1. Send letters. If you regularly send Christmas cards, think about sending letters instead. With that extra cash saved, you can include an extra picture in every letter or just save the money to buy yourself a Christmas gift.
2. Send post cards. You can also send post cards to save on postage.
3. Buy decorations after the holiday season and save them for next year. You will save big with all the sales going on.
4. Buy less expensive gifts. Try Amazon.com, Overstock, or many other online retailers for some great deals. Make sure to compare prices with something like Google Shopping before you buy though as there may be a better deal out there.
5. Set a budget. If you set a budget and stick to it you will save a lot of money you otherwise would have wasted during your spontanious shopping spree. You can even set aside some money every money of the year to spend on Christmas gifts for your friends and family.
6. Do a gift exchange like Secret Santa with people you regularly hang out with. Set a limit, exchange names, and have fun. Also, many families do Secret Santa to relieve some of the holiday stress.
7. Make an agreement with others to buy less expensive gifts or no gifts at all. If I’m in need I will agree with people to buy less expensive gifts as I feel that not buying gifts at all is a little depressing.
8. Make your own gifts. You would be surprised at the amount of things you can make. You can make picture albums, picture frames, knitted scarves, cookies or other baked goods, a mix CD with music picked out just for that person, a digital slideshow, a pot with a seed and soil, homemade gift certificates/coupons (e.g., one free back rub, one free car wash, etc.), and many more things. Making your own gifts really shows you care.
9. Buy used. Sometimes this one can be tricky because used gifts may not look as good and it may look like you are cheap. Just shop smart and buy gifts that look as good as new. If buying online, make sure to read the full description. If buying from a garage sale or thrift store, make sure to play around with the item enough to make sure it is fully functional.
10. Give used. Some things like books you read once and may never touch again. Why not give these things as gifts. This is a great idea with books that you truly enjoyed.
11. Regift gifts. Like the above, this option is a little tricky. If you received a gift you did not like, you can give it to someone else. Just be sure the person who gave you the gift does not find out or else he or she may be offended.
12. Wrap gifts with magazine paper or the comics section of the Sunday newspaper. People are going to throw away the wrapping paper anyway so you might as well use something recycled.