I went to the osteo this morning, as I tend to about once a month or so for a chin wag and so that he can put my neck, back & jaw back into place, and we got onto the topic of Christmas. He was talking about a study he had just heard about by St Vincent de Paul who found that a huge number of people get given really crappy, junky presents that they really didn't want anyway and would have rather have been given a charity present.
I think that it is a really timely reminder as I have a few (well quite a lot) of nieces & nephews, kris kringles to do, and it is really easy to just get a "junky-little-something", when it just ends up in the bin the next week. There are so many options now to do better than that. There are second hand fantastic gifts to give, there are charity gifts that are giving money to the charity to do something wonderful with, and a token (maybe a card, or a pin, etc) for the person.
Oxfam, World Vision and Tear are some of the bigger ones that provide us with "really useful gift ideas" that won't clutter up people's houses with another ornament that they don't want and I am sure that if I keep scratching the surface (or surfing the net) there will be a bunch more. Just find the one that speaks to you most. There are also some great toys and other gift ware that are made by people in third world countries and the money will go straight back into their communities - fair trade choices. If you don't like shopping on the internet, there is always the Community Aid Abroad shops. They always have great stuff, then there are the local school art fairs, or local art/farmers markets or local shops that stock well made things.
I think that given the state of affairs in the world right now, giving less presents that mean more may mean that it is a slightly more important Christmas present.