I love edible gifts, so I am very excited to follow this thread. I'd love to see ideas for cakes/pies in jars and fancy brownie recipes (s'mores brownies, etc.).
And just so I'm contributing, I'll share my favorite pepperminty brownie recipe! (Or maybe I should say "recipe" LOL)
Ingredients needed: 1 box brownie mix, plus egg/oil/water, etc. (whatever is needed to make the brownies -- and if you have a great scratch recipe, feel free to use that instead!) 1 bag mini Peppermint Patties
Preheat oven as directed on box. Mix brownie batter and pour into greased brownie pan. Bake brownies as directed, but pull them out of the oven about 5 minutes before they're supposed to be done. Carefully cover the top of the brownies with unwrapped peppermint patties. (For an 8x8" pan, I usually use about 16-25 patties, depending on how well I can squish them in.) Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until patties are slightly melted and brownies appear done. Gently swirl the melted patties to make an interesting design, or enough that the entire surface of the brownies is covered in chocolaty, melty goodness. Enjoy when cooled, or you'll have a gooey (yet still totally delicious!) mess on your hands!
In my extended family, each family buys a gift for the little kids who are not yet in school. The school age kids (kindergarten through high school) draw names and can spend no more than $20. We used to have a grown-ups swap but it got too complicated, so we discontinued that a few years ago (just when I was going to "graduate" to the grown-ups swap!) This past year, though, we started doing a white elephant swap with a price cap of $15, participation completely optional. It went over really well, even with the box of open, stale, half-eaten taco shells that one of my cousins and his then-fiancee brought for the swap... and even then, that's part of the fun of a white elephant! (I heard a rumor that my cousin and his now-wife got the taco shells back as a wedding present last month!)
My boyfriend's extended family used to go ALL OUT for Christmas, but last year, they finally instituted a gift-exchange to make it a bit more economical. I'll buy a gift for him, his mom, and his sister, as well as the person whose name I chose, and that's it. Cuts back a bit on the craziness, or so I hope!