Another idea I heard about on a radio program last week (although I know its not a new idea....) is that of the "Christmas Jar". Its probably too late this year to do it, but it would be a great idea for next year, and is something I want to incorporate into my family.
Basically the premise is that you find a large jar (pickle jar, whatever), and starting in January and all throughout the year, everyone in the family (kids included), empties out the change in their pockets at the end of each day into the jar. No bills, just change. Toward the holiday time, start thinking about a person or family that may benefit from such a gift, such as someone you may know through church, work, etc. Someone who may be going through a rough time. Then on Christmas eve, you take the jar to the person's house and ANONYMOUSLY leave it on their front door step, ring the doorbell, and then get out of site quickly (idea is for this to be anonymous). Or just give it to someone you don't know, but who may appear to be a worthwhile recpient for whatever reason.
The man who started this idea also wrote a fictional book about the concept (also called the Christmas Jar). I think you can read more about it and about some great personal stories people have sent in to him who have tried this in their house on the website www.christmasjars.com
Idea for next year for me for sure :)