PARRAMATTA resident Sarah Macdonald has shunned the consumerism of Christmas for gifts that change people's lives.
For several years, Ms Macdonald has made donations to people in developing countries in place of gifts for her family members.
Rather than stocking fillers, she has bought goats, chickens and vaccinations for children in countries where those gifts will sustain lives.
"I found you could go shopping and spend $30 on something that someone will never use," Ms Macdonald said.
"This makes me feel better.
"Young people grow up now and they think Christmas is about getting a new iPod or something and the true meaning of Christmas is lost.
"The reason a lot of people [buy donations instead of gifts] is it's their way of stemming the tide."
Ms Macdonald's family certainly don't mind knowing their gift has gone to someone who needs it more.
Sarah's mother Joan, of Blacktown, said she was always happy to receive the card telling her where her daughter's gift had gone.
"I think it's a wonderful idea," she said.
"I think when someone comes up with an idea like this it really keeps on giving."
A spokeswoman for UNICEF said the organisation's options for supporting children overseas were becoming more popular as Christmas gifts.
Baulkham Hills student Robyn Stoffberg, 21, bought medicine.
"It's just my way of giving back and think about people who are less fortunate, I guess," she said.