I gave the 'cheapest' gift EVER to my best gal pal, Daryl. I bought it this summer at a YARD SALE. It was something she would LOVE, though and I love having a friend who loves inexpensive gifts as much as expensive ones. One day I may be wealthy and buy things that are expensive AND meaningful, for now meaninful and thoughtful are what I strive for.
I know of people who sacrifice paying bills and even mortgage payments to buy gifts. This mortifies me. If I love you enough to exchange gifts with you I love you enough to NOT get one for you to keep your things/home. A gift given b/c we HAVE to is no gift AT ALL. I say this because at my dad's family gathering there was sum hub-bub about a portion of the family potentially losing their home. With 20 some family members I counted they could have easily paid a payment. What sort of family would we be if we wanted gifts more than security for them?
I think this is the BEST time to plan for next years gift season. Make your rough list, make a budget and start saving. Also put on the list things you KNOW about that person. You may find the perfect gift at a thrift shop or yard sale.
For me it is as simple as being PERSONAL! I hate the 'office exchange' where you don't know for whom you buy. It puts MORE stress on the giver, IMO. Now, be sure to say thanks for all your gifts this year and maybe even get yourself some Thank you notes out.
Happy New Year to you all!