A couple of thoughts for you --
1. My sister and those in her home (all adults, except for one kid) last year mixed it up by having a theme. They decided on "As Seen on TV" and bought only crazy products that were on late night television. The results were hilarious and they had a ton of fun. I don't think this was necessarily cheaper but they cannot wait to top it this year.
2. In my house, we've always done Secret Santa with our kids but with 7 kids and very limited funds we always kept it small -- like $5. As the kids have gotten older and we have done better, we increased it. Last year, in the spirit of cutting back, we went back to the $5 limit. The result was amazing because the kids got really creative, especially by saving money on wrapping by coming up with their own custom way of wrapping their presents (My enterprising 7 year old, for example, torn a couple of pages out of a Christmas coloring book, colored the pages and then wrapped her present inside of it). They had a lot of fun doing this and I think the $5 gifts from last year will be far more memorable down the road.