I have always been a proponent of practical gifts rather than frivolous ones. I have always believed that gifts should be something useful, centering, and educational. I also believe that if you pick them carefully enough that they should be something someone chooses to keep for a lifetime.
In keeping with this idea and the general frugality with which many people must approach the season this year, I am giving a lot of books this year. Oh yes, a few people are getting copies of the books I have written, signed copies at that. But mostly, they are getting books which concern their interests, history, gardening, design, furniture, cooking or decorating. I spent the day carefully wrapping about thirty different books, and then covering them with ribbons and a label. They all look pretty fantastic, although a simply ribboned book can look pretty special too.
This year, take a look at your local bookstores. Also take a look at some of the excellent internet sources of books. Chances are there are some books your loved ones would like but haven't had a chance to get. Give some thought to giving a precious book or book set this season. Let me know what you choose, and also, how it works out.