As the holiday season approaches, we prepare our lists, we check them twice, and we gear up to spend away on loads of gifts for one and all: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and on down the line. The weeks preceding Christmas Day are spent in a rush of shopping and spending, and not just for presents. The expense of Yuletide ingredients somehow necessary to make the season bright has grown to include ever more lavish decorations (and the electricity utility bills to match), seasonally appropriate and famously less than desirable desserts, bottled Christmas spirits, and a singularly perfect tree, perhaps two. For especially festive celebrants, the annual purchase of that bejeweled, gaudy but oh so essential Christmas sweater to be worn a handful of instances has become the candied cherry on the fruitcake of holiday profligacy.

As the year draws to a close, we revel in indulging whims and justifying lavish purchases in a flurry of extravagance, and we've the overstuffed credit card debt accounts as consequence. The post holiday remorse descends as we awaken to the realization that our overspending has landed us once again in prayers for debt relief. We resign ourselves to the notion that running our finances into the ground needs be an inevitability come Christmas time. Acquiring lofty debt has, by all appearances, become its own kind of yuletide tradition, but there are alternatives ...

Make a Budget

Most of us are guilty of over spending at Christmas time – we get swept up in the spirit of giving and before we know it, we’re carried away once again. Instead of recklessly charging headlong into the mall without a spending strategy plan to follow, set limits on gift buying, enforcing control over your decisions and removing the temptation to break out the credit cards.

Start a Savings Account

Avoid racking up credit card debt and paying more than you bargained for by setting up a savings fund – it’s not a bad idea to open one up exclusively for Christmastime cash – and make regular contributions throughout the year. You’ll be glad to have this resource when you make your lists and hit the stores. A great advantage to squirreling away a portion of your regular income at the bank is the monthly interest it accumulates. It makes a lot more sense to spend in a way that earns you money, instead of costing you more later.

Generate Extra Earnings

Get creative and brainstorm ways to put extra dollars away in your Christmas fund. There are all kinds of things you can do throughout the year in your spare time to make an additional buck so that credit card debt doesn’t haunt you in the months to come. Throw a yard sale – most of us have unwanted goods lying around the house that could be resold. You’ll rid yourself of household clutter and make a profit at the same time. If you don't know of an appropriate location, sell your reusables on Ebay. Those long ignored relics of the past collecting dust in the attic just may be valuable collectibles in the online marketplace. People the world over compete to pay top dollar for all kinds of items that you don’t want or need anymore, and the funds for credit card debt relief will come digitally trickling through.

Use Your Talents
Do you have a hobby that could be exploited towards creating inexpensive handmade gifts? Skills like carpentry, sewing, baking, and general arts and crafts are all excellent ways to make cherished keepsakes for Christmas presents. By giving something uniquely handcrafted, you get a chance you get to do something you enjoy and steer clear of credit card debt at the same time.

Don't Lose Hope

There’s no need to resign yourself to an overload of credit card debt to celebrate the holidays. Plan ahead, look for opportunities all year long, and remember that what’s truly important at Christmas is the value of the time spent with family and friends, not the dollar amount to be rather more regrettably remembered over the passing years and escalating interest.

Author's Bio: 

Cole Collins is a freelance writer in the field of personal finance with a concentration in consumer debt and debt settlement. For help with debt please visit