How can we keep Christmas giving Christ-centered, especially with young kids?
Not easy. Not easy. And I'm not sure we did the best job of it. But I just spent a long time in another question answering how we tried to make the morning of Christmas and the season moving up to Christmas Christ-centered.
One of the things I didn't mention is that question is that, on the Sundays in Advent, at the dinner table once a week we would read special stories as we are moving towards Christmas. So there would be a mounting set of expectations as once a week you read words from the prophets, then John the Baptist's words, and then Matthew 1 or Luke 2 words. You're constantly teaching that this is about celebrating the best gift in all the world, namely, Jesus Christ. And the reason we exchange gifts is that he has made us so glad about his gift, and we want to signify that. We want to be generous to each other.
And then we tried not to be lavish. Noël is a real good bargain hunter. We didn't try to get the most expensive things for the boys. We didn't want them to wow their friends at school—"What did you get? What did you get?"—and be able to say, "I got the most expensive, newest toy." But we tried to get them things that they would enjoy. They might even be used things, if they were in good shape at the thrift store.
We often focused on what would be one main thing to get for each boy. Then they would get that and some other little things.
So the whole context of gift-giving—with reading the Scriptures, doing the drama, doing the Jesse Tree with all the Christian symbols, having the manger as the main thing rather than the tree, doing the Shepherd Pouches—all of those things were just constantly pointing to Christ to put the gift-giving in a context of Christ-centeredness, along with explaining why gift-giving relates to his supreme gift to us.