UPDATE: Yesterday this post had a number of bad links. They have all been corrected. Apologies for the errors!
I rounded up all 22 relevant posts from this year and last on Christmas and divided them into four categories, including Gifts, Shopping Tips, Cutting Corners, And Everything Else.
- The gift card freebies and bonus this year are pretty incredible. Tons of retailers are throwing in extra $5 gift card when you buy a $25 gift card, or $10 when you buy $50. Just watch the expiration dates on the “bonus” gift cards, which are exempt from new federal laws that say gift cards cannot expire for at least five years.
- Stocking stuffers for your favorite clotheshorse or girl friend. They pair nicely with a gift card to a clothing store or an outfit you picked out.
- Five creative ways to wrap presents that include ideas you’ve never heard before, guaranteed.
- 10 last minute gifts from 2009 make thoughtful presents and this year’s top unusual gifts.
- One homemade gift idea is to make this recipe for lavender sugar body scrub. It leaves my skin super soft and refreshed, plus I love smelling like lavender. I found cute (and cheap) containers at Ikea, though most any glass jar will do. We have more thoughtful gift ideas (not all homemade), too. I plan to bake mini-loafs of pumpkin bread for many friends and neighbors this year.
- A rundown of this year’s most popular gifts by the percentage of shoppers who plan to buy.
- !Instead of traditional gift giving, why not try one of these five alternatives to giving presents that takes the pressure off your wallet and your time. My family has used the Secret Santa gift exchange for years!
- These tips to survive the mall at Christmas time are essential. I find shopping online a lot easier, but a lot of folks (understandably) want to see what they’re buying before they pay for it.
- Got a big purchase coming up? Here are the pros and cons of layaway. I prefer to save up for an item so that I can buy it in full. What about you?
- ! If you have a smart phone, here are the best Christmas shopping apps. All are free. You didn’t think I’d recommend a – gasp – paid app, did you?
- One of my favorite tricks to saving money on presents is to buy them with gift cards I’ve purchased below face value. If you act quickly, there is just enough time to buy a discounted gift card, have it shipped to you, buy the present and send it to the recipient. Giving them the actual gift card will save you a trip to the post office. Just make sure to check the balance before you gift it.
- ! Don’t be surprised how many gifts, decor, and holiday items are at the dollar stores. Take advantage of the savings like I did! I got 63 holiday cards for $4.50 plus tax. Not too shabby!
- Amazon is giving away 25 free holiday music (MP3s) and Target is giving away 13 free holiday music songs.
- !We’ve got the best holiday shipping deals and free shipping offers.
- ! Avoid overspending during the holidays with this series of questions and tips. With a little help, sticking to your budget is possible!
And everything else
- ! Pet care during the holidays is so expensive that you will be tempted to give up your furry friend. I highlight the pros and cons of your best seven options.
- ! Scrooges beware. This post on creating family holiday traditions will warm your frigid, coal-encased heart.
- ! Are you a fan of fake Christmas trees or real? I put up a fake tree this year for the first time ever and reluctantly admit that it’s not as bad as I thought. I am worried about health concerns, however. The debate rages on.
- ! We got four reasons to avoid store credit cards. The biggest one is because you’ll spend more!
- Save money on holiday photos, plain and simple.