One of the reasons people give for not giving gifts is that they can't afford it. Gifts don't have to cost money, but they cost time and effort. If you're in a panic about money, those two things are hard to find. The reason these people believe they can't afford it, though, is that they've so bought into consumer culture that they're in debt or have monthly bills that make no sense at all.
When you cut your expenses to the bone, you have a surplus. The surplus allows you to be generous, which mysteriously turns around and makes your surplus even bigger.
From Seth Godin's book--Linchpin.