In previous generations, people saved for the holidays by opening Christmas club bank accounts. These accounts, which peaked in popularity during the ’70s, encouraged depositors to contribute regularly to save for holiday gifts.

Low interest rates eventually dwindled the appeal of Christmas club accounts. But the idea of saving for the holidays never went away. And with the holidays a few months away, the time to start saving is now (if you haven’t already). So what’s the best way to save for the holidays in 2012?

Ally Bank offers several options. With no minimum deposit, no monthly maintenance fees and highly competitive interest rates compounded daily, Ally’s Online Savings Account and Money Market Account both provide an FDIC-insured haven for your money to grow. Plus, you can add money to either of these accounts as often as you’d like. You can even direct a portion of your direct-deposit check toward one of these accounts, if your employer allows.

If you want to get ahead for saving for next Christmas, consider opening up an Ally CD account: a High Yield Certificate of Deposit, a Raise Your Rate Certificate of Deposit or a No Penalty Certificate of Deposit. Like Ally savings accounts, these CDs offer highly competitive interest rates.

When do you start saving money for holiday gifts? How do you go about saving?