DEAR HARRIETTE: I know this seems like far, far away, but I’m planning for Christmas now. Usually we go all out with gifts for the family, but this year we don’t have the usual kind of resources. My husband lost his job a few months ago, and we are struggling. I have no interest in bringing up our circumstances to family, but I do need to manage expectations. Most of our family’s kids are teens or young adults, so the gifts are going primarily to people who don’t really need anything anyway -- grown siblings, aunts and uncles and my parents. How can I cut back on gifts without offending folks? -- Rethinking Christmas, Washington, D.C.
DEAR RETHINKING CHRISTMAS: Consider several options. You can make gifts for everyone -- like cookies, other edibles or crafts that they may like. You can limit gifts to your parents and children while giving the others cards, and tell your family that this year you are cutting back. You can suggest that the family consider doing a Secret Santa type of gift-giving this year, where everyone picks a name and you each get one gift rather than many. That, by the way, can be a lot of fun. If asked why, you can freely say that you want and need to be more frugal this year. Chances are, everyone will appreciate spending less at the holidays -- even if they aren’t in your particular circumstances.