Christmas became a burden for me when I felt I had to purchase gifts for people when 1) I couldn't afford it 2) I had no idea what they wanted and/or needed 3) The pressure to buy something, anything caused so much stress I couldn't enjoy the process.
It took YEARS to wean people from the process of buying me gifts. I didn't even want to be included in name drawing gifts. Getting something produces a sense of obligation and I didn't want anymore of that, thank you very much.
Looking back, I realized that the last time I had enjoyed Christmas was the year I made my gifts. Sure I could do that again, but I'm short of time, energy and funds to buy the raw materials. So, I just say NO to the gift giving.
On the rare occasion that a gift is necessary: birthdays, anniversary, wedding presents, graduations, etc I find that I prefer to give the money to something that can make a difference. There are MANY organizations that will put your money to good use for those that really have less. Seva is one of them. www.seva.org
There is also a link on my blog for Changing the Present.
Google Charitable Gift Giving for any number of places that provide what people NEED.
Giving food, tools, educational prospects, clean water and food to people in need. I'm all over that.
After all, who do I know that really needs another pair of fuzzy slippers, or box of chocolates. I prefer to Give where it counts!