I saw the following on one of my high school classmates' Facebook pages last Christmas and thought it was a wonderful idea. I realize it's early November, but you might need some time to implement this idea into your holiday plans.

As adults, we sooner or later get to a point where we really don't know what we want or need in terms of a Christmas gift. It also gets harder to buy for certain people as well.
Here's what my classmate Ken and his family do. They make Christmas gifts, throw a party and then the guests bid on the present they want and the proceeds go to charity.

Fishing and woodworking would be the two terms that best describe Ken. I actually think I'd be tempted to bid if someone would haul out a bunch of delicious, locally caught frozen fish. Ken also makes a number of things out of wood during the year that get auctioned off. Other gift making ideas include knit caps, mittens and scarfs.

If you don't have the "I can make it" talent, here's a few other ideas. How about five hours of lawn mowing? Or several hours of snow removal? Can you trim trees? Till a garden? Vacuum? How about baking some bread or caramel rolls?

Ken and his family then get together for a family party and after the meal, the auction begins. The money raised goes to a local individual or family that's facing difficulties.
Perhaps you could take it a step further and wait for a benefit dinner. Then the whole gang could get together again. Having a group of 10 or so show up for a benefit dinner and drop a few hundred bucks in the kitty would make a difference.

Here's one more idea, how about auctioning off the right to choose the charity you donate the proceeds to? That could raise a few more bucks.

At Christmas we think of the joy of giving, and with Ken's idea you'd be taking it one step closer to the meaning of Christmas.