So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7 We give gifts to show our love for others, just like God who gave us his Son so long ago.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we find ourselves spending money on lots of extras in addition to the gifts. If you need some ideas of where you can cut a few corners, keep reading:

• Instead of hosting a sit-down dinner, host an open house. You can serve desserts, coffee, tea, spiced cider and save the money you would have spent on a 3 or 4 course meal, fancy invitations, wine, etc.

• Skip sending greeting cards this year. Your friends and relatives probably won’t even notice it. Instead, do the 21st century thing and post some family entries/photos on Facebook or on an online photo album. Another option is to send out an email to your family and friends written in a newsletter format, containing the latest updates/news for your family along with a recent photo or two.

• Give the gift of time. We’ve encouraged our kids to do this throughout the years. For Mother’s Day one year my then 17-year old son gave me two coupons for “Complete Car Detailing”. I loved it!!

• If you’re buying for an elderly person, give coupons good for “Trip to the Doctor”, “Window Washing”, “Grocery Buying Excursion”, “Put up Christmas Decorations Session”, etc. They’ll love spending time with you while getting much-needed help.

• If you have a lot of nieces, nephews, or siblings to buy for each year suggest drawing names. Chances are others will love the idea!