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!
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Christmas Eve Gifts for Kids
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.
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 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:
- Night Tree by Eve Bunting
- Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
- The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
- B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner
- Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
- The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
- The Mitten by Jan Brett
- Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 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!
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.
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.
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:
- The Game of Life
- Guess Who?
- Candy Land
- Chutes and Ladders
- Mouse Trap
- And a recent discovery – Qwirkle!!
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.
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!
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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!
While the kids are chowing down on their popcorn and sweets, maybe you and your partner could enjoy something a little fancier. 🙂
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!