The Best Ideas for Christmas Eve Gifts


Block Calendar Displaying the date December 24 - Christmas Eve

Making a Christmas Eve Box is a growing trend around the holidays. When I initially heard about the idea, I bristled a little bit because I don’t like over-doing gifts. Why would I pour more stuff on my children by doing separate Christmas Eve gifts?? Do we need to make yet another opportunity to buy and receive more things during the Christmas season?

But then I realized that I already kind of did it a little bit. I always wrapped a new pair of Christmas PJs under the tree and let my kids open one gift the night before Christmas – that way they were wearing their picture-worthy Christmas PJs on Christmas morning!

So I decided to go ahead and start the tradition ourselves and focus more on the traditions we could start together on Christmas Eve than on the items themselves.

For us, we settled on a box with one new Christmas book, homemade hot cocoa mix, Christmas PJs for each of the kids, and a new family game. I’ve also started putting the kids’ annual homemade ornaments in the box as well so they can hang one on the tree before bed.

We attend our Christmas Eve service at church every year, so we start our evening traditions on the late side. We open our box after we get home, and we usually save our game playing for Christmas Day. The kids love to curl up in their new PJs with Christmas drinks and listen to a new Christmas book.

For me, I love to make the evening extra special with things we probably would have gotten for them anyway!

If you’ve been looking for ways to make your Christmas celebration a little more old-fashioned, check out my post on Old-Fashioned Christmas Ideas!

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you purchase an item via a link on my website I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Christmas Eve Gifts for Kids

A pair of red plaid pajamas wrapped in twine under a Christmas tree surrounded by white Christmas lights

In case you’d like to do something a little different or more extensive than what our family does, here’s a nice list of ideas for smaller kids.

Christmas PJs

I imagine someday I won’t need to get them a new pair of PJs every year, if they ever stop growing! My husband and I have had the same sets for several years – but if they ever wear out, we might find new ones for ourselves in the Christmas Eve box too. 🙂

Christmas Book

Christmas books are one of our favorite parts of the Christmas season. The pile is put away in storage all year, and after Thanksgiving we break it out and enjoy reading all our favorites together all Christmas season.

Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Night Tree by Eve Bunting
  2. Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
  3. The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
  4. B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner
  5. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
  6. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
  7. The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
  8. The Mitten by Jan Brett
  9. Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  10. Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray

Hot Cocoa Mix

We have more Christmas mugs than we know what to do with – but if you don’t, you can pair this gift with a new Christmas mug!

Christmas Tumbler

If you have a child who is too young for hot drinks but has a sibling who’s getting a special mug, you could consider a special Christmas Tumbler just for them.


A girl with long strawberry blonde hair in a decorative Christmas sweater sitting at a table in front of a cup of hot cocoa and a plate full of Christmas cookies and sweets

If you’d like to add some snacks to your Christmas Eve tradition, this is a great idea! Consider a small collection of their favorite sweets or a packet of popcorn to enjoy as a family.

Board Game

We are consciously trying to grow our collection of classic and new family games we can enjoy together. Having a new one every year allows us to do that in a purposeful way.

If you already have a lot of games, you can put an old favorite in the box to play together on Christmas Eve. The type of game you choose will probably depend on the ages of your kids!

Our favorite board games:

  1. Checkers
  2. Monopoly
  3. The Game of Life
  4. Parcheesi
  5. Scrabble
  6. Jenga
  7. Guess Who?
  8. Sorry!
  9. Trouble
  10. Boggle
  11. Clue
  12. Risk
  13. Candy Land
  14. Chutes and Ladders
  15. Mouse Trap
  16. Chess
  17. Battleship
  18. Mancala
  19. And a recent discovery – Qwirkle!!

Christmas Ornaments

I want my kids to have a box of Christmas ornaments to take with them when they leave home someday. To that end, I have purchased personalized ornaments in the past, and now every year I make them a handmade ornament just for them.

Our family also likes to include the final ornament for the Jesse Tree so we finish our Advent tradition together on Christmas Eve.

Another idea is to put a pickle ornament in the box each year. This tradition (originally called Weihnachtsgurke) is thought to be a German-American tradition that dates back to the 19th century.

A glass ornament filled with red and white gingham ribbons hanging from a Christmas tree with white blurry Christmas lights in the background

An ornament in the shape of a pickle is hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle ornament gets a special gift, or opens the first gift from under the tree.

The great thing about the pickle ornament in the Christmas Eve box is that you can re-use the same one every year. The Christmas Eve box doesn’t have to be full of new things!

Christmas Movie

We don’t do this ourselves because we generally don’t have time on Christmas Eve to watch a movie together due to our church service.

However – if you don’t attend a Christmas Eve service, or go to a midnight service – a Christmas movie might be a great tradition! This is a great idea for a Christmas Eve box.

Baby’s First Christmas Ornament

Now I know I’ve already kind of covered this with the ornaments section – but if you have a new family addition this year, this is a great way to make a special commemoration of Baby’s first Christmas, and Baby’s first ornament!

For Families Who Do Santa

Santa Claus sitting in a caned rocking chair next to his sack of toys and a decorated Christmas tree.

Our family hasn’t ever really done Santa, but I know a lot of families love to incorporate him into their Christmas traditions. These are ideas for the Christmas Eve box if your kids are looking forward to Santa’s visit!

Santa Key

A Santa Key is a fun tradition for families who don’t have a fireplace. Often children are concerned that Santa won’t be able to get in because they don’t have a chimney. The Santa Key solves this problem!

Hanging a key on the door on Christmas Eve is a magical way to be sure Santa can get in, even though you don’t have a fireplace. You can re-use the same key every year, and enjoy the tradition of hanging it on the door before bed. During the rest of the Christmas season – you can hang it on the tree!

Farewell note from Elf on the Shelf

If you do the Elf on the Shelf tradition in your house, you could include a nice note from the Elf in the Christmas Eve box. The elf could explain how he has enjoyed spending the last month with your family, and that he’s headed back to the North Pole to report to Santa!

Reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer

A little package of reindeer food to leave out with Santa’s cookies is a nice prompt for a fun tradition. It’s usually just oats mixed with some red and green sprinkles!

Stuffy or plush toy to sleep with

If your children don’t already have too many of these, it could be a nice idea to include one for them to sleep with on Christmas Eve while they wait for Santa.

Christmas Eve Gifts for Tweens and Teens

A white box wrapped in a red ribbon with a pair of white noise cancelling headphones on it. The box is sitting on a dark gray surface surrounded by snowflakes, a candy cane, and a pine cone with pine branches. White Christmas lights in the background.

We all know that what works for small children doesn’t always continue to work as the kids get older.

Many of the items for smaller kids could still work for older ones (hot cocoa, popcorn, PJs, etc). This is a list of additional items you could consider including for older kids.

Christmas Clothes

Especially if your teen has finished growing and can still wear last year’s Christmas pajamas, you could try getting them a different clothing item. Maybe a new pair of Christmas socks, slippers, a robe, or a Christmas shirt or sweater for Christmas Day. This way they’re not left out of the tradition!

Ear buds and Christmas Music

Most tweens and teens I know enjoy their personal time. A set of ear buds for them to use after the younger kids go to bed so they can listen to the year’s latest Christmas albums could be a fun idea.


Older kids might enjoy putting together a 500 or 1000 piece Christmas puzzle, where the younger kids may not be able to participate yet! I also love to build my collection of Christmas puzzles to enjoy over and over.


The list of Christmas book ideas I included won’t necessarily appeal to older kids. I hope my kids will enjoy listening to “The Night Before Christmas” no matter how old they get. I can see that including a book that is more on their level could be a great idea though!

If you’re looking to avoid spending extra money, you could consider including a library book in the Christmas Eve box!

Thank you Cards

A red envelope with a black and white thank you card inside sitting on a rough wooden surface

I love this idea. In fact, since my son is learning to write better all the time, I may include some in the box this year. We want to teach them early to be sure to thank everyone for the gifts they receive. Including Thank you cards in the Christmas Eve box is a great reminder.

Throw Blanket

A fuzzy throw blanket can be a nice idea for your tween or teen to snuggle down with during Christmas Eve family time.

Christmas Eve Gifts for Adults

My husband and I don’t worry about this, but maybe you want your box to include something for everyone. Here are a couple of ideas you could incorporate for the adults in the house.

Bubble Bath or Bath Salts

Maybe you’d like to give your partner a special treat to enjoy on Christmas Eve while you finish getting Christmas morning all set. This could be a great way for them to enjoy a relaxing evening after the kids are in bed!

Specialty chocolates

While the kids are chowing down on their popcorn and sweets, maybe you and your partner could enjoy something a little fancier. 🙂

Margarita Mix

Red drinks in margarita glasses decorated with holly sprigs and berries. Drink mixer and pine boughs in the background against a brick backsplash.

This could be a great way to enjoy something a little more adult after the kids are in bed. It makes last minute present wrapping and stocking stuffing a lot more fun!

Christmas Eve Gifts & Traditions

I hope this list of gift ideas has given you some inspiration for creating your own family’s Christmas Eve traditions.

I don’t think we need another excuse or occasion to shower our kids in more toys and gifts. But if we focus on the family time aspect of Christmas Eve gifts, it can be a fun way to enjoy some quality time together!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *