I just typed out a response that was so long it logged me off before I could post it! This is a sore spot with me as well....
I love the idea of a family gift! That is great. And I bet you would come out cheaper. It sounds like money is no object, so I would steer away from gift cards with dollar amounts on them. If you are not at the point that you can just stop exchanging gifts, find something fun that the whole family can enjoy (like a fondue pot or a movie gift basket with yummy treats and a few DVDs in it) and wrap it up and call it a day.
A few years ago when my sister had her third child and we still only had one child I was feeling a little bummed that I was expected to spend $50 on each of her children and she only had to spend it on one of mine. Her husband is a surgeon and makes three times what mine does and they throw money around like nobody's business. They have so much that she would dictate to me exactly what to get them so I wouldn't give them something they already had. I got annoyed enough to talk to her about it and suggest that from now on, we just give each other's children books for birthdays and holidays (I was a teacher too). Surprisingly, she agreed. She still tells me WHICH books to buy
but at least I come out a little cheaper than I used to, and I know they will be used. Now that her oldest is in 4th grade I have started giving her a $25 gift card to the bookstore so she can choose her own books.
I wish I could get the nerve up to suggest the same thing with dh's side of the family. They give my oldest son a present with no thought put into it whatsoever and they have given my youngest NOTHING since he was born. Nothing!!! I think it is so rude. How can you make the effort to box something up for one child and ignore the other one?! Last year they gave my 6 year old son a framed picture of the family from the beach vacation the year before. Hmmm, just what every six year old wants! The year before that they gave him a flimsy paperback book about Valentines Day that still had the $1 price tag on it. My SIL is a very successful trial attorney and my BIL makes a good living in the financial world, so it isn't like they can't afford it. Yet I go above and beyond for their 2 kids and have never received a single thank you from them (they live 4 hours away and we don't see them on their birthdays or Christmas). Last year I gave them personalized stationary - subtle, aren't I - and I STILL didn't get a thank you note from them!
I remember when I was growing up that when we became teenagers we stopped exchanging gifts with cousins. I don't see that happening in my generation, but I wish it would.