This time of year, the desire to buy gifts for everyone we know is overwhelming. Most of our family does not have the ability to spend as freely as we would like, so we have come up with alternatives. About ten years ago we made a decision in our family to change the way we gave gifts at the holidays. It began by everyone choosing one other name out of a hat and then buying that person something they really wanted. A $50 limit worked well for us. The kids were of course the exception to the rule and there were a few Christmas's after I met my step kids that were a little out of hand even for the kids (but it was fun).
We have pared that back quite a bit now since our girls are teenagers and in fact they are very much on board with our new plan. The last five or six years we have chosen to go away for a week during the holidays with my parents and my sister's family. We go to the mountains, rent cross country skis and stay in a house with a hot tub. It is really nice to get away from our regular lives for a few days and spend time together. We choose to spend the money we would have on gifts on a rental home instead.
The kids are still the exception, but it is mostly reserved for Santa gifts and stockings. In fact, all of us still get stockings, but most of what goes in them is hand made. I make homemade lip and body balms and lotions, as I have posted about in the past. They make the perfect stocking stuffers!