1. Create a budget and stick to it. Decide what your total limit is, and then use that number to decide how much you can spend on everyone on your list.
2. Shop online for bargains. With a little research, you can find store items for as much to 40 percent off online.
3. Go to craft fairs and holiday markets. You may be able to get 2-for-1 deals and special concessions if you bargain with individual artists or craftsmen.
4. Have a potluck. Ask everyone on your guest list to prepare a particular food or drink. Then, gather at one house for the meal. Or, create a progressive dinner by traveling from house to house for each course.
5. Draw names out of a hat. Rather than worry about getting presents for every niece, nephew and cousin, put all the names in a hat and divvy up the present-buying responsibility among the adults in your family, so each person is only responsible for one present.
6. Make decorations with your family. Popcorn garlands, glittery pine cones and homemade wreaths not only are economical, they’re fun and easy crafts kids will enjoy helping you with. For ideas, go to crafts.kaboose.com or marthastewart.com.
7. Skype call relatives. If you go to Skype.com, start a profile and download the software, you can call anyone else on Skype for free from your computer. Mobile versions for your cell phone also are available. And if you have a webcam, that means your out-of-town relatives will be able to see as well as hear you.