5. A communal dinner. This works best in a peer group of friends or co-workers, and can make financial sense for everyone involved. Rather than exchanging gifts you aren't sure people will want, plan a dinner where everyone is responsible for one aspect of the meal. Get together to prepare and eat that meal, and you'll find you've given each other something very valuable: each other's time.6. Baked goods -- with a twist. Baked goods are a time-honored and cost-effective gift. But rather than giving them at the holidays when everyone is already overloaded with food, consider a twist like making your own "cookie of the month club" through which you give small batches of treats throughout the year.