smart spending

8 ways to trim your Christmas gift list

Invest time rather than money
Invest time rather than money

Cyndi Cook Travis, who lives with her husband outside of Chicago, says she's taming her holiday gift list not by paring it back, but by changing the types of gifts she gives.

"We have definitely cut down on the amount we are spending. In the case where in the past we have given neighbors a bottle of wine or a gift card to go out to dinner, this year they will be receiving homemade treats," Travis says.

She's not the only one. Lots of Americans are choosing the homemade route over hit-or-miss purchases made in busy, overcrowded stores. From handcrafted chocolates to knitted scarves, personalizing a gift can make it much more special to the recipient.

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