The Saturday Guardian gave me a good hint. There was an insert from Concern - and it suggested giving a Christmas present to someone on the planet who needs it, rather than some bit of tat for people who have everything (most of the people that I know in the West).
This solves my puzzle of previous years, where (if I don't want to play at Christmas because I am not a Christian) I am accused of being a party-pooper, killjoy, scrooge, skinflint, etc. Even the nicest people sulk if I won't play - even when I say it's because I earn the same money in December as in June, so why should I spend more?
So, if I have to spend money, and 'it's the thought that counts' - then I am going to take that bit of silly money and buy a couple of goats, a bag of maize and some pens and paper for the kids. Concern send you a card to let your friends know where the money for 'their' gift went. Best of both worlds, I think.
It seems like a good idea. Why not try it? If you were going to buy me something, why not do this instead?
If I am tempted or pressured into spending in the next few weeks, I'll just log on and buy another goat (£25 - who knew they were so cheap?)
And if you are one of those people who like flashing the cash at Xmas, why not spend £250 on a water pump for a village?