Years ago the adults in my family decided we all had enough sweaters and that we would donate to organizations providing presents for children instead of buying gifts for each other. I do this through the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree, which has tags representing a local child, by sex and age, along with a toy or two that child has requested.
Then I write a Christmas card, with a photocopy of the tag inserted, to each adult. The card goes under the tree, so on Christmas morning they know I was thinking of them and that a child is opening a gift provided in their honor.
It was my dad and I who started this. My first card to him read something like this “Dad, you did a really good job providing for us four kids all these years. I never went without anything I needed and received an appropriate amount of what I wanted. I never once in my childhood doubted that there would be presents under the tree. My gift to you this Christmas is to give a little bit of that security to another child. Picture in your mind’s eye the expression on this 4-year-old boy’s face as he opens a box and finds the Lego set he wanted. Merry Christmas.”
My dad died last January. I have chosen a tag and bought a gift for a boy in honor of his memory.