Many of us are choosing to not participate, and I hope you are among those. I hate even having to drive on this day, but when visiting relatives, it's almost unavoidable.
Many of us are struggling financially this year. But aside from not being able to shop with impunity, we would prefer not to have our expressions of love for our dear ones tied to how much money we can spend on them. Giving to our loved ones is a pleasure, but we can give things that matter to both us and them. A very basic suggestion first off would be to buy American. Aside from online shopping with American businesses, you can look for things with the Made in USA sticker in stores, too. (I know, it takes a LOT of looking!)
A simple way to buy American can be as easy as patronizing local galleries and craftspeople, potters, weavers, artists, and so on for handmade and unique gifts that give back to the local community and the craftspeople who made them.
Here in Western North Carolina, this is ridiculously easy to do, as there are craftspeople in every town and community, and so many local retailers which sell these works. One of the oldest potters in the region is Brown's Pottery. Their work and variety is amazing; if you are in WNC, please visit their place on Hwy 25!
Those of you not in this area can also buy such pieces online, and a good place to start is the Southern Highlands Craft Guild. There are SO many items at all price levels, including handmade wooden toys (non-toxic!) for children.
Another example is the work of the talented students at Berea College, KY. Everyone who goes to Berea works their way through school, and they have some excellent craftspeople there, from all over Appalachia. My grandpa went there; it was his ticket out of the holler, and the crushing poverty he experienced as a child.
These are the kinds of purchases that can make a real difference economically! These items will give your loved ones one-of-a-kind treasures which will be cherished for years to come. And isn't that better than cheap foreign crap from Sprawl-Mart and that ilk?