Maybe I can sway you over to my side, the side that hates scheduled gift giving.
Anytime someone expects a gift to the point where not receiving one is an insult is no longer true gift giving. It's a friendship tax. By their very definition, gifts are items given without compensation. This nonsense of trading gifts is just a manufactured economy where the currency is of questionable value and (without receipts) terrible exchange rates.
And while birthdays are generally more spaced out, Christmas involves a very large investment for a large number of people. Add in travel expenses, heating costs, etc. and winter becomes very expensive for the lower-middle class.
Whenever expectations soar (before getting presents), there is also a greater chance of disappointment. It is nearly impossible to surprise someone with a present when they get them every year on the same day.
My system is this: I give gifts. I don't pay friendship/family tithes.
Throughout the year, if I see something I think someone I care about will like, I buy it, wrap it, and give it to them. This can be anything from a stuffed toy to a KitchenAid mixer.
The recipient benefits because they are actually, genuinely surprised and thrilled, no matter how small or insignificant the present would seem otherwise. Stupid comical nightlight on Christmas is tacky; one for no reason other than to get a smile is golden.
The giver benefits by being able to materially express love in a way that actually fits his/her budget.
This is a philosophy I've held for years and am slowly adopting, slowly getting friends and family to accept my way, if not adopt it. It only takes a couple instances of "Holy crap you bought me (awesome gift) for no goddamn reason!" before you can once again get together for holidays and other events and exchange laughter, food and fellowship instead of debt.
(I still call and give cards on holidays; I'm not a communist.)
You don't buy someone a gift because you are required, or because a calendar or tradition dictates. You buy someone a gift to give them something that shows them "I was thinking of you, I love you, I want you to have this thing I think you will like, and I don't want anything in return other than your happiness."