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$ave Me: Luxe Christmas gifts for the 99%

Spending like a One Percenter isn't such a bad idea this holiday season, at least in one respect—the wealthy plan to be more budget conscious with holiday gift-giving.

Upper middle class households—those earning $100,000 to $149,000 a year—expect to spend an average $1,014 on gifts, down 7.1 percent from last year, according to a survey from American Express Publishing and Harrison Group. "One Percenters" with incomes exceeding $450,000 will spend 3.3 percent less, although that still amounts to $3,414.

(Of course, not everyone plans to cut their gift list. Households earning under $100,000 annually will spend $532 on holiday gifts, up 6.6 percent, according to the survey. "Core affluent" households—those earning $150,000 to $450,000—plan to spend 10.9 percent more, at an average $2,176.)

If the gift list is more luxe than your budget, look for alternate shopping avenues. Flash sale sites such as Gilt.com and RueLaLa.com often have designer brands—from Christian Louboutin shoes to Le Creuset cookware—at 50 percent off or better.

Instead of buying from the designer directly, browse department stores such as Nordstrom and Saks, and online retailers like Net-A-Porter.com. They offer many of the same brands, and are more apt to have holiday sales. (Even if they don't, discounted gift cards may be available on eBay or resellers such as GiftCardGranny.com, netting shoppers discounts of up to 30 percent.)

By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Follow her on Twitter @kelligrant.

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