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Oh I can hear the groans as I say this, Christmas is coming and we should start looking at looking and ways to afford Christmas in a time when disposable income is in short supply. We here are putting together a set of tips of how to survive the Christmas Gift Season and expensive food and gas prices.

First is its never to early to buy Christmas gifts. If its May, June or July, it’s not too early. Let’s face it, the more pressed for time you are the more apt you are to spend more on the gift, not find it on sale and pay extra for shipping so that its there on time. June 1 will see some already starting to buy the Christmas gifts. Buy starting now you can take advantage of online sales and free shipping offers and that will help save money

By starting in the early summer you spread the cost for Christmas gifts out over 6 months. There are great bargins and sales all year long. Clearance sales to make room in stores are a great way to find a gift at a great price and all you need to have is a small corner of a closet to store the gift until Christmas time. As you walk though stores looking for flowers for your spring garden, look for items that are clearance that will make great Christmas presents.

One other popular idea for gift giving is a grab bag even within large families or groups of friends. The idea is instead of buying 5-10 gifts, buy only one Christmas gift. Even if you got with a $50 limit you are still way ahead of the game because of the limited amount of gifts you need to buy. They are also fun if you add the white elephant slant to it because you don’t know what gift you well end up with and you may even end up with your own gift. It saves everyone money and gets everyone involved in the gift giving process.

Checking that list not for naughty or nice, but more for do you absolutely have to get that person a present. Sometimes we have people on our lists that we don’t necessarily need to buy a gift for. If you do this in June, you are more likely cut the people off where in December you will more sympathetically leave people on the list. Getting caught up in the season only means more dollars spent.

And lastly but most importantly, Christmas is far more than Christmas gifts. It is a religious holiday and should be a celebration of the birth of our Lord. We need to remind our children the story of the nativity. We need to remind our children why we have the season and why we have Christmas gifts. In doing this you will have a wonderful Christmas and more importantly a less stressful or financially strapped Christmas Season.

This article was published on Friday 16 May, 2008.

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