I wouldn't do the gingerbread houses either, for the same reasons as PPs. Most people don't eat them, and most of the fun is decorating it yourself or having your kids do it.
I always do chocolates- I make fudge, crispy chocolates, mint chocolate covered oreos, buckeyes, cookies'n'cream bars, etc... Our families seem to like them. I can't do cookies because I always ruin them lol, but I can make some mean chocolates.
I also did hand print ornaments with DS this year for the grandparents, since it's his first Christmas (and he's going to be 1 on the 27th).
I do buy for parents and kids though. Parents get $10-20 spent on them, and I usually spend roughly $10 a kid. What I do it hit sales throughout the year, and just buy where/when I can. I do end up buying stuff in December, but I don't have to buy for everyone so that helps. We used to spend more, but we have about 10 nieces/nephews (with more on the way), so even at just $10 a kid it adds up.