If there's a time when we're going to indulge and treat ourselves and the people around us to something special, it's usually over the festive season. The average UK family spends £800 on their Christmas shopping, almost double the European average. We say bah, humbug to that! Put aside any unwanted pressures to spend money on stuff they may not want. Instead, we've pulled together 8 ways you can do something special this Christmas by sharing or choosing thoughtfulness to fill stockings without emptying your wallet. Here's to a merry share-y Christmas:

1) Share the cooking

Rather than being tied to the stove for days, invite family and friends over for an afternoon of batch cooking. Preparing dishes in advance leaves you more time to relax and enjoy the festive season. Get started with our collection of hearty winter recipes for inspiration.

Batch cooking together at Christmas is the perfect occasion to sharing the joy of cooking and cooking skills with the next generation. Put your little elves to work with our top tips for cooking with kids and collection of child-friendly recipes.

2) Share a gift of waste

Gifts make up nearly 60% of our Christmas budgets, but there are cheaper and more personal ways to treat your loved ones. Fill stockings and bellies by making home-made pickles, preserves, chutneys or jams. Visit Rubies in the Rubble to see how to make chutney like a pro, or for something a little different try oven drying fruit slices, or vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. Once dried, place in an air tight container (or you could use oil for vegetables) and tie a ribbon around.

Read more in The Gift of Waste e-book uncovering stories and recipes from 10 North London kitchens.

3) One person's clutter is another's Christmas treasure

Give yourself space to enjoy the festive season by decluttering your home. Haven’t worn, read or used something in the last 6 months? Doubt you’ll find a use for it in the new year? Donate to your local charity shop or put it on Freecycle to make someone’s Christmas a little bit more magical.

Inspired to do some DIY around the house, but lacking tools? Don’t worry! The Library of Things has everything you need - from DIY tools to gardening things, kitchenware, camping kit and events equipment. There will be all sorts to help you get mending and making.

4) Driving home for Christmas? Go together

If being stuck in traffic or expensive train tickets aren’t on your wish list, why not try a cheaper, greener and more social option this Christmas. Ride-sharing sites such as BlaBlaBlaCar or Liftshare let you connect with people driving home for Christmas in the same direction as you. Share a ride and a friendly carol too.

5) Share the love for seconds

Christmas is the season for seconds – second servings and second-hand clothes. Unleash your inner elf this year and browse, personal stylist Emma Slade's, 10 tips to give your clothes a second lease at life. Emma also uncovers some secrets for spotting the hidden gems in charity shops. Already doing that? Swish upon a star at a nearby swap or second-hand shop.

Inspired to run your own fashion event or get together with friends? Have a browse of this “Make, do and mend event ideas handbook” for some inspiration.

6) Share an experience

Memories don’t require storage, so why not give your friends a shared experience rather than stuff this year? Make a voucher for a home cooked meal, backrub, movie night, or picnic in the park. You could even make your own cards using an old sponge or a potato that's way past its date as paint stamps. Want to crank it up a notch? Book a cooking class, dinner at a sustainable restaurant or cinema tickets. Make a personalized voucher to make it extra special. You’ll find loads of inspiration on Pinterest.

7) Share food

Going away for the holidays and worried about finishing the food in your fridge? Don’t be! 81% of us would be happy to receive food from a neighbour, so give your neighbours a special Christmas gift and avoid food waste at the same time. Download OLIO, the free food-sharing app - the perfect tool to connect with your neighbours and local shops. Being a surplus Santa couldn’t be easier.

8) Share food with your future self

3/4 of us struggle to eat all of the food we buy for the festive season, and across the UK 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies are binned. Freezing leftovers can cut food waste by a half, saving food and up to £250 per family each year. To help you stock up your freezer we’ve busted some common freezer myths.

5 facts about freezing food everyone should know

Still in a flummox over freezing? Here are 12 freezer friendly foods to get you going.

Cooking frozen food is easier than you thawed. Get started with our Festive Freeze recipes.

Got some tips of your own? Share them below and we'll include them in our next round of tips.