Christmas is about family and family is about love, says my philosopher daughter. It has become quite commonplace to show our love by showering our loved ones in what is sometimes an astonishing array of presents at this time of year. The economy has been a touchy little beast this year and for the most part, many of us are surviving on and making do with less. Instead of lamenting  the lack of funds, it's time to rethink how we spend our Christmas. A frugal Christmas is just as much about enriching as it is letting go.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't all be tired mummies and we would have been at all those fab locally-owned shops to pick up items as they went on sale before the Christmas crush. Saving at Christmas (or any special event that involves presents) means being savvy, looking for deals and being creative.

So let's get money savvy and pump up the good cheer with homemade gift this year.

For the big present, shop around and look for the sale price. There are enough surplus stores, no tax days and street sales on the downtown strip to put a dent in your shopping list. What is important is to remember that we are aiming to downsize, whether it is necessary or not.

  Spa Girls
Treat your girly-girl to a spa date at home with mama. Chat with the little lady while you braid her hair and paint her nails. I did this with my daughter for her birthday. Giggling and a little purple Jerome Russell action for her hair and a manicure? Just the sort of thing the girl loves to do.

Total cost: Under $10. Buy new nail polish just for her, keep the foot bath and lotions as part of the magic (and sourced super local - just down the hall).

  Slime The Boys
This funky liquid is not quite a solid, not quite a liquid. I remember playing with it as a kid, my hand meeting the surface with as much force as I could muster for a 9-year old. And nothing. Lay your hand flat and it will melt in. Lime green for my noy and he will be blissed.

Mix two parts cornstarch, one part water that has been coloured with a few drops of food colouring and sliiiiiime. Store in an airtight container that is preferably jazzed up with some decoration.

Total cost: $3. Cornstarch from the grocer, and you have a tap, right?

  Your Partner
How do I love you? Let me count the ways. Take a hint from the Bard and write a beautiful list of reasons why you love this person. A good friend shared this, included was the promise to always add to the list as it grew.

Total cost: $3 for a package of index cards (or even fancier slips of paper).

  For Everyone
A  scavenger hunt to find that big present. My mother's-in-law scavenger hunt for a treasured diamond necklace and earring set is the stuff of legend in my husband's family, making the entire gift experience that much more meaningful.

Total cost: Free! Save for the gift already purchased, or made, this part of the gift is free. Savvy.

A common theme throughout these gifts has been love and spending time together. We spend so much time busy and working, the holidays are the one time of year when relatives are smashed together in to the ever odd assortments which make families. We get really focused on tallying our gifts, given or received; this is the perfect opportunity to soak up some time with those loved ones.

Thanks to Lynette for sharing the scavenger hunt idea and a certain friend for sharing her homemade gift idea.