Set expectations now for gift giving
My family has already cut back on holiday present shopping. We switched to the one adult/one present method some years ago when it became clear all we were all doing was running around spending money we didn't have on presents no one really wanted (or needed). These days we pick a name to buy a present for and get that one person something they actually need or want (or do whatever else the person wants with that money, like make a donation).
If you don't have the fund this year to go all out shopping for the holidays, set the expectations now with family and friends. Talk about how you can all save time, money and your sanity with a plan to spend less while still enjoying the time together during the holidays.
Maybe this is the year to try home made gifts or offer your time or skills to someone who'd rather have your help than an actual gift item. Make up a little note like: this certificate entitles the holder to one home cooked meal or redeem this certificate for an afternoon's help cleaning/organizing...
I almost always do some sort of combination of bought things and homemade things. Lately I'm in the DIY (Do It Yourself) mood and I find people appreciate those gifts more, i.e., baking cookies, sewing up something simple, even making a card.
Last year my husband and I tallied up what we had spent for Christmas and could not believe the total! So this summer I canned jams and syrups to give as Christmas gifts. I really enjoy my time in the kitchen and giving gifts. This covers both nicely.
What a great idea!! With advance notification, all gift recipients will be aware of what to expect, and not be disappointed when that luxury "something special" isn't under the tree! Personally made presents feel like they come from the heart --they mean a lot more than store bought any day -- just like home baked goodies always taste so-o-o good and yummy! Love and caring has been included!