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I am going to fly from London to Philadelphia (PHL), then connect to Seattle (both on the same ticket). PHL is my entry point to the US. Can I claim my checked bag (after immigration of course), go out of the terminal to give it to my family, then go back for my connecting flight with only carry-on luggage? Of is it that if I have a connecting flight, I can't get out of the terminal at all through a normal exit door? Will it cause any problem if I don't re-check my baggage?
Yes, you should be able to do that. You will be outside security when you clear customs.