7 Tips for Coping With Holiday Financial Stress

Low account balance got you down? Here’s how to combat holiday money woes.

Depressed pregnant mother paying bills at Christmas time
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"Offering your time is the biggest gesture since it's the one thing everyone lacks during this time of year. Offering to babysit your sister's kids while they spend the day shopping for gifts ... or helping a good friend prepare meals for a holiday party is a very generous gift that costs little more than time," says Farnoosh Torabi, a personal finance author and host of the weekly video series "Financially Fit," on Yahoo.

Don't spend the holidays alone. If you're going to bow out of gift-giving, you may feel tempted to skip family get-togethers. Don't, urges Torabi. "The holidays are really about spending time with loved ones. Your physical presence means more than anything," she says.

Don't blow things out of proportion. Yes, if you wanted to buy your children an iPad or Nintendo Wii, and they're going to have to settle for some board games and a Slinky, there's no way around it.

And yet Blair-Gamblian offers the most spot-on advice, which every parent, if they look back on their own childhood, will probably instantly see as correct: "At the end of the day, most children don't remember many of their holiday gifts anyway," she says.

[See: Your 10-Step Financial Recovery Plan.]

The gifts they'll probably remember more than anything, she says, are the tacky socks from Grandma or a journal from their mother. "Trendy items come with a large price tag and a short shelf life," Blair-Gamblian says. "It's just not worth your hard-earned dollars."

So when it comes to holiday giving, focus on what you can do – not on what you can't.