Our family Christmas's have also changed over the years. I have 5 brothers and a sister, between us we have 17 kids, of those 4 are now married and have 6 kids between them. Not everyone in our families are blessed to be able to afford to give generously at Christmas. Even getting everyone together can be a challenge. Two brothers & thier families and 4 nieces and nephews live out in BC and Alberta. My sister and her family live in Vermont. One brother has sold his home and lives in his truck with his wife in an attempt to get out of serious debt.
Things we have done:
*We now set the date for our family Christmas as the Saturday before Christmas every year.(so this year it will be on December 19th)
*Gifts consist of one gift bag or basket per family (eg. I would give each family a gift bag full of homemade jams, cookies , tea towels etc. Other family members would do similar, so I would be giving out 5 to 10 gift bags and would receive, 5 to 10 gifts)
*we also include a game where all names go in a hat and as your name is drawn, you get to open a gag gift, if you like it you keep it, if not you look for one you like to exchange it with. This game with our bunch can go on for quite some time and is really fun.
*supper is always pot luck with everyone bringing their specialties to be enjoyed by all. There is more food than can be eaten, but the guys sure try!
*There is a time of singing Christmas carols...by the way, what does the word "carol" mean anyway?)
*everyone that has the room takes a turn hosting this event, so it is somewhere different every year.
Of course these changes took place over a number of years as the family grew and changed. We tried the name draw thing, the give only to the kids thing, the lets do a turkey dinner thing, even once it was suggested we do our dinner in November (that was axed shortly after the suggestion!) We also have done the "lets give all the money to a place where the needy can be helped" When the "gift bag" thing first started there where also protests. A couple of family members still give indivdual gifts instead of gift bags, but that is ok, they do what makes them feel good. This year it was suggested we do a baking exchange, but I have not heard back from others as to what is happening with that one.
The important thing is that we get together to celebrate the season, have fun and enjoy each others company.