I don’t know if people outside Brazil has the same tradition of secret friend: it’s a game that we usually do at the end of the year. Each person writes his/her name in a piece of paper, fold it and put it in a same basket. Then the papers are sorted and distributed again. The name you take in the second round is your secret friend, and you have to buy him/her a gift.
It reduces the amount of gifts you have to buy, and everyone gets something at the end of the game.
An alternative suggestion if you want to innovate with something more creative and totally sustainable: what about a fair trade? Enjoy your year-end cleaning the cupboards and wardrobes, separate what is in very good condition but you’re tired of, what no longer serves you, which does not match your new home or what you are tired of reading, listening or watching. Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same! You can take pictures and put in a tumblr, as we did: donossoquintal.tumblr.com. =)
Another great idea, especially if you are in need of extra money, you can try the idea of @franfran, a virtual garage sale: http://acasanovadafran.shoply.com/
Let old things go, have fun and renew without spending more resources!