I honestly liked buying everyone presents. It wasn't too terribly commercial and if you couldn't afford you made or just handed out cards and candy. The month before Christmas there were always a lot of craft markets to buy decorations from which made great affordable gifts. At these places there were boxes to donate toys and winter clothes for kids whose parents couldn't afford.
Also, we would go for a walk around the family property, in the woods, and I loved this best. One time we went horse back riding there, instead of walking, because of the snow. I think I was five but I still remember the snow on the evergreens and cedars perfectly.
Then we'd come in by the fire, open that years' family wine (Uncle J's was always the worst bottle that had gone bad on purpose), and talk until supper. Supper was served, and we'd open the Christmas crackers, and usually I would read because someone would buy me a decent book, but sometimes my Aunts and I would dance until dessert. My Auntie G is the coolest.
I have one Aunt, who liked to go to different Churches. So we'd see the live nativity scene at one Church, and attend Catholic mass at another. I liked singing hymns in Church, and the candles in a Catholic service. My father dislsikes Churches rather a lot, and my mother was always pressing me to be more Christian, so going with my rather spiritual Aunt on Christmas eve was memorable.
My father would force us to volunteer at the food charity for making hampers, and I had an Aunt who ran the charity Christmas dinner, so I usually had to help out with decorations or children's games while other people in the family who can actually cook served in the kitchen. Sometimes she'd make us freeze in the recruiting section, so we'd be on the street, trying to convince anyone, homeless and those more fortunate as well, to come down to eat and to take away gifts. My father also liked to visit the Ukranian Cultural center, because he loves their Christmas traditions.
I miss my family and my city, its food, things to see and do, and that sort of spirit, more than any time of year, in December, as an expat convert-Muslim woman living in the GCC. Every year I tell myself it will be less, but every year the missing is the same.