One inevitable part of Christmas is attending Christmas parties. This time-honored tradition often requires a gift. A common way to make gift giving monetarily fair is to have a Christmas grab bag with a certain dollar limit on cost of presents. This levels the monetary playing field, but it's also important to come up with a grab bag idea beyond the usual standbys of food and bath products.
Theme Grab Bag
Choose a theme like "stone," which can range anywhere from a stone mug to a CD from the Rolling Stones. Another theme idea could be deer or dear. You could get deer meat, a Dear John letter, or a picture frame with reindeer on them.
Story Grab Bag
The idea behind this grab bag is to write a small poem or story, giving a gift that goes along with the story. For example, you could write a story about "an average day" for the person, and include gifts that they might use in the average day along with some fun personal gifts thrown in. For a teacher, you could start with a small box of cereal for breakfast, a box of red pens to mark up all the lessons, a ticket for lunch in the school cafeteria, and a DVD to relax at night.
Grab Bags that Give Back
Instead of exchanging grab bags for each other, giving things that you may not want or need, do a grab bag that gives back. Have everyone bring canned goods for the grab bag and donate them to a local homeless shelter. In addition, you could trade needed services with each other. A family with small children would probably enjoy a night of free babysitting while an older couple may appreciate someone to come and clean for them.