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If you're planning on cutting back the holiday spending this year, you are not alone. A recent Reuters/Zogby poll found that more than 44 percent of people will spend less on gifts than last year.
But that doesn’t mean you can't come up with something terrific for the friends and family on your list. Maybe they haven't had time to clean out their garage (in which case, VirgoMan's clutter control and a gift of a few hours will do the trick); or perhaps they've been dying to start a new business and have no idea how what to do first (you can pick up a binder and help them write a plan); or maybe they still haven't figured how to use the gadget they got for Christmas last year (teach them, or set up an appointment with a digital handyman).
That's only the beginning. We've compiled a list of free—or really, really, cheap—suggestions, courtesy of the O staff. Organization
"Archive photos and put them in an album (most people don’t have the time to put their pictures away and catalogue them). Take it even further by making your own scrapbook or collage." — Editorial assistant Sara Sugarman
"After my daughter was born, my father always talked about his favorite book from childhood, David's Silver Dollar, so my husband found it for him on eBay (it's out of print) for something like $10. Lots of sentimental value for not much money." — Executive articles editor Deborah Way
"My husband and I always give each other the Christmas gift of not giving each other Christmas gifts. We put our time and energy (and money) into birthdays, when it's actually fun to come up with something and not just another thing on a mile-long to-do list." — Executive beauty editor Jenny Bailly
"Offer to be a buddy—if you know someone who is starting a diet, an exercise regimen, a meditation practice, a round of chemotherapy, or something that they might otherwise have to do alone. Even if you don’t need to diet, you can work out with the person, listen to their food diary, and encourage them." — Assistant editor Polly Brewster
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The Old Standby: Homemade Treats
"I bake cookies for people, but they always seem to appreciate the time I put into it. Put a dozen chocolate chip cookies in a cute (and cheap) tin, and you've got yourself a nice gift." — Contributing editor Suzan Colon
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From the December 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!