of a shopper, but occasionally offers useful feedback on things to get his family. He can easily go in and add ideas to a card for what to get a person, and then I can take action and make it happen.

I used to assign him to specific cards so we split up the shopping process and he knew who to buy for, but let's just say I do it more efficiently (read: better), so now I just let him provide input. :)

But it doesn't end there... I do a little extra to make the board even more powerful. 

Like most of us in the 21st century, I shop online for many of my gifts (if not all of them). And I find the Package Tracker Power-Up extremely helpful for keeping up with where all of my gifts are. All i have to do is type in the tracking number and select the carrier, and my card will populate updates as they become available so I can always tell where an item is!



I also like to use the Custom Fields Power-Up and the Number Stats Power-Up to keep track of my spending (although, you could use it for a variety of things!)

Just create a custom number field for "Budget" and another custom number field for "Actual". I update the budget when I first create the card, and then I update the "Actual" with how much I spent on this person as I go.

When I want to see my total spending (vs my budget), I just click the number stats in the top right corner of the board, and it shows me everything summed up.  I can easily compare my budget of spend to how much I've actually spent. (Spoiler alert - it's always over! I really like buying things for people!)



(Running low on power-ups? You can also use a Chrome Extension called "Scrum for Trello". It has a feature that will let you add numbers to brackets [ ] and parenthesis ( ) in a card title and it will sum up all those amounts at the top of the list.)

Feel free to copy my template and create your own version here.


My Christmas Wishlist

My other handy holiday board is my Christmas wishlist.


It's just a simple public board where I list out everything I want. It's easier than Pinterest or Amazon wishlists or anything else I've found, because...

1) Not everyone in my family is on Pinterest, and no account is needed to view a public Trello board.

2) I can update this in real-time (I used to have to send an email in November... and hope that was all I wanted, but now I can update this when I think of new things!).

3) It's platform/link agnostic. I used to use Amazon wishlists but you can't link to thinks outside of Amazon. Here I can link to anything I find on the internet, or even share a picture of something I find in-store at Target.

4) I can add details about items. Instead of just providing a link, I can detail the color or size I want, or any additional details!


This year I created different lists to make it easier for friends and family to sort through, something I could also achieve with labels. 

My next improvement will be finding a way to anonymously mark something as purchased where I can't see it, but anyone else looking at the board can. Ie, my mom can look and see that something has been purchased so she shouldn't buy it. Typically my family just communicates amongst themselves, but I wish I could find an easier way to do this in Trello, while hiding all the activity from the board creator - me! If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

Check out my wishlist, and feel free to copy and make a version for yourself. (Or if you have been wondering what to get for your favorite Trello nerd, now you know as this is not a copy - this is my actual wishlist.)

So what do you think? I hope you find this useful, and I'd love to hear about other holiday boards that people use that I can add to my Trello Holiday Collection!



Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Oct 22, 2019

And here I've been using pen and paper like a lowly peasant... Thanks @Brittany Joiner!  I have something new to try this year!

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I just upgraded from "remembering what I bought" to using Google Sheets. In hindsight - I don't know why I neglected to pull in Trello instead.

Thanks for the insight @Brittany Joiner !

Now, onto building a better Xmas tracking system...

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Monique vdB Community Manager Oct 22, 2019

This. Is. Brilliant. 

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Time to create a family Christmas Trello board :) will make the question of 'what do you want for Christmas' all the more easier to supply! Thanks for the tip

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Excellent!   I'm already using Trello for my various home 'to do' lists so holiday shopping and planning will be a perfect on new board for me to track progress.  Maybe I'll even get everything done before Christmas Eve this year!

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Brittany you never cease to amaze me, this is fabulous! Thanks for sharing :)

Like Deepanshu Natani likes this
Monique vdB Community Manager Nov 19, 2019

@Brittany Joiner I am following your lead! I am doing checklists for the individual gifts but I like the idea of "Partially done."  Thanks for the inspo!

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 2.15.03 PM.png

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I love that you do snail mail holiday cards Mo, I do too! :) It is something I look forward to every year :) I also do the 12 days of More Love Letters, here's the link if you are interested. You can sign up to receive a different letter request for 12 days, the stories are always touching and heartwarming and I love sending love, support and encouragement to a stranger in need of some kindness to brighten their year:

Like Deepanshu Natani likes this

I'm sad I am seeing this so late but this is awesome! I will definitely need to do this too! 

Like Deepanshu Natani likes this

Great post Brittany!

My wife and I use Trello extensively for planning our Christmas / Birthday shopping etc

I recently launched a Power-Up for this exact purpose, it will pull prices out of any links you have in your Trello cards (Amazon, eBay, Etsy etc) and show you totals by lists, you can have multiple links per card :) 

I'd love to get some feedback!



Like Monique vdB likes this

Hi Brittany Joiner

Very good. Thank you for sharing.



Monique vdB Community Manager Nov 26, 2019

@eddieblundell that is so cool! Is there a way to manually add a number too?

Thanks @Monique vdB !

Price Checker doesn't currently support manually adding prices at the moment, but it's something we'd like to add sooner than later

If you have any other questions or feedback we'd love to hear- :) 

Mirek Community Leader Nov 27, 2019

That is inspiring! Thank you for sharing the idea @Brittany Joiner . I am starting my Christmas gift journey right now and already created a board for that ;) 

Thanks @Brittany Joiner for sharing. Lot of tips that I can use to run my T-shirt side hustle. "You had me at Trello"


Esme Crutchley Community Leader Dec 01, 2019

Thank you for sharing this, I thought I might be having a funny turn when I decided to have a board specifically for this!

I decided to create an 'Annual Celebrations' board, so that I have all birthday's and Christmas on one board, so that when family/friends/children say that they want something, I can add it to the board so I don't forget, and also so that I can add interesting gifts to the board, even if I'm not sure who I want to get them for (I've also been told that this is helpful for Secret Santa gifts).

So I have a whole Board and the first few lists look like this:

Screenshot 2019-12-01 at 22.36.31.pngSo these are things that I like that I need to keep an eye on, sort of like having bookmarks, or Amazon Wish Lists - but better!

Then I have a list per person that I'd like to buy things for:

Screenshot 2019-12-01 at 22.37.47.pngSo when someone specifically says that they like something, I'll pop it in their list, then when it comes to birthdays or Christmas, I already have a list WITH links! 

Utterly brilliant, and I'm so pleased you mentioned it and I don't feel quite so weird that I have a whole board for it!

Like Monique vdB likes this
Monique vdB Community Manager Dec 02, 2019

@Esme Crutchley I have a Google doc that I use for this but it is not as pretty or as well-organized as this Trello board! I love this!

Like Esme Crutchley likes this

Definitely going to try that out.



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