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Here are some ways to cut the costs of your Christmas holiday this year and still have an elegant Christmas.

Gift wrap and gift tags are a must have for the season and they don't come cheaply. Instead of purchasing expensive brands, why not make your own? You can buy gift boxes from local craft stores, but if you really want to save, use old shoe boxes or most any box that will make a great gift box. (If you're especially talented, you can make your own boxes from spare cardboard. Or, if you have a great box but no lid, make your own.) To make decorative boxes, paint desired color, then use stencils to paint crafty designs like stars, Christmas trees, angels, snowflakes, etc. Most any kind of stencils work. If you're not good at painting, try covering the box in fabric or wrapping paper bought after the Christmas season. Glue ribbon to the lid and place bow on top. To give your box an authentic look and make it a part of the gift, too, glue decorative toys or ornaments to the top of the box. (To save money, make these little goodies yourself and ALWAYS buy your supplies on sale.)

Gift tags are more simple than once thought. Purchase posterboard or craft board from a craft shop. Find Christmasy pictures in magazines and cut them out. Glue them onto the posterboard and allow to dry, then cut out. Using a hole puncher, punch a hole in the top and loop ribbon through. Write message on the posterboard side and you're ready to give that homemade gift!

Another money-saving idea for Christmas is to stock up in advance. Buy wrapping paper, gift boxes, ribbons and bows AFTER Christmas when everything is on sale.

Another big expense is the gifts themselves. To cut back on expenses, buy gifts throughout the year whenever items go on sale. The best time for a sale is after a holiday.

Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and happiness. Why ruin that with thoughts of how much money you've spent? Follow these tips to have an inexpensive, worry-free holiday!