Have you ever faced a holiday hangover that resulted from overspending rather than rum and eggnog? I certainly have.

A recent survey by Mobicility found that 58 per cent of Canadians say they spend more than they should during the holidays. I once stumbled across a website that offered advice on how to manage the increased spending of Christmas. It suggested readers take on a part time job to ensure they could afford the gifts they wanted to give. I couldn’t believe it – is this what Christmas has come to? Giving up more time with our families in order to give them material things?

Not in our house. I think it’s far more important to spend time rather than money on my loved ones. So I keep a lid on spending at Christmas by following these tips:

Trim the List. Make a list of the people you usually buy for, and look at ways to trim the list. Buy for a large number of adult siblings? Plan a Secret Santa or gag gift exchange instead. Have a huge list of nieces and nephews to shop for? Agree to buy one gift the kids can share, like DVDs, craft kits, etc. Make simple hostess gifts of homemade cookies.

Set a Budget. Decide what you can afford to spend on gifts, and then select the gifts. If you go over budget for one person, look for a screaming deal for someone else to ensure you stay under budget. Keep your list in your wallet or on an app so you have a plan of what you want to buy for whom, and how much you can afford to spend.

Don’t Compete. Even if your older brother buys your parents a trip to Jamaica, give them new beach towels or sunscreen, flip flops and a travel journal. He’s rich, but you’re thoughtful. This applies to decorating your home for Christmas too – don’t buy all new lights and noisy lawn inflatables just because the neighbours have them.

Host a Potluck. If you’d like to entertain, host a potluck rather than buying and preparing everything yourself. Most guests appreciate the work that goes into getting your house ready for guests – letting them bring a little something to contribute makes them feel good too.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on thoughtful (and cheap!) Christmas gifts.