Wondering how to make Christmas morning a hit for your child without breaking the bank or bringing in more brightly colored plastic toys to your house? I have some time- tested ideas for you! I'll list them according to the age of your children. Some items listed will be of interest to all ages, so feel free to mix and match!

Box of Kleenex to explore and watch each new piece pop up (It's only Christmas once a year!)
Toilet paper roll to explore (keeps baby busy while others open gifts)
One of your baby's own soothers packed into a box with easy-to-rip tissue paper
wrapping (they love to unwrap and discover familiar items in a box)
Wrap up 2-3 Graham crackers to be eaten on the spot
Wrap a fun looking juice box if they are experienced with these
Make a child's picture album with pictures inside of family members, themselves, their pets, pictures cut from boxes of a favorite toy, etc.

Wrap a box of dominos
A real musical instrument (not a toy)
A set of play people (a family)
Sets of zoo animals (zoo gift shop) and/or farm animals, plastic bugs, various sizes of dinosaurs, etc. Each set could be packed in an interesting box or "home" where they can be kept.
Story on tape, told by a grandparent, older sibling, aunt etc.
Real flashlight (rechargeable batteries and charger)
Stamps and a pad
Bath kit (sponges, funnel, sieve, plastic bottles of varying sizes, j-cloth, bathtub stickies, floating/sinking objects -- all packed in a mesh bag to hang for drying
Items that are collectables such as trains

Home-made doctor's kit (real stethoscope for around $20, cotton, gauze, tape, notepad, pencil, mask, gloves, box of band-aids, - all items can be found in medical supply, home care stores or on Amazon)
Craft kit (sewing box filled with lace, big buttons, pinecones, toothpicks, macaroni, spiral pasta, scraps of cloth, sparkles, stickers, etc.) Include bottle of white school glue and colored construction papers, cardboard, paper plates to "decorate" / make a collage. You can refill this kit as necessary through the year to keep interest up.
to "repair."
Artist kit - sketch pad, crayons, markers, pencil crayons, etc.
Science kit - magnifying glass, magnets, glow-in-the-dark solar system stickers, book on bugs or stars or shells, all in an interesting container.
New batch of homemade play dough with box of birthday candles, garlic press, toothpicks, rolling pin, plastic animals, cookie cutters. (Email me for the perfect recipe)

Due to the different ages in this category I’ll mention general gift ideas that will be meaningful, useful, interactive and enjoyable:
books, novels (try to get one with your child’s name in it)
calendar (choose one that is based on a favourite interest of your child)
funny or colorful socks
crafty toy
scientific toy
bookmark (write a special message on the back)
slippers/ pajamas
Christmas ornament
Something with the 1st letter of your child's name (pens, pads of paper, notebooks, pencils, books, socks, picture frames, calendar, key chain, wallet) The ideas are endless and will always keep your child guessing!
Addition to something they collect such as Lego, Play Mobile, train, doll, gem stone etc.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FOR FAMILY(give hints to grandparents, aunts and uncles!)
Zoo family membership
Park family membership
Museum family membership
Restaurant gift certificates
Cleaning Gift certificates from a Cleaning company
Coupon of free babysitting offers
Gift certificate for Erin Parenting Products or Coaching
Family game or jigsaw puzzle
Subscription to Chickadee, Owl, National Geographic magazines (so fun to get mail!)

Author's Bio: 

Erin Kurt, parenting & life coach to working mothers, and founder of ErinParenting, is also the author of Juggling Family Life and creator of The Life Balance Formula and the How to Get Your Child to Listen program.