Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., one of the few American holidays where the only things you're expected to buy are groceries. Some cooks like to go all out (see: turducken), others prefer to just go out. What kind of cook are you?
"One of the few American holidays where the only things you're expected to buy are groceries"
Let me see, other American holidays:
New Year's - Nothing but party food and drink.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday - Some people get this day off work. Parades in some areas. Not much of a tradition behind this one yet. Certainly no gift giving.
Chinese New Year - Parades, gift giving(?), not sure about this.
Valentine's Day - Chocolate, Cards and yes, there is gift giving.
President's Day - Not even really a party day.
Tet, the Vietnamese New Year falls in this area. They do a lot of shopping (because traditionally shops are closed for Tet). New clothes are common, too.
St. Patrick's Day - parades and parties, no presents.
Easter - Food, decorations. Yes, some people give presents, I think in an effort to get away from chocolate or worse, live chicks and bunnies.
Cinco de Mayo - Becoming more important each year. Festivals, parties and pinatas (which I suppose is a form of gift giving.)
Memorial Day - Honors the men and women who have perished in the service of our country. Parades, barbecues, the start of America's summer, no gift giving that I know of, unless you count the gift of freedom that these brave men and women have laid down their lives for.
Fourth of July - Independence Day - More parades, more picnics/barbecues, the fireworks that you so despised in an earlier Writer's Block question.
Rosh Hashanah - Not a day that I've heard as being a gift giving occassion.
Labor Day - The end of summer, more barbecues, more parades, no gift giving that I've been part of.
Halloween - Trick or Treat! Costumes (is it costumes that you're objecting to buying?) Candy, Parties. Some people are trying to get away from giving out candy by giving out little gifts like stickers instead.
Veteran's Day - Parades in honor of the men and women who have served and are currently serving our country. No presents exchanged, except (same as Memorial Day) the gift of freedom that our armed forces provide for us.
December brings Hanukkah and Christmas. Yes, gift giving is associated with both of those, although that's not the sole purpose of either of those holidays.