Yes it is like that, if you let it be.
My family has chosen to emphasise the family and giving as we see the world becoming more and more "give me".
There are no christmas lists with my son. All I ask him is what he can do for others. My siblings and I only ask someone what they would like if we are truly at a loss for ideas. Made or bought or even just a thought it doesn't matter. Most of us finish our preperations by Thanksgiving and then settle in to enjoy the holidays together and with the children.
The children, that is where the true magic is. My sons favorite thing is just to drive around and look at all the lights. The day after thanksgiving he insisted we take a drive that evening and see what was up already.