Image courtesy magazineart.org
1. The thrift store is your friend. We are okay, in our immediate family, and also with my in-laws, with giving thrift store gifts. Sometimes you can find the perfect gift there that you'd never be able to find elsewhere!
2. Make your own gifts and decorations. If you're uncomfortable giving gifts straight from the thrift store, you could repurpose thrifted (or on-hand) materials to make new gifts—I want to make these teacup candles and sweater mittens.
3. Buy seasonal items after Christmas. Running low on wrapping paper? Wishing for the perfect front-door wreath? You can get seasonal items up to 90% off after the holidays. Several years ago we bought an artificial tree at a steep discount after Christmas; last year I got huge, high-quality rolls of wrapping paper for a dollar apiece. Sometimes you can find wrapping paper that will work for other occasions—I found rolls of sage plaid paper that do perfectly well for weddings and birthdays. This year I will be keeping a list of things I want to pick up after this Christmas—for next year.
4. Give fewer gifts. Gift-giving is fun, but perhaps you could simplify life and save money by buying fewer gifts. In our extended family, we draw names, so there are fewer gifts given. Most people have too much stuff anyway!
5. It's the thought that counts. Want to give teacher or neighbor gifts? To me, these gifts are less about giving big, impressive gifts and more about expressing your thanks and thoughtfulness. I think a few homemade cookies are just as acceptable as something that might cost more.
What do you do to save time and money at Christmastime?