Step one - Set a detailed budget and gift list- write down in big bold letters how much your are going to spend and who you are going to purchase gifts for. If you don’t write it down you are not going to stick with it.
Step two - When you are out in shopping jungle keep at all times the budget list with you. Every time you make a purchase write down who it was for and how much you spent--- this list will help keep you focused and remind you of your budget.
Step three - Arrange things so you can succeed—bring the list, try to bring cash or only one credit card—and try not to make last minute impulse purchases—better to cut the shopping off and pick it up the next day briefly.
Step four - Hold yourself accountable—recruit one person you know and tell them your final budget.
Step five- Finally—give yourself an incentive—put a small portion of your budget aside for sticking with it—if you come in under budget treat yourself for a job well done—or treat someone else.
It seems kind of silly- but you know the figures on holiday debt—shopping is a behavior—and these steps will help keep that behavior under control.