My favorite part of Christmas each year is the gift my siblings give to each other and to our parents.
We rotate each year being responsible for finding a way to help those in need in our communities. Each family sends money so that there is a considerable amount to spend on something meaningful. The one in charge finds a way to use the money, preferably in a tangible way, rather than just donating it to an institution. Often, our children help us buy gifts for homeless children, about their same ages. My husband and I participate in something similar each year with our kids, but we enjoy immensely the years that we are responsible for the family Christmas gift, because we have so much more to give.
It is a wonderful way to help my children remember that the most important part about Christmas, the one that reaches deep down inside of us, is finding ways to give to others, to sacrifice for others, to stretch ourselves and be able to give meaningful gifts to others, especially others that are less fortunate then we are. It is a wonderful interactive experience as we talk about the birth of Jesus Christ, how much He loves each one of Heavenly Father's children, and how we can share his love with others as we sacrifice our own wants and desires to give to others.
We share the experiences we have through pictures and descriptions with my siblings and their children. We also combine pictures and details into a letter for our mom and dad, describing what we gave - together - to help those in need.
We are in charge of the gift this year, so I am currently looking for charitable opportunities this Christmas. This article caught my eye: Giving Where It Works. There are some interesting (well researched) ideas in the article. I was particularly touched by the Washington D.C., Youth Court project; it gives "first-time, nonviolent teenage offenders an alternative" to the juvenile justice system, "where [they] will learn to be a real criminal." Though not quite close enough to home for us to use for the family Christmas gift, it gave me ideas for opportunities to look for in our own community.