Every family has their own traditions during the holidays. We have ours that have evolved over the years, and I don't mind sharing what they are. I know we just love them and maybe someone can get something out of our ideas like we have gotten from so many other families.
Each child gets to buy a new ornament every year. With the idea being that when they are grown and move out they can take theirs with them. On each we write the child's name and year. This has created lots of memories and the kids look forward to it. I was sitting in front of our tree recently and marveling at how you can see each childs personality, not to mention remembering all the past holidays. The years we can't afford new ornaments (we usually set a limit of $2 or $3 per child anyway) we make our own. There are many places online you can find directions. I'm not sure how we came up with this idea, but we have been doing it a very long time.
Last year we started the tradition of each child opening their gifts one at a time. This way Christmas can last much longer, everyone can show off their stuff in their own little time frame and no one feels left out. It also makes the children practice patience and its much easier to get pics of everyone. I stole this idea from Sarah at Flinging Debt.
My mom came up with a great idea last year of putting everyones gift into one box, so each child gets one box under the tree. That way they are all the same size, children often feel bigger is better. But also this is good for the years they might only be able to get one gift each whether do to money or just a decision to not give as much. Another of my friends said to wrap every little thing so it seems like they get a lot even if they didn't. You could even wrap everything then stick it all in a box and wrap that. Whatever works for your family.
I know lots of families who do Birthday cakes for Jesus (Yeshua), go to mass, open gifts at midnight, open one gift the night before, put up the tree anywhere from thanksgiving to christmas eve. There are so many wonderful opportunities to connect as a family, the important thing is to find something that works for your family.
Since we do both Christmas and Hanukkah tonight we will light the first candle. If you celebrate Hanukkah you can still find plenty of ways to connect as a family and stay connected through those traditions over the years. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to getting some Rainbow Donuts this Sunday.