With the economy now being in such bad shape, I am planning on being even more frugal than ever this Christmas. I am a member of a lot of paid survey sites, where I win cash or prizes for just taking surveys! I have already "won" 4 nice gifts for family members and haven't spend a dime on them; just some time filling out the surveys.
If I don't "win" enough gifts for everyone, I always go to a candle warehouse where you can fill up a HUGE bag of nice candles, potpourri, etc. for $15.00. I save some for myself and some for "Candle Baskets" as Christmas gifts. I buy the baskets at the local dollar store, line them with tissue paper and put a bow on top. Last year, everyone loved them and the price averaged out to right under $5.00 per basket!
As for our 5 kids, of course they expect more than a $5.00 candle basket! Each year, we give them a budget and they usually go shopping for themselves. This serves 2 purposes: A. I don't have to guess what they want and make a mistake on sizes if I buy them clothes and B: They are learning how to budget money! If they want the "namebrand" specialty clothes, they know they will only get a few items. However, if they want a lot of things, they will go to budget stores like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity to make their dollars stretch!
I only have one child that is young enough to go trick-or-treating now and this year he went as a Hobo! You guessed it, I didn't spend a dime on his costume!