traditions.... to wrap or not to wrap Santa's gifts.... our Santa did NOT wrap his presents, they were on the couch or chair in the livingroom next to the tree - we could look at and explore them while my parents made coffee - who knew they needed the coffee after a late night visiting friends, sharing egg nog, then coming home and being Santa! Wasn't until college that I discovered that Santa wrapped gifts at some people's houses!
Santa also filled the stockings and left them on our bedroom door handles - that is, we put them there at night when we went to bed, and Santa filled them without waking us up. Years later I asked my mother, and she admitted that she took the stockings downstairs to the light and filled them - boy, was she lucky that we never woke up and discovered our stockings missing even for one instant! We slept with our doors open so this was a real risk indeed. But this meant that we could explore out stockings when we (inevitably) woke up at 4 or 5 in the morning, excited! But we KNEW we couldn't go downstairs until 7:30am to wake our parents, so we stocked our rooms with board games to play after we explored our stockings. And we DOUBLE KNEW that we couldn't go to the livingroom to see our gifts until our parents were up and with us..... MANY games of trouble, card games and parcheesi were played on our beds in the wee hours of the morning...
You know what? I have no memory of whether my parents gave us anything as young children - I know they did once we stopped doing Santa, but I don't remember anything my parents gave us, but every gift I got from Santa I remembered (seriously), so I bet they didn't do it. Our cats gave us gifts, too - my sister has continued that tradition - she has her kids believing that the cats somehow telepathically make her understand what they want to give to each child.... so much fun.
Today at school I was listening to a 2nd grader excitedly tell me about how she heard Santa's sleigh bells as she fell asleep, AND that she stayed up SO LATE (get this, 8:45pm!) on Christmas Eve.... I remember that true excitement of Santa, reindeer, sleigh bells, hearing his footsteps on the roof, or whatever. I'd forgotten that part of Christmas, since I don't have children.