Spending money can be exhilarating. Paying the credit cards can be devastating. Think through what you're spending on holiday gifts before you spend it. What feels great in December can feel really not so great in January...and February...and March.
The fact is that sometimes we just can't afford to buy everything we want to buy. Accepting that is actually much less stress inducing than spending ourselves into incredible debt. Spending big is not your only holiday option.
Try providing gifts of service instead the traditional wrapped present. The price is right, you won’t have to wait in line, and the giver and receiver will both enjoy it more. Examples of service gifts: an evening of babysitting - the parents you know will love a night out (or a chance for some serious napping!) Shovel somebody's snow, or play chauffeur for a day for someone who doesn't drive.
Try providing gifts of sentiment. A heart-felt note telling someone how much you appreciate them will be more meaningful than the latest best-seller or doodad that needs dusting. Flex your talents: bake some cookies, paint a picture, or frame a print of one of your best photos.
The holidays aren't about how much money you spend. Once you come to peace with that, you'll feel your stress levels drop off exponentially. Keep the focus on letting the people around you know they're important to you. It's something you can do without spending a dime!