Here's my number one suggestion for trimming your holiday gift budget: buy weird gifts. The recipient won't have any idea of the value, and may be too surprised to even try guess how much you've spent. Weird gifts are also remembered long after the socks, DVDs and gift cards are forgotten. Not sure what I mean by weird? Here are four examples.
For the executive on your list worried in the tightening employment market, that the ax may fall his/her way, what better gift that a desktop guillotine? Pair this with a cheap doll dressed like his/her boss and you've got a surefire gift winner. ($19.95)
For the kid in us all, who wouldn't delight in a spy coin? These U.S. coins have been halved and hollowed out, perfect for carrying microfilm of top-secret plans, or anti-flatulence pills. Don't enclose something you treasure TOO much, though, because, frankly, it's only a matter of time before you drop it into a parking meter or leave it as part of your tip. ($21 and up)
The Japanese are without equal at whimsy, and a 9-pieced Snack and Dessert eraser set should delight any youngster on your list. Or choose a baseball glove and ball, milk cartons, chocolate cake slices, golf clubs and bag, all made into pencil erasers. ($1-10)
If you're a bit fed up with your parents or others demanding a portrait of you to display, why not give them a life-sized cutout of yourself? Better yet, you could send the cutout to family gatherings in your place- think of the air fare you'll save! Chances are, once the TV goes on, no-one would notice the difference anyway. ($145)