A few more ideas to get your creative juices flowing...
Spending time together:
Prepare a feast with candles, wine, and music for your family or friends.
Give your child a baseball bat for a trip to the batting cages together.
Wrap two copies of a used classic book to read with a friend.
Wrap a coffee shop gift card for a coffee date.
Help your neighbor put up Christmas lights.
Wrap popcorn, gourmet root beer, and a classic DVD for a movie night.
Cook a meal for some one's aging parents.
Take a friend to a concert or a play.
Create a scavenger hunt for your nieces and nephews.
Host Monday Night Football at your place and make homemade pizzas.
Go on a day hike together and take a sack lunch.
Have a food fight in the back yard with your kids.
Bake a cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday with children and tells God's birthday story.
Go night skiing with friends.
Bundle up with a thermos of hot cocoa and walk through a neighborhood with lots of Christmas lights.
Creative activity coupons:
A "use-our-house-while-we're-on-vacation" coupon for the young married couple living in a cramped apartment.
A house-project coupon to help your friend finally build that tool shed.
An out of town adventure coupon for you and the kids.
A babysitting coupon for some worn out parents.
A back rub coupon for your spouse.
A change-the-oil coupon for a busy friend.
A breakfast in bed coupon for your spouse.
A yard work coupon for an elderly person in your life.
Ask yourself: What can I do? What can I give? What do they like? Make time to do it with them.
Things to make:
Record a "Best of 2008" mix CD for friends.
Create a photo album of the kids for the distant relatives.
Cut up old magazines to make funny Christmas cards.
Compile your favorite recipes.
Knit a scarf.
Record an interview with the grandparents on the history of their life to give to the family.
Build a raised garden bed.
Write a meaningful letter of appreciation.
Paint a picture or make a sculpture.
"Publish" a story written and illustrated by the kids.
Make a memory book for a friend of a trip you took together.
Bake Christmas goodies.
Make aromatherapy oil: www.bellaonline.com.
Make herbal tea: www.coffeetea.about.com.
Find something else to make: www.readymademag.com.
Give around the World:
Participate in NCC's Advent Conspiracy giving project by bringing a water bottle back full of change to dig a well.
Give some extra money or write an encouraging letter to missionaries.
Buy something tangible like a goat or a fruit tree in some one's name for a person who needs it (World Vision and Samaritan's Purse have catalogs).
Visit www.rethinkingchristmas.com to exchange ideas with people around the world.
This isn't about creating a bunch of new rules to follow for Christmas. It's OK to spend some money. Don't create a new set of pressures, worry, and guilt by feeling like you can't spend a dime. Just step out of the consumerism, be thoughtful, and enjoy the celebration!