One of our favorite family traditions is a simple gift exchange, dressed up with friendly, family competition, and focusing on the recipient. This is one of the easiest ways we taught our autistic sons about giving.
Drawing names of family members is an event in itself. We usually serve sparking apple cider or some kid friendly beverage that is special. We write our names on a square piece of paper, fold, and put in the hat. Going from oldest to youngest, or youngest to oldest, or some predetermined order, we draw the names. We keep it secret for about 30 seconds. The mystery is part of the fun.
Then we reveal who we drew and try to determine who will go shopping with whom. We go in teams. Mom and Dad "captain a team" and each take two boys shopping. The first team to purchase gifts, return home, AND gift wrap said presents and put them under the tree won. The prize is usually the losing team makes hot chocolate for the winning team.
After dinner on the 24th, we open our family gifts. We open the gifts in the opposite order of how we drew names. It is simple fun for just the immediate family.
So we think about the other person. The boys have tried to buy what they wanted, but we ensured they purchased what the recipient wanted by having a list of what each boy wanted ahead of time. As the years have progressed, the boys initiate the process now. Some of the boys have moved out, but they return to continue the tradition. That is the best present of all.
P.S. A red bow on a shopping bag counted as wrapped.