1. Set a budget. This is perhaps the most important tip. Set a budget for total holiday spending on gifts you purchase for others (and yourself :)). The credit card is easy to swipe, however, we recommend that with the budget you set that you use cash for two reasons:
a. it's easier to track ; b. you'll know that precise moment when you have absolutely no more money left. Set a realistic budget, a budget that is within your means, and stick to it.
2. Make a list. The (written) list should include the name of all people you wish to present with a gift this holiday season. It may be wise to assign each of them a portion of the budget you created above; this will also alleviate some stresses/difficulties with sticking to the budget if you know how much you plan to spend on each person up front. Just remember that overspending on one person may mean that you may have to under-spend on someone else.
As you create your list and start to assign mini budgets for each individual/family, you may have to eliminate some people from your list. This is where #3 comes in.
3. Reality Check. Thank you for your precious heart and desire to give, but in this you must also be wise. Reality check, your budget is a priority. Because you have goals and obligations that won't disappear because it's December (Or January, February, March, etc.) Consider homemade gift/goodies as a way to cut expenses and spread your dollars to bless everyone you want. Homemade cookies and dipped pretzel sticks make wonderful gifts. It's also the thought that counts....yes, really.
4. Inevitably, January will be here before you know it. And whatever debt you be incur will be due. Credit cards are wisely used for dire emergency situations. Unfortunately, gifting does not usually qualify as one of these situations. You may have heard that a gift is something given from the heart, but it's also given within your means.