I don't have much in the way of dispensable income. I don't want to give plasticrap gifts that will be thrown away in 6 months. I had a list of more than 25 people to give to. I couldn't sell out on Christmas altogether, primarily because I love giving. This year, my solution was to make the gifts. All of them.
My husband and I took turns making fudge and cookies and breads. I put together some tunes from our CDs or borrowed ones from the library, and he made a personalized CD insert, which we then distributed to the adorable young kids on our list ... including my niece and nephew, children of my sister-in-law, the one who doesn't send a thank-you card unless the item she received was on her list (she didn't send one this year, obviously).
In the end, it was a lot of work. We spent hours baking. I worried family and friends would think our gesture lame, not enough, cheap. Or maybe they'd be allergic to nuts. We might not have even saved that much money, since the ingredients were plenty and organic and mostly local. But it was a labor of love, and the warmth from the oven filled the house, my daughter saw us give our time to those we loved, I learned how to make fudge for the first time in my life. Despite the work and time it took, it was probably the least stressful holiday season I have had.