The answer: books!
Yes, books. It's no secret that books are great gifts: you can get a lot of hardcovers (as well as most trade paperbacks and any mass market paperback) for under $20, you can get something for pretty much everyone you know all in the same store/on the same website, and you indirectly finance the existence of great industry blogs like this one! Everyone wins. Especially you, when you see your five-year-old nephew's face light up on Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa eve upon opening a copy of Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire. You can't put a price tag on moments like that.
NPR has put together a list of the best gift books of 2009, Laura over at Combreviations has posted on Penguin's list of books to give and get, and
So Friends, Roman (-à-clef reader)s, (No) Country (For Old) Men (fans), lend me your ears: write, write, write! And, once you're done writing, go buy some more books—your friends/family need you, your economy needs you, and dang it, I need you, too. At the end of the day, you're the ones paying my salary, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a vested interest in your continuing to buy books. That said, I'm off to my favorite independent book store—I've got a long list this year and, somehow, less time to complete it in.