I am incredibly fortunate in that my family and my in-laws decided several years ago to cut down on Christmas presents. About five years ago, my family did away with presents altogether and began donating to charities that each individual chose. For example, I might choose our local domestic violence shelter one year and World Vision one year. Stephen used to choose our local Air 1 radio station or something along the lines of military widows. I actually really loved that, but once my sister and I had children two years ago, an agreement was made to only buy for the kids, which also included our cousins. So nice! We, the adults, really don't need anything, and it was very hard to try to think of something we wanted someone to buy for us.
With my in-laws, we didn't really want to give up the gifts totally but it was getting out of hand with the amount of money being spent on presents because they have a larger family. So we tried different things every year. A few years we drew names and only bought presents for 2-3 other people. One year we drew names and only gave presents to one other person. One year we simply gave $20 in cash to the name we drew, but we had to give it in an original way. Last year we decided just to give presents to the kids.
All that to say, I am so lucky and blessed that I don't need to budget for Christmas presents. We do buy things for the kids but they're only one and two years old, so basically they shouldn't expect much in the way of presents right now! Hah! Remember all this cool stuff I just got at Michaels? BAM - stocking stuffers done! We bought their "big" present over the summer from a consignment store for either $10 or $15, I can't remember now. I've gotten some other things from yard sales along the way (Sit 'N Spin for $2 for example, some books, some clothes for $0.10 - $0.50) so we are good to go for Christmas!
Unfortunately not everyone is so lucky. For you guys I have an awesome, FREE budgeting planner created by Savings Lifestyle specifically made for Christmas.
It starts with your total gift budget. You write down your recipient's name, ideas for gifts for them, and your budget per person. Then comes your plan. Find your gift idea at the store where it is the cheapest and look for Black Friday deals to maximize your savings! There's also a page for making homemade gifts, writing down the supplies you need and everything. Pretty cool, thought it would be useful to someone this season!