One tradition I'm hoping to start: instead of the whole presents thing at Christmas, I'd like to have a family dinner where each member of the family makes a contribution. When children are little this could just be 'helping' with something. When kids are older or teenagers if they aren't interested in cooking they could buy something nice to share. I like the idea because it means the focus isn't on individuals, it's on the family. Individual presents are better at birthdays anyway because then it really is a celebration of that person's life.Bron makes a good point that Christmas isn't supposed to be about individauls: it is about the family and it's about Christ. Giving lots of presents to individuals counteracts this message. I've been thinking quite a lot about Christmas presents recently. A few weeks ago I asked my niece what Christmas was about and all she would say was "presents". This is not surprising, since she has received mountains of them on the two Christmases that she may be able to remember.
I began to think that it may be better to purchase a "family gift" at Christmas time - something that is for everyone. The problem with that idea is that an item that is officially for "everyone" always ends up being more for one or more people than for others. If you buy a swing for the little kids, the older ones don't feel like they "got" anything. If you buy a mat for the living room, it is really for Mum and Dad.
Another idea is that the focus of Christmas giving could be to give to someone outside the family. The family could plan and save together to give money to a worth organisation that helps the poor or persecuted Christians, or spreads the gospel.
Have any of you thought about Christmas presents? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.