I have never been a real fan of these types of exchanges. Always seemed I gave great thought over my gift of what others might like and I would end up going home with something I wouldn't even donate. One year they came up with an ornament exchange and the one I ended up with was a broken snowman. Fun! The youth group at church used to do a "white elephant" exchange, until a couple of the boys used actual trash in their gift. They thought it was funny, no one else did. I could go on, so I stopped participating. After a few years of it, it was too hard to pretend some of the off color items were funny and when others just picked out the cheapest item they could find - it was easier to stop than to pretend. I can't understand why people ca't do the gift card idea if they really feel forced into it. I know it is hard to admit sometimes when it isn't affordable, then maybe bake a bunch of cookies or something.
People shouldn't be upset about re-gifting at these things either, unless it is something that expired. People get things they really don't want - why not send it along?
Sorry to be the party-pooper, but I really prefer to give gifts to people I want to give a thoughtful gift rather than a guessing game and be the victim of someone else's thoughtlessness.