With Christmas right around the corner, I know many of us are feeling the pressure of all the expenses that come along with it. Children and family to get gifts for, hosting and/or attending holiday parties, Christmas dinner, Christmas tree, holiday lighting, and decorations, it’s like the list goes on and on! Here are some helpful tips to make the season a little easier on the pockets and perhaps even bring a little more cheer to your family!

1. Have a Secret Santa
If you’ll be spending the holidays with friends and family, only needing to buy a gift for one person means less stress of figuring out gift ideas and less money you have to spend.

2. Only Give to the Children
Sometimes we do this in our family. We will only get gifts for each others’ kids and leave it at that. Setting a reasonable price point also means no one will feel they out-gifted the other and kids will feel it is fair.

3. Share the Dinner Responsibilities
Whether you are hosting a holiday party or Christmas dinner, set a budget for yourself and divvy up the responsibilities of cooking with others attending. If everyone brings a dish, that’s less work on you and better on your wallet.

4. Give Your Time
Instead of buying a gift, give the gift of your time. Does your sister need a favor done around the house? Maybe your parents need help cleaning the yard. Does someone need a carwash? You get the idea.

5. Make Your Own Decorations
Now I know not all of us make Pinterest-worthy projects but it’s a great place to look for ideas! Have fun making ornaments, cutting out snowflakes and making different decorations that will serve as a great memory and keepsake for years to come.

6. Wait Until January to Buy
We have saved tons of money by purchasing our Christmas decorations and even our fake tree AFTER the holidays! The markdowns are huge and a great way to save!

7. Make a Budget
This should go without saying but if you make a budget and stick to it you’ll be in much better shape than if you didn’t. Write a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for and allocate a part of your budget to each person. That way, you stick to your plan and don’t overspend.

8. Give Useful Gifts
This is best for husband and wife gifts. Is there something you need around the house? New dishes, maybe new towels? Wrapping, whatever it is, makes it just as exciting as anything else and everyone will get use out of it!

9. Set a Timer for Christmas Lights
Rather than turn on your lights when it starts getting dark and turning them off when you wake up, setting a timer will help you save on electricity. Who’s looking at your lights at 3 am anyway? My suggestion, keep them on for just a few hours each night.