This year is a little different.
To help everyone focus on Jesus this year, we have simplified.
My side of the family exchanges names, so Tim and I bought just two gifts, including a donation to Heifer International, to help families in developing countries. We bought 5 shares toward the purchase of a goat.
Tim's side of the family no longer exchanges names for adults. We used to exchange adult names, then all get presents for the grandkids/grand-nieces/grand-nephews. Now the adults exchange names for the kids, and make a donation toward a family in need. This way, the kids just receive a few things, and the adults are able to bless someone in the name of Jesus instead of accumulating more and more stuff.
Tim and I have simplified our giving to the kids and to each other as well. Our major purchase was a donation to our church's Beyond Our Valley Christmas Offering. We bought one toy present for the kids (scooters for family time and exercise - sssshhhh, don't tell!), plus a few clothing items and their stocking stuffers.
We want Christmas to mean something more than just presents. We will be baking holiday goodies to give away to neighbors and friends at church with the intent of blessing them in the name of Jesus. We will be buying canned goods to donate to our church's food basket giveaway in the name of Jesus. We will intentionally give of ourselves without expectation of receiving anything but God's smile. We will give.
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." - John 3:16-17 (the Message)