1- We ask that grandparents, and aunts/uncles don't give our girls any presents. Instead we ask then to do something special together. Last year they received annual passes to the aquarium and went with their grandparents several times during the year and with their other grandparents, they went to a historical reenactment place and made seasonal crafts. They talk about these outings all the time. We choose to ask our extended family to do this for a couple reasons. First, we currently live close to both sets of grandparents and a few aunts and uncles but we might not always. I want them to build relationships now while we live close rather than be given (more!) toys. Second, I don't want my kids to become give-me monsters. Yes the holiday season is one for giving gifts to those we love but I've seen it get carried WAY out of hand, we have these guidelines in place to prevent that. We want the events remembered, not the things, placing the importance on the people around them.
2- We give our kids four gifts and a stocking. They get something they want, something they need, something to wear, & something to read. Though there's an extra 'wear' in there as a Christmas dress. :) We try to think outside the box and find gifts they will really use and enjoy. This also allows us to buy higher quality items as there's a limited amount of gifts purchased for each child.
3- I don't do Santa. I know, scrooge right? Not to me. I had older cousins who told me about Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and all that when I was around 4 and I don't even remember being all that disappointed. The reason for the season, in our house, is Christ's birth. Not Santa. So there's no elf on our shelf and the stockings are filled by mom and dad. Do our kids feel left out? No, they think it's fun to know the secret--that all adults know but most kids there age don't, and that Santa is a fun character of the holiday but think that an old man watching them would be creepy. Smart girls. :)
We do all the other things like driving around to see the lights on houses, decorating the tree, baking cookies and gingerbread houses, parties with friends and family, and hot chocolate and jammies, reading the birth of Christ in the Bible.
I'm looking forward to all the holiday fun and hoping for some snow! How about you? What are your family traditions?