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While heavy consumerism would stimulate the economy during a time of year when businesses have grown to depend on a significant percentage of their year's revenue, practicing fiscal conservation during this normally excessive period of consumption not only keeps money available to pay off debt and mortgages, etc, it also keeps unwanted junk out of the waste stream.

It is important to remember that paying off debt helps to stimulate the economy as well, in a tangible way that helps you to regain your own economic foundation. Don't let yourself be pressured into the wrap race if you are struggling to pay bills.

Start now and plan for a memorable gift giving season. Here are some alternatives to buying new gifts:

1. The No Gift: Make a proposition to those who you normally exchange gifts with to skip it this year. If they don't accept the challenge, please see 2 or 3.

2. The Re-Gift: Instead of buying new, give away something you don't use, but you know someone else would. There is no need to hide the fact that it is a re-gift. Be proud. You are saving the world.

3. Make a Gift Registry or Wish List: You don't need to be getting married to do this. If you will be receiving gifts, you may as well get something you want or need, rather than something that will sit in your closet or be thrown out or returned.

4. The Homemade Gift: If you've got skills or are crafty, use the time that you would spend shopping to make something unique, personal, and from the heart. If you are not so artistic, scan old photos and digitize them for family members, relatives, and friends. Priceless.

5. Net-Zero Gifting: Sell items that you no longer need. Use that money to buy used or new gifts.