Our family, had two traditions. Since before I was born, probably beginning with my great grandparents on both maternal and paternal sides, they would have their children (our grandparents, then parents when they were children) donate something they received in their stocking on December 6th to a charity. At the turn of the century, my maternal grandfather recalled donating a 'tiny wooden car' that was likely made by a family member and my paternal grandmother remembered donating a 'clothespin doll' also probably made by a family member. At that time, what they gave went to a local 'orphan home' so those children might have something for Christmas. The idea was that, as children, learning to give was more important than receiving. My parents recall donating handmade items (mittens, caps and such). I recall my siblings and I donating little 'Mattel' toys, or kewpie dolls; my daughter's donations were something 'Playschool.' My daughter, nieces and nephews still continue this tradition.
The other tradition was receiving or selecting ONE ornament each year to hang on the tree...something that meant something to us. Needless to say, our trees continue to look very 'eclectic' and cross-generational! The ornament I remember most was the one my mum made for my brother when he was in his 20's. My dad had taken a B&W photo of my brother when he was about 4-years-old sitting on the commode in 'the thinker' position with his jeans around his ankles. My mum found that old photo, attached it to a styrofoam square, added green and red fabric to the back and decorated the edges with ribbons embossed with glitter candy canes. We would open our homemade ornaments on Christmas Eve and hang them on the tree. My brother got this one the first year he was married and, of all homemade ornaments, it was the best ever! He's 71-years-old now and every year on Christmas Eve he hangs that ornament right smack on the front and center of the tree at eye level in its place of honor!