November 8, 2007, 7:00 am

5 Tricks To Save Money On Christmas Gifts

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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spidermand christmas
Last week, I was running from one house to another with my son for Halloween. I was flabbergasted when I saw this house with a ton of Christmas decorations. My kid is looking for Halloween stuff like monsters, tombstone and head rolling all over the place, not reindeers, snowman and some old guys in red! In fact, I was looking for the monsters and all the gore stuff, my son was terrified when he encountered older children dressed like that ;-).
Nonetheless, Christmas gift hunting should start in November, so please let children enjoy Halloween before they get to this huge commercial schemes (or should I say great Christian Holliday?). Anyway, it is now the time to think about Christmas gifts as it figures to be the biggest wallet killer! In fact, the first thing you should do in November, is to look at your RRSP. Then, you can think about Christmas presents. This year, I am trying to find frugal ideas to save some money. Here is what I found so far:

#1 Plan your gifts in advance

By planning your gifts list in advance, you will be in a better position to establish a realistic budget and you will not be caught off guards on December 23rd, buying anything you see at any price just to make sure you find something for everybody. While planning in advance, you have also great chances to be able to get your gifts with unexpected rebates. Most goods go on sale either on November to warm up the consumers for Christmas or in January in order to compensate for the after Christmas drop.

#2 Initiate a gift exchange system with your family and friends

A few years ago, we instigate the gift exchange process with my in-laws as nobody had much money for gift on that specific year. So instead of buying ten gifts and be ruined at the end of the month, everybody had picked-up a name from a hat and had one gift to buy. You will not only save money, but you will also have more time to buy your gift. Therefore, you can be more creative and find the perfect gift for the person you have chosen.

#3 Pictures are always an appreciated gift

That is a trick when you do not know what to buy to grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts. Have you ever noticed that they always mention they do not see you enough? So get with you family into a photo session for about $40 and then by nice picture frame. You will not spend more than $10 per person and everybody will be so happy to receive nice pictures of you and your family. The only bad thing about it is that you are not likely repeat the same process the next year ๐Ÿ˜‰

#4 Get together for a bigger gift

I always have a hard time finding something for my father. This guy just buys whatever he wants whenever he wants! After several years, it became more and more complicated to find something he would like without breaking my piggy bank. I now combine my effort with my mother and other relatives to buy him a bigger gift. It will individually cost less to everybody as we pool together and he will receive something he was looking for. It is definitely a great trick for those who has everything.

#5 Make homemade basket

I got this idea from a colleague of mine. As both him and his spouse have a big family, they decided to make their own basket. The whole family get in the kitchen and prepare homemade chocolate, jam, candies and put this together in a beautiful basket. The children can add a little drawing and he even got the idea of making his own wine and give a bottle per family. We do not know yet if the wine is drinkable but if it is, it will be a great gift. He just has to be the dedicated test drinker for the first bottle ๐Ÿ˜‰

I did not want to make an exhausting list as I am sure that you have some trick of yours. Feel free to leave them in the comment section!

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My trick is to cut out the gift exchange altogether…I think it’s a stupid tradition which doesn’t really work for the adults in the family. Now we just buy for the kids.


I really like the Gift Exchange idea. Especially from a size perspective. As you get older, the “little gifts” don’t matter as much.

Where a $20 gift was really cool, it’s now just “something you could’ve bought yourself”. After this big shift we actually took 7 of us, did the name exchange and set a $100 limit. Instead of $50 * 5 = $250 (not including spouse), the spouse and I will spend $200 total (so little bit of savings).

However, the big thing is that we’ll give and receive “better” gifts while spending less time in the mall. Honestly, I’ll probably end up using #5 too as it’s a great way to give someone “lots of gifts” and to leverage time instead of money to add value to the gift.

Bien Fait FB! ๐Ÿ™‚

by: The Financial Blogger | November 8th, 2007 (9:09 pm)

FP, I really like to see the face of people when they open one of my gift. It is always a great feeling to offer something to someone that you love. This is why I really like the gift exchange. I don’t think that Christmas should be for kids only. As adults, we should be allowed to believe in Santa Clause too!

Gates, thx for your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I will try #5 this year too!

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great suggestions! here’s another option to add to #3, instead of putting a picture in a frame you can pick up a coffee tumbler at starbucks that can be customized with a picture of your choice.

Hard to believe Christmas is already around the corner. I am ready for some Thanksgiving turkey though.

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