This year Christmas really snuck up on us, I'm not sure if it was due to the move, or the distance from family, but we were a little blindsided. The holidays for us have a history of being incredibly stressful, because Chris and I grew up only about 20 minutes apart, we usually have six or seven houses to visit, and have always bought everyone in those houses gifts. It finally got to the point that this year, we decided to do something different.
So here's our new tradition: Each year we'll choose a different charitable organization to donate to in the names of the children in our close circle of family and friends. They'll receive a certificate saying that a donation was made in their name, and I'll also make them a little "commemorative" ornament to go along with it:
This year we chose the Humane Society of the United States. I made little kitty ornaments (because I can pretty much only make cats), and I printed out the mini certificates to include in the envelops.
I strongly believe in supporting organizations year round, but during the holidays, donations can make simple and meaningful gifts, especially to children.