Noel Piper's thoughts on Christmas and Easter have probably been the most helpful for me practically. Her chapter on Christmas (ch. 8) heavily influenced Dave and me when we first became parents, as we tried to work out whether to include Santa Claus in our Christmas celebrations.
What I also appreciated about this chapter was included so many positive examples of how to celebrate Christmas in a way that focuses on Jesus' birth. I didn't get the sense that they had simply said 'no Santa' and then left it at that. They filled the vacuum with meaningful traditions. I didn't get the sense that her family have 'missed out' because they have chosen to do things differently.
I haven't followed all the Piper family traditions (I've given the candles a miss for example!), but our family have adopted a few over the years. The one that I have probably found most helpful is the idea of having an Advent calendar and using it to teach our kids in a fun way. We have a Bible readings in each pocket as well as something extra (like a lolly or balloon or sticker). It's a fun way of 'counting down' to December 25 in a way that places the focus on the story of Jesus' birth, rather than on a slowly-growing pile of presents accumulating under the tree.
I've written about other Christmas traditions we have implemented, (as well as others we've observed) at my blog if you're interested in more ideas:
I'd love to hear what you do as a family, or what your family did when you were growing up. What's worked? What hasn't? What would you keep? What would you change?