'Tis the week of... complete and total insanity!
First things first: take care of yourself. Pulling out your hair and going completely blitheringly insane will not help you.
Ok, let's take a look at general types of gifts:
The Duty Gift :
Don't do it!
Now, if you absolutely must buy a gift for someone you don't like (Even I've found myself here) don't bother trying to extend an olive branch for Christmas, or knock yourself out attempting to charm someone who, for whatever reason, just irks you.
My former MIL and SIL were rather nasty women. I gave up on trying to crack their hard outer shells... I do believe they might be hollow, no chocolate cream filling there. Here, the drug store coffee mug bought at 11PM or later on Christmas eve works. Also, if you're forever hanging out with people you are forcing yourself to be nice to, out of "They are human and therefore deserve love because of that" start re-evaluating, and make a few changes. This might be the nicest gift you give yourself. But don't stop trying to be nice... I can tell you the amount of nasty people is actually outnumbered by the kind people, they're just generally quieter.
You aren't giving this with a genuine smile. So quit scratching your head over it. Try a $25 Wal*Mart card. (I detest shopping at Wal*Mart, so consider this my only advertising for Sam Walton's satanic super store of horror.)
Mom is generally easy. But please remember, she is responsible for your very existence and didn't throttle you no matter what mischief you got yourself into.
Please, for God's sake, no reindeer sweaters! Try something nice to allow her to spoil herself.
Say I love you, say thank you.
Exhibit A: "Amazing Gratitude"- nice and fresh, clean.
For the non bubble bath variety, work with their interests (You know your mom, right?) - try picking up a classic film. A nice tin of tea with a bow on it. A really awesome photo in a nice frame. A nice sweater she can wear all year round... a good book. Spend time with her over a meal you make for her. Make her coffee (IN A NICE MUG. No chintzy Santas here.)
If all else fails, give her a hug and a cup of tea, and hand her one of these, so she can choose something to pamper herself. Make sure to let Mom know she needs to spoil herself, too!
Philosophy Gift Cards
This might be tough... but I'll give her a go. A book on classic cars. A model of the Death Star. For God's sake, no ties! A model of the Starship Enterprise? Live long and prosper. Wish I could help more, here.
*Something from Think Geek or Neatorama. A card so they can buy something on their iPods, Kindles, or whatever else they choose. A fun little game or gadget.
For those of the feminine persuasion, think on the same lines as Mom. Favorite animals/colors?
Kids: Work with interests. This means you should let them show you, over time, what they like. For me, this involves Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, and all sorts of typical boy stuff, like science kits and cars. Also, good, brightly illustrated books with beautiful pictures. The classic books. Actually, that could go anywhere here.
Please, for the love of all that's holy:
Stay away from chintz, forget ties and frowsy sweaters, and please... try to avoid going over-expensive in lieu of conversations, etc.
Try to avoid the big box stores. Try shopping local.