Make a cash spending plan and stick to it:
I heard that the majority of people buy at least one extra thing for themselves while they are out Christmas shopping. Plus, people tend to spend extra money on snacking, stocking stuffers, and extra gifts for the kids. Staying out of the stores during the Christmas season can really help. I make my list and try to order as much online as I can, avoiding the whole Christmas spending excitement that is going on in the stores.
Cut back on presents:
This year, we are cutting back on the amount of individual presents that the kids get and getting some group gifts that all the children can share. I also like to take some of the emphasis off of presents and put it on our Family's Christmas Traditions.
Make the recession work for you:
Because we are officially in a recession, you can announce that you are cutting back on Christmas spending this year. Plus, many stores are having great sales. But only buy the sale items if they are on your spending plan.
Last year, my kids knew that they were going to be getting new jackets. But, we waited until the beginning of January to go buy them. We got a $100 jacket for $20 at J.C. Penney's, a $40 jacket for $15 at Kmart, and a $35 jacket for $5 at Wal-Mart. There are lots of year end clearance deals.
Try giving unique gifts:
You can do a weird gift exchange, give gadgets, something from a craft fair, make your own Gift Basket or Box of Themed Gifts, get something off of Ebay that represents an old memory for someone. Just make sure that your unique gift is also an affordable one.
Fill Christmas day with fun activities:
If there are going to be less presents under the tree to play with, then plan to keep the kids busy on Christmas day with family activities - have a Christmas devotion, go caroling in the neighborhood, invite people over, have brunch, make Christmas dinner together, volunteer, watch a Christmas movie, make crafts, play Christmas games, drive around looking at lights, look at old Christmas photos, call up relatives, talk about Christmas memories, do an outdoor activity together, have a family slumber party near the lighted Christmas tree, have a treasure hunt for a group gift and then play with it, take a walk together or play in the snow, make birthday cakes for Jesus, or decorate an outdoor tree for the animals.
Next year, set aside and save a little bit of money each month in a Christmas fund. Get presents through out the year when you find them on sale.