Woman's Day November 17, 2009 issue had quite a few tips on how to save money around the holidays...I thought I would share some of my favorites but with my spin on them...(I can't find the article online or I would link to it.)
Shop for less...
in your house - I often have things I bought throughout the year to give as gifts and then forget about. So make sure you look around your house before you do any shopping to see who you already can mark off your list.
online - they said that if you can't touch it you are less likely to buy the $130 dollar scarf verses the $30 one you found online. So shopping online will save you money. Also find places that have free shipping or direct shipping of gifts to your recipients so that you save money on mailing.
craft fairs - handmade items that are beautiful, thoughtful and usually cost less. Also you can combine this one and the one above by shopping online at Etsy.com
thrift stores - It has to be the right item to me but I agree with this one. One year I found a really pretty necklace that I knew was the perfect style for a friend so got it for her.
Something not to spend money on...wrapping paper.
* We have tourist information not to far from us and we stop in often so I can pick up a free Colorado map to use in art. But this year I am going to wrap gifts in a map. I am going to circle where we are on it. Maybe do some decoration around it. And then I will put a tag on it that says something about from M & d in Colorado to....the names of the people getting it. I might print off a little section of map from where they live and make a tag out of that saying from Colorado to...whatever state they are in.
* I also had a couple beautiful calendars last year and the year before that I saved I think I will use them as wrapping paper and also to make bows like I described in the book review of Simply Green Giving.
* If you have kids, give them some blank pages of newsprint or other paper to draw on and use that to wrap gifts.
* Fabric - I have some cream colored muslin that I could use fabric paint on or I could hand stitch some holiday shapes such as stars, candy canes or stockings on it. Or just tie it up with a pretty holiday ribbon.
* Newspaper isn't my favorite wrapping - but if you do it so that the lines are crisp and decorate it with a pretty tag and bow then it can look stunning.
* Brown paper sacks with rubber stamping on them or cut out silver foil stars or last years greeting cards and glue on to it.
Reinvent your decor....by spending less then $10.
* lights - One year we went to a friends house that had a couple trees in their home but one tree was just lights and use an item she already had as a tree skirt...an antique silk shawl that I had seen her wear often but now looked so pretty as the tree skirt. When I was growing up my Mom put around the front door a string of lights and green garland (whatever she found cheapest - evergreen, pine...so on). And that simple decoration always gave a holiday glow that said home to me.
* music - playing music at home sets the mood for the whole house.
* family photos - Dig out the old holiday photos and replace the ones you have out right now with those. Buy some dollar store plain frames and apply red or green buttons on it. Or decoupage some gift wrap on to it. The holidays are about family so having those memories scattered throughout the house creates a great holiday decoration.
* fabric - hit the fat quarters and least inexpensive fabrics to make a table topper or cover over an existing pillow. I saw a really cute picture in Better Homes and Garden of a pillow covered with red fabric. They wrapped it up just like a package and then tied it with a pretty green ribbon. And had pretty pillow packages on the couch.
They had a lot of tips so I think I will split this into a 2 part post.