The Christmas advertising juggernaut is set at maximum warp speed, producing a 24-hour-a-day onslaught of sales pitches for everything from Spongebob boxer shorts to HD widescreen TVs. (Wow! I never realized how attractive Angelina Jolie's nose hair was.)

Thank goodness advertisers haven't figured out a way to invade my dreams!

Or have they?

Anyway, if you're anything like me, you've probably entered self-preservation mode, circling the wagons around yourself in an effort to ward of the insidious efforts of the ad industry.

"Hypocrisy!" you yell?

Well, I do work for "The Media," and this newspaper, like any other printed publication, earns profits by including flyers, circulars, catalogs and other inserts designed to promote and sell our customers' goods.

However, I don't work for the Pilot's advertising department; I work in the editorial department, which means I don't have to worry so much about biting the hands that feed us. Besides, most people spend their hard-earned 50 cents on the Pilot not for important community-related news, but for the ads. Right? The two or three Pilot readers who are not interested in the ads can simply throw that stuff away and read the important stuff: comics, obituaries and the letters to the editor.

But I digress.

This holiday season, everywhere we go, everywhere we turn, we are deluged with advertising come-ons. Christmas has become extravagant beyond belief!

What's a poor journalist with a limited income supposed to do?

I could turn off the TV, radio and Internet, but then what would I have to live for?

No. The trick is to be frugal. Spending money isn't a bad thing. Spending a lot of money on things that will soon be relegated to the darkest corners of our closets is.

So, I humbly offer a few tips on how to be frugal this holiday season.

First, send your money to me! (I promise I will spend it frugally).

Seriously ...

andbull;Determine how much money you have to spend on Christmas presents and stick to the budget.

andbull;Resist impulse buying and buy only what's on your list of well thought out gift ideas.

andbull;Make your own presents: a personalized family photo album for grandma, a home-cooked meal for a neighbor, a coupon to your spouse for 10 free foot rubs.

andbull;Involve children in the planning and buying of gifts so they gain a better understanding of money management.

Perhaps, most important, don't get caught up in the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality. Christmas is not about who has the tallest tree, best light display or who gives the most expensive gifts. It's not about Spongebob boxer shorts and widescreen TVs, and it's certainly not about who can rack up the highest credit card debt.

One of the best ways to fend off the tenacious holiday advertising is to find and cherish your own personal Christmas spirit.

I found it yesterday, inside my 7-year-old daughter's heart. When asked what she wanted Santa to bring her, she said she didn't want to ask for anything. "I don't want him to think I'm greedy."

There's hope for mankind after all.