The one thing that concerns me most about holiday giving isn't the money. It's figuring out what to give each person that will be personal and appreciated. Sometimes, in our family we've tried drawing names, giving one person a list of things we'd like, and letting that person pass our lists on to the right people. We've tried making a rule that we could give only homemade items (baked goods, art, sewed or quilted items, etc.) One or two times, everyone brought a small gift and put it in a pile so everyone could draw lots to pick out gifts that could then be claimed by someone else while the chooser had to draw another gift.
None of the ideas lasted for more than a year or two. Even the plan to give money to charity rather than buy gifts for each other (except for young children) worked entirely. There were some who insisted on giving gifts to everyone in the family as well as to the charity. That made the folks who followed the plan feel a little awkward and curmudgeonly.
Here's an idea. Everyone could give books to each other. We know what kind of books most of our family members enjoy. But if someone receives an book, he or she could pass it on in some way. Give it to someone who would like it. Donate it to the library. Put it in a box of items going to a charity. Give it to a retirement community.
People have given my cozy mystery books as gifts in the past, and they've written to tell me the gifts were appreciated. They have also been loved by the folks in retirement communities where I've donated them.
Have a stress-free holiday season. Read a book!
Here are the doors I've been staining lately. Writing in the evenings and staining during the day--the cozy life of a mystery writer.