I start Christmas Shopping insanely early. For example- I started shopping for Christmas 2009 right after Thanksgiving 2008. I've definitely continued the trend!
I keep a box in the spare bedroom. When I find something I think someone will like (or a REALLY good deal), I buy it and put it in the Christmas Box. I keep a list of who I've purchased for, that way I don't end up with three times the presents I need. However, I will keep in mind Birthdays too- I'm not ashamed to raid the Christmas Box for a good birthday gift.
By spreading out my shopping, it REALLY reduces the stress of Christmas and the pinch it puts on the bank account. I don't have to worry about needing to charge things on a credit card. In some cases, I've purchased AWESOME 75% off gifts, which allows me to give presents that would have been beyond my means normally, while still saving money! A $50 gift 75% is only $12.50. If I normally try to spend $20, I save $8.50 and the person getting the gift gets one worth $30 more!
Keep in mind though- only buy GOOD stuff. No one wants to received a chipped and broken gift, so you can save money. I try to have someone in mind when I buy, or at least say "This would work for _____, ________ or ____!"
Don't be afraid to make gifts as well! I recently asked a group of friends and it was pretty much agreed that a homemade gift is welcomed (and sometimes preferred) as long as it is well done and shows you know something about the person!
What do I mean by that? Don't give painted bookmarks to someone who hates to read. Don't give a sugar cookie mix to someone that's diabetic. DO hand knit a scarf for someone that loves scarves. DO decorate a framed picture of you and the person.