Well it’s getting close to Christmas and the stores have already started putting up their displays. It seems to happen earlier every year!With the thought of buying all those Christmas gifts looming on the horizon most people focus on Black Friday as their biggest money saver.Try something different this year! Follow the simple steps below to have a less expensive and just as joyful holiday season.Make a list and stick to itJust like Santa Claus has a list, so should you! Make a list of everyone you want to buy for. List everyone including family, friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, etc. Now go through your list of people and cross off all those you really don’t need to give a gift to this year or that you could simply send a Christmas card. Try to include only the most important people in your life on your gift list.BudgetNext, with your list of the bare minimum to buy for – add a dollar limit to every person. For example we spend $20 for every sibling, $40 for parents, $10 for teachers, etc. Let’s face it – it’s not how much you spend that makes the gift special it’s how much thought and love you put into making or buying it.Plus, if these people truly cared about you they won’t want you to go deep into debt for them. Everyone knows how the holiday season can add up financially.Think About ItIt’s time to get creative. Now that you have your list of people to buy for and a dollar limit for each person it’s time to brainstorm ideas. Everyone wants to give gifts that the recipient will truly love and cherish. How many times have you gotten an ugly sweater, a funny looking tie, or perfume that smelled terrible? Just some helpful advice, do a little bit of research before choosing a gift. When I was 8 years old, I received 6 pairs of earrings and I didn’t have my ears pierced.List a couple ideas for each person. Try to recall what this person talks about, what they do in their free time, and what they need. Sometimes it’s important to give people what they need and let their wants be put on hold a while. No matter what you decide make sure it’s useful, wanted or needed.Shop aroundNow that you have an idea of what to buy – shop around. If it’s on sale during Black Friday – that’s great, but let’s face it most items for sale on Black Friday are what I call “nice-ities” – stuff that’s nice but not needed. Check the ads for the gift ideas on your Christmas shopping list.Another thing to consider is would it be cheaper and/or easier for you to make a gift for someone on your list. Such as a new mom might love a scrapbook filled with pictures of her new baby and space for her to add more in the future. Make sure it would be cheaper for you to make it. Sometimes it actually costs more to make stuff yourself, so do the math.Follow Santa Claus’s lead and make a list – you can check it twice if you wish. Trim it down – only the most important people. Next, create a budget and stick to it or even spend less. After that you need to brainstorm a couple different gift ideas for each person. Lastly, shop around for the best deals.Using these simple tips will help you keep Christmas from breaking the bank and keep your stress level down. Enjoy!