"For people who really do need to have some belt-tightening, I think they need to be creative in how they take a look at gifting experiences during this holiday season."
She says ways to do that include offering services, like babysitting, instead of gifts, making a gift or having a yard sale to raise money for gifts. She says families should be up-front with children.
"Perhaps it would be a good time to talk to them about maybe trying some new things, developing some new traditions and not just thinking about toys and different things that people have traditionally bought for Christmas, but be thinking about ways in which they may be making this a season that represents the meaning of the seasons as it does to many people."
Granovsky says charging gifts on credit cards that may already carry balances is tempting, but a bad idea during the holidays.