In my family, we do gift giving 'Secret Santa' style. It's more of an Australian and American tradition than a UK one: everyone's name goes into a hat and we each draw out one person to buy a present for (which I haven't done yet - eeeeek!!!!).
I sometimes feel around this time of year that the excess surrounding the holiday season takes away from the beauty of Christmas. For me, it's about the family and getting together with people that mean something to you. As a kid I remember: PRESENTS!!!!! But once you're over that it just seems too excessive.
I would rather do something nice, go out and do a good deed, than go out shopping for presents, and with Secret Santa you set a price limit on the gifts so nobody goes crazy.
Secret Santa (AKA Kris Kringle) is also great for the work Christmas party – you just need to set an appropriate limit.
Cool Secret Santa ideas
Tea pigs make really yummy, beautifully presented, teas - my favourite's Liquorice and Peppermint (www.teapigs.co.uk).
Marmalade Jewellery makes a fabulous silver-plated memory stick. I was given one recently and they're just the perfect gift for a work colleague. You can look at Marmalade's gifts online, but you have to visit their shop to purchase – I kinda love the old fashioned shopping feel to that (www.marmaladejewellery.co.uk).
Cavellini and Co's gorgeous 'City' range of notebooks have me in a thrall (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk).
The Cozy Bottle is a sure-fire winner for anyone feeling the big chill at the moment. You pop it in the microwave to heat it up and it's scented with French lavender. Tabs is sooooo jealous of this – I'm going to have to get her one! (www.eoco.org.uk)