My husband is hard to shop for. I keep telling him he needs to stop buying stuff for himself so I (and others) can give it to him. It's practically impossible to surprise him, too. And I can't just give him food or cash, I usually have to spend his money anyway.
My mom used to sew stuffed toys for a living, I found her shelf of supplies this year! Woot! I started out making well thought out nice things for my friends, but then after I'd finished... Oh my, I don't have any gift for my brother.
So I took the furriest fabric I could find, cut out a round-ish thing, and ya know, stitched around the edge and pulled the thread so you get this pouch like thing.... Stuffed it, closed off the hole in the bottom, and slapped on some eyes. Ta-da! Super adorable furry squishy thing!
I just make something weird for people I don't know what to give to. Works wonderfully, even people you didn't think would like that love them!
I stopped buying gifts for people last century. Christmas is just a commercilism gimmick; Santy Claus et all are successful advertising gimmicks from the last century or two, yet people call it 'tradition'.
I just go to church.
Granted, I live overseas, and the last set of gifts were from all over Europe and Asia (including an original painting of Fuji-san from Japan).
I imagine shopping for engineers is a nightmare; they prolly already have the latest gadgets (if they hadn't built it themselves)
Just give 'em cash or chocolate. I'm no fan of gift cards; they tend to have limits and conditions.
Yeah, kids are easy to please, if they are brought up properly, that is.
Yeah, it's gimmicky, but it's also worth the time and effort, seeing as it's close family. I see no reason to be sour because of the commercialism; no one in my family would look down on me if I didn't get them something, knowing that I'm on the budget of an unemployed college kid. I do this because I love my family and I want to give them presents-- and Christmas is a good time to do it, since we'll all be in one place. The commercialism will be there no matter how we feel about it, so we might as well enjoy ourselves and make the people around us feel noticed and loved.
My mom's side of the family does insist on homemade gifts to prevent people going crazy over the holiday; it's a good idea, I'm just a chronic procrastinator and really, really bad at finishing projects. Every year I swear I'll get started sooner... and every year, I forget about it until two weeks beforehand.
Fortunately, none of the kids in my family are really spoiled. My paternal grandma started the tradition of getting them a book and writing a personal note on the inside cover about how she enjoyed it and what she got out of it, and it can make an otherwise meh book special.
Still, I'm thinking this year might be Scones For Everyone year. Or maybe IOU's for gutter-cleaning.