To keep the holiday spirit without the expense, Archuleta and Britt suggest a gift drawing, secret Santa, or a white elephant gift exchange. These activities can become new traditions to help everyone feel loved and come home with a gift. “Families are usually open to do different things to accommodate people, but they may not consider making changes until someone starts the conversation,” Archuleta said. “So, a person could say, ‘I don’t know that it’s doable for everyone in our family to bring a gift for everyone, but what if we tried something new?’” The financial planners said it is likely others are thinking the same thing, so the discussion may help everyone breathe a little easier as they envision next year’s holidays. Think thrifty. Holidays are a special time to celebrate, but Britt said the joy can turn to frustration when people let the season’s excitement lead them to overspend. “Going into debt for a single day just seems ridiculous, because then people are stressing themselves out trying to pay it off for the first several months of the year,” she said. “By the time it’s paid off, some people don’t even remember what they received.” To give affordably, Archuleta and Britt advise giving crafts made by children or writing sincere letters to loved ones. Alternatively, the financial planning pair suggest hitting the stores while postholiday prices are low. Re-gifting also is an option if it’s not returned to the original giver or presented at the same party.
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