It's pretty disturbing to see Christmas in some of the hobby stores this early, but it is definitely not to early to start planning for a debt free holiday. Remaining debt free takes planning and planning takes time, so let's get started.
If you are going to give homemade gifts you probably should have started crafting back in January, but you should be able to make some simple gifts if you start right now. People love to get simple, but beautiful gifts such as knitted or crocheted towels, wash cloths, and hot pads. How about sewing covers for sewing machines, or small kitchen appliances. Use your favorite craft and get started. The exception would be food gifts; those should be made right before mailing or gifting.
Start setting aside money with which to buy gifts. Look at your budget to see what you can do without and put that money out of sight. If you can have the money taken directly from your paycheck for deposit in a Christmas account.
Layaway has become popular again during this recession. Most big box stores are doing layaway, but may not allow you to start until mid October. They do charge a fee for this service, but it is usually small.
Do your shopping ahead of time on paper. In other words, create a spreadsheet listing the gifts for each person and what they will cost. Does it equal the amount of money you are saving? If it doesn't then it is time to save more or buy less. Stick to this list when you are shopping. Impulse buying is the debt creator.
Watch for sales. September is the time to buy toys, bicycles and small electronics. October is a good month for clothing and November is back to electronics sales. Home appliances are usually on sale in December. Also, start buying your baking supplies when they go on sale.
The holidays can be stressful, but nothing beats the stress you feel when you open that first post holiday credit card bill. Be frugal by planning, saving, and taking advantage of layaway and sales.