Christmas can make us feel both financially stretched and obliged to spend, meaning the festive season is often more stressful than restful.

But help is hand with this bumper Christmas edition of FTThrift, our regular money-saving column.

Here, we present our 12 Saves of Christmas, selected from the best suggestions by FT staff, Money Mentor Lindsay Cook and our readers and Twitter followers. Happy holidays.

MoneyFT : Screen shot of Marks & Spencer online Christmas discounts on wine and champagne.

1 Bag extra online bargains and double discounts

When shopping online — especially for wine — leave items in the basket overnight. You will often find an emailed offer of a cheaper price or free delivery from the retailer the following morning to “nudge” you into completing your purchase. And offers can be doubled up. The White Company issues different vouchers that can be used together. You can combine a £10 off voucher with a separate 20 per cent off one, and get a £50 item for £30. At Marks and Spencer, customers can get a £25 bottle of champagne for £10 if they buy a “Dine In” package at the weekend. Combined with five other bottles of wine, they get another 25 per cent off, making the champagne £7.50.

A woman reaches for a copy of Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding next to a copy of My Life by David Jason as in Waterstones in Cambridge. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 10, 2013. Bridget Jones fans today got a little more than they were expecting with her new book - 40 pages of Sir David Jason's autobiography. See PA story ARTS BridgetJones. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

2 Thrifty books

Publishers love Christmas. It is the time of year when hardback versions of their hottest new launches appear at high prices, in the hope that publicity, hype and last-minute panic will persuade us to pay £20 or more for one title. It is savvier to buy previous years’ big launches. For example, Jamie Oliver’s super-thrifty Save With Jamie recipe book can be bought online for £5.20. When it was launched in 2013, it cost £26. The Book People website is a good source of cheap books.

DGJFNP Childhood photographs and picture on wall

3 Snap happy

Children are expensive, but here is a cheap gift idea for doting grandparents. Before Christmas, select several good pictures of your brood (preferably including some with the gift recipient). Print them out in colour at Boots, at 25p each for 6inch x 4inch photos, which will fit most frames. Find a multi-picture frame on eBay, or in a charity shop. Or use Sticky9, a website that lets you choose the best snaps from your smartphone, which it will turn into a set of nine fridge magnets for a current price of £7.49 (including delivery).

E6ACH1 gift,gift tag

4 The clothes off your back

Well, not the clothes exactly. But you know the ribbons that dangle somewhat pointlessly from the inside shoulders of ladies’ blouses? Cut them all off, and use them as ties for gift tags on presents (kudos to Simoney Kyriakou of Financial Adviser for this tip!)

F6P49Y Candles in glass jars

5 Tea-lights amid the winter’s snow

Baby food jars make good Christmas ornaments. Find 20, clean them, fill with tea lights and use some wire to create a basket-type handle. Tie them to trees to make the garden twinkle, or put them around staircases or on mantelpieces. You could adorn with a holly leaf or a ribbon (see above).

It may only be November, but it’s already time for the retail giants to start releasing their Christmas adverts. Lidl were up first yesterday with their School of Christmas campaign with the perfect mix of humour, hustle and bustle, and Christmas nostalgia,

6 Every Lidl helps

Follow the weekly and daily deals on budget retailer’s websites for cut-price items that can be purchased in advance. At the time of writing, Lidl was offering a 70cm potted Christmas tree for £6.99, for example, compared to £19.99 for a 50cm model from Waitrose. Do not take it for granted that Aldi and Lidl are always cheaper, however. The big four supermarkets try to match them on prices of Christmas meats, but then charge a lot for trimmings such as stuffing. Biscuits are also often better to buy from the discounters.

BY4GX8 Laurent Perrier Champagne Label Closeup

7 Bargain bubbles

Buy early and buy enough. Supermarkets run cheap alcohol deals as loss-leaders from November, although these can change daily, so keep your eyes peeled. As an example, at the time of writing, Tesco is offering a non-vintage Pol Aimé (an award-winning fizz) for £13. For the more label-conscious, Majestic Wines is selling a six-bottle case of Laurent Perrier for £24.98 per bottle, compared to about £38 individually.

CFP9P8 Shower cap bathroom toiletries

8 Scavenger Santa

For stocking fillers, this is a fun variant on Secret Santa, but you must spend nothing or have a £1 limit. Frequent business travellers can re-gift toiletries, manicure sets and slippers from airlines or hotels. You can gift goody bag items from industry events or cash in loyalty points from supermarkets for restaurant or cinema vouchers. If you have neglected to use such schemes so far, get signed up for next year. Boots Advantage scheme, for example, offers extra points for new parents and the over-60s. Introduce a friend to your hairdresser, beauty salon or spa in exchange for a half-price treatment in January for them.

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are displayed for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Credit-card firms caught off-guard by U.S. Senate passage of curbs on debit fees are facing what one executive sees as a "volcanic" eruption of legislation, including possible limits on interest rates. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

9 Rocking around the Christmas credit cards

Use separate credit cards for different shopping periods. If one has a statement day of 3rd of the month and the other is the 16th, use each card just after the statement to get the maximum interest-free period before you have to pay.

10 Grab some free Christmas cash

Sign up for a fixed-rate mortgage or a fixed-rate energy tariff. Sign up for a new current account and get £100 or £100 of vouchers.

And finally . . . the two top tips from our readers.

Kitchen Herb Wooden Planter Window Sill Box

11 Grow-your-own savings

FT Money reader Angus Redpath writes: Buy cheap wooden boxes/containers and fill attractively with home-grown plants or bulbs for a lovely gift. By making these yourself they cost a fraction of what they would in a good garden centre, but for maximum good looks don’t forget to add sphagnum moss (£5 for a large bag online) to the top of the soil — that really does make all the difference.

Shoppers juggle price-reduced Christmas cards and wrapping paper as they wait in line to pay, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002, at Bloomingdales in New York. Shoppers rummaged through stores for post-Christmas sales early Thursday as merchants sought to clear out leftovers and put behind them what is expected to be the weakest holiday season in at least 30 years. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)

12 And next year, start shopping early

FT Money reader Ebonn Hixon writes: Shop for your family in the sales right after the previous Christmas, and continue to seek deals throughout the year. By the time Christmas comes around the next year, you can mark most family members off the shopping list and you have no cash flow crunch.

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