Christmas present wrapped in brown paper

No. 2: Get creative with your wrapping

A great way to drop extra money around the holidays is on shiny wrapping paper, spendy tissue paper and cute bags and boxes. Let's reclaim wrapping gifts and come up with other creative ways to do so.

Of course, there's the classic wrapping with newspaper. This is both economical and eco-friendly, which we're all about these days.

You can also create your own gift boxes with leftover wrapping paper, or any paper item. Wrap the box and the lid of the box separately, so it's beautiful but reusable.

Find objects at thrift stores that would make great containers in which to deliver your gifts. Have fun with it -- match the wrapping to the personalities of the recipients.

Have extra photos of family members? Downsize your collection by using the photos as gift tags. Cut around the gift recipient's head and paste it on the gift. It's a great way to identify whose gift it is and it's guaranteed to get a laugh.

Last up, who's ready to do some baking?

christmas cookies

No. 1: Holiday goodies create a happy mood

Whether you're home for the holidays or not, there's something about homemade holiday goodies.

If you're far away from family, dig out some old family recipes and have family members talk you through baking them while on speakerphone. Tackle Grandma's secret sugar cookie recipe and share with your neighbors.

If you're attending a family gathering or blending families for the first holiday season, create something that has been important to your family's tradition and share the story through food. It will be a yummy and non-threatening way to bond with your new family or in-laws.

Make something you're craving and establish it as your own holiday goodie tradition. If food is involved, everyone will be supportive of your new ideas. Create frosted sugar cookies, corn flake wreaths, gingerbread men, Russian tea cakes, pie, homemade turnovers and your own creations.