Four tips for an affordable holiday season

It’s that time of the year again.  Once again you’re scrambling around at the last second, racking your brain for gift ideas while simultaneously trying not to drain your bank account.  Luckily for you, we have a few ways to save money on gifts at the last minute.

1. Don’t make any friends

Granted, this is something you may have to work at all year.  But think about it—your average misanthrope probably loves the holiday season.  Instead of spending money on the social obligations everybody else refers to as friends, loners can fill up their savings accounts.  And really, what better to celebrate than fiscal responsibility?

But we know some of you will insist on social interaction anyway. If you really must bond with people who will undoubtedly expect you to buy presents for various contrived occasions, here are some tips for reducing your costs as much as possible.

2. Embrace child labor-ridden sweatshops in third-world countries

Why bother going to the free-trade store when you could mindlessly exploit impoverished Chinese workers by buying the same item for 50 cents on Amazon?  The key to buying this way is doing it in advance so that you’ll have time to deal with the sketchy third-party shipping.  After all, there’s no point buying people cheap plastic garbage unless you can be punctual about it.

3. Re-gift

Let’s get real here: what else were you going to do with the fringed lamp you bought at a garage sale last year when you were going through your hippy phase?  If you package it right, pretty much anything in your house can be presented as a gift.  Old clothes, your mom’s cosmetics, the weird trinkets your grandparents foist on you every year—just tell people you spent hours shopping for something just right and you absolutely know they’ll love it.  Worst-case scenario, pretend it’s some sort of inside joke and guilt the other person into playing along.  No one will ever know the difference.

4. DIY

Okay, so you couldn’t find anything easy to bring along to your holiday party.  That’s okay—just pull out your arts-and-crafts kit!  Everybody loves mason jar décor and photo collages held together by half-dried Elmer’s glue.  The real benefit of these gifts is that since they’re homemade, nobody is ever allowed to complain about them.  If they do, just pull out your vial of fake tears and dab at your eyes while bemoaning the modern commercialization of hard work and family holidays.  This defense will make people envious of your inner beauty and down-to-earth nature.