Don't shop without a list
Even if you expect to pare the number of people on your Christmas gift list, you need a starting point. That's why "list advocate" Paula Rizzo of ListProducer.com says making a list puts you at an immediate advantage. "Shopping with a list is like using a road map: If you put some effort into organizing your list before you hit the stores, you are more likely to get more done," Rizzo says.
By scrutinizing the list of people you usually buy for, you can see where you've spent your money during past holiday seasons. When you're done forming and trimming your list, use it to focus your shopping. Then, says Rizzo, you won't stroll around the mall overspending on the people who remain on it.