I find it most ethical to not participate in / "celebrate" Christmas at all. That aside, I agree with your focus on trying to find more positive and less materialistic gifts. On a similar note, I think its good to ask folks who wish to give you (or most anyone really) to do the same. Your ideas all sound good to me. The micro-loans and/or making a donation to a good group/"cause" in someones name seems particularly nice to me - then letting them know of course. As is giving the gift of your company - you can give out "gift certificates" redeemable for you making the person dinner, joining or taking taking them out for activity they enjoy. Oh! As a gift to receive - I really like the idea of asking folks to commit to going vegan for whatever seems realistic for them: one meal a day/week for a year, etc.
And if you really want to get in the best of the "Christmas" spirit - do like that Yay-Zeus person is rumored to have done: go to the sick, poor, old, prisoners & other "undesirables" and help them out. Careful though, that may make you feel inspired to do what usually gets folks like him killed - questioning & challenging the powers that be.