I try to be original in my gift giving, but there are some gifts I give every year that are the same thing, year-in and year-out. I call them my "proverbial tie" gifts. They aren't spectacular, well-thought out gifts,* but they're things I know the receiver enjoys and it becomes sort of an expectation.
For example, every year, I get Bee a calendar of lighthouses from Gladstone Media. This is literally the best calendar I've ever seen for this topic and she loves getting it. So, every December, I trudge out into retail madness to Borders Books and Bling and buy the newest Lighthouses calendar. I also get her one of those page-a-day calendars, because she likes those, as well.
My siblings and I have fond memories of Christmases past and many of the toys and gadgets we found brightly wrapped in paper and bows on Christmas morning. At least one gift each year is a toy or game--often a throwback to when we were kids. This year, I'm giving my sister coloring books and crayons because she told me once that that was one of her very favorite Christmas gifts ever. I'm giving my brother a Playmobil set. Last year, I gave my sister a deluxe Mr. Potato Head Star Wars edition. That was fun! This year should be, too. (And, in case you're wondering, yes, they will get used and played with. In between playing games and snacking, we'll probably end up coloring and imagining scenes with the Playmobil.)
As for actual ties themselves, I've finally given up on that. And CDs and DVDs and subscriptions. I do love giving books, though. In fact, I have a couple of books I'm about to send to a friend on the other side of the pond that I'm quite excited about. They combine the best of contemporary poetry with the root of all languages and while that may not sound very exciting or fun to you, I think my friend really enjoy them! (I can't tell you what they are here, because said friend reads this blog and I'd hate to blow the surprise.)
Here's hoping your holiday gift buying is going well!
*Actually, they start out that way. They're usually based on something someone likes or has indicated they would enjoy. You get it once and they like it so much, it becomes one of those things you get them every year because it's a sure thing. (By the way--I only do repeat gifts for less than a handful of people and gifts. I'm not that shallow and unoriginal!)