Being a photographer isn't the sort of job in which you can walk out the door at 5 p.m. and leave your work behind until the next day, which is why time is the most precious gift a photographer can receive.
Coming to you from James Popsys, this great video talks about the gift of time. Of course, there are two main problems with shopping for a photographer. First, it's expensive — often really expensive. I don't think I can ask my sister for that third Broncolor monolight I need for the holidays. Actually, she did just get a promotion and a raise. I guess it couldn't hurt to ask. Anyway, the other problem is that photographers have highly specific tastes, and for the uninitiated, it can be near impossible to know what to get a photographer. After all, how can I expect my sister to know I really need a Broncolor Siros L 800 Ws monolight unless someone told her? Derek, if you're reading this, send her the link.
In all seriousness, though, an intangible like time or just a dragging the photographer away from their computer cave for a few hours for a nice lunch could be perfect. If you have any photographer friends or your family is asking what to get you for the holidays, consider those ideas. I suppose there are always B&H gift cards too.
Lead image by Kim Stiver, used under Creative Commons.