If you’re looking for things to do on Christmas Eve with your toddler, starting a Christmas Eve box tradition is one fun way to go.
So, what is a Christmas Eve box? It’s a box filled with some little treats, Christmas clothes to wear and or activities for your toddler to do and enjoy the day before Christmas.
It’s a fun tradition to start with your kids sure to give them memorable moments for years to come.
Many families enjoy this tradition so much that they continue to do it well into their kids teenage years!
As with anything Christmas, activities can get a little chaotic if not planned early enough.
But not to worry, in this post, I’ll answer all your burning questions about the Christmas Eve box for toddlers.
I’ll also help you plan one of the most magical things you’d do for Christmas this year.
Let’s get into it!
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HOW IT ALL STARTED
It’s thought that the Christmas Eve Box tradition originated in Germany but no one knows for sure.
In Germany, it is customary to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, so the idea took off from there.
The Christmas Eve box tradition has since gotten quite popular in the United States and the UK as well.
In fact, you might have had this tradition growing up where your parents gave you a small gift on the night before Christmas. Though, it probably wasn’t called a Christmas Eve box
The Xmas Eve box is a nice way to continue this tradition and put your spin on it.
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FIRST, WHERE CAN YOU GET A CHRISTMAS EVE BOX?
Many retailers like Amazon, Hobby Lobby sell Christmas eve boxes. You can also buy Xmas Eve boxes from Etsy.
You can even go the extra mile to make this fun and get personalised Christmas Eve boxes for your littles.
If you’re are quite crafty, you can make this a little DIY project.
Also, if you’re short on time and are looking for a last-minute Christmas box, you can buy a pre-filled Christmas Eve box for toddlers on Etsy.
HOW TO MAKE A CHRISTMAS EVE BOX
Here are a few things you need to make a simple Christmas eve box for your toddler.
- A festive Christmas Eve box. Your box can be wooden, cardboard or plastic.
- A “do not open until Christmas Eve” label or a “North Pole Express” Mail Stamp
- Christmas Eve box stencils. You can get personalized stencils from Etsy if you want to make a DIY Christmas eve box.
- Christmas Eve box fillers. I have a whole section on this below.
Watch this easy tutorial to make your own DIY Christmas Eve box.
WHAT TO PUT IN A TODDLER’S CHRISTMAS EVE BOX
There’re lots of things you can put in your toddler’s Xmas eve box. Whatever you decide to put in your toddler’s box is completely up to you.
A pro tip is to think sensory. Add something that your toddler will eat, drink, wear, watch, hear and feel.
Using this idea, I’ve put together a large list of different Christmas Eve box fillers below for you to choose from.
You can mix and match these Christmas Eve box contents to make them suitable for a 1-year-old, 2-year-old or 3-year-old.
Here are some Christmas Eve Box Fillers to get you going.
- Christmas PJs, babygrows, vests or onesies. Almost nothing says Christmas like Christmas jammies.
- Fuzzy socks to match PJs
- Hot chocolate mix
- Hot chocolate bomb
- Personalised mug or cup for the hot choco
- Santa’s cookie plate and cookie recipe to make Santa cookies
- Snowman cookies
- Favourite snacks
- Chocolate coins
- Reindeer food or snack (to sprinkle on the lawn – usually made of glitter and oats)
- Favourite candy
- Snowman soup (cocoa mix, m&ms, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, candy cane stick. Here’s an easy snowman soup recipe.
- Make a gingerbread house
Ornaments, Signs and Symbols
- “Santa please stop here door” sign
- Christmas ornament. This can be a special Christmas ornament to mark a special occasion that year e.g a vacation spot or a major milestone.
- Santa magic key (for homes without chimneys)
- Santa’s milk bottle
- Elf dust (made from glitter)
- Personalised Christmas character water bottles
Christmas Things To Read and Watch
- Christmas Movie
- Dvd with Christmas photoshoot pictures
- Christmas themed books like the night before Christmas
Christmas Games and Activities
- A letter from Santa (stating how excited Santa is to stop by the house and proud he is of how good they’ve been)
- Cute notepad and pen to write a thank you note to Santa
- A little toy to complement a bigger toy he’ll receive on Christmas Day. For example, small trains to match a train set.
- A small stuffed toy
- Elf finger puppets
- Stuffie or blanket
CHEAP IDEAS FOR A CHRISTMAS EVE BOX
The most important thing to remember is that Christmas Eve traditions are about warm memories and not so much about gifts.
You don’t have to break the bank to make a Christmas eve box your kids will love. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive.
First, you can put things you already own into your toddler’s Xmas Eve box. The fact that they’re in a box makes them extra-special.
Also, consider getting winter-themed Christmas Pyjamas.
Christmas pyjamas tend to get worn only around Christmas time. This way you can stretch the use of the PJs for longer.
You can reuse some of the items each year if you wish, like the box itself, the books.
A clever way to do this is to box up your Christmas eve fillers and let Santa’s helpers ship them off to be returned the next year.
Another way to do this on a budget is to do Christmas activities instead of gifts. For instance, you can bake cookies for Santa, use colouring pages etc.
Here’s a very easy tutorial to show you step by step how to make a simple Christmas eve box on a budget.
SO, WHO BRINGS THE CHRISTMAS EVE BOX?
Where you tell your toddlers their Xmas eve box is from depends on you.
If you do the elf on the shelf activities, then this can be incorporated into your tradition.
Realise that you technically can’t say it’s from Santa because Santa hasn’t come yet.
Or else, your toddler may figure out pretty quickly that Santa isn’t real after all! (No, I didn’t say that!)
So, instead, I’d suggest you tell them their boxes are from:
- Mummy and daddy
Many parents just say the Christmas Eve boxes are from them and that’s okay. The point is that you’ve gone the extra mile to create a magical Christmas Eve for your children.
And they’ll love that!
- Elf on the shelf
If you do the elf on the shelf tradition, the elf can bring the box on Christmas Eve morning as a goodbye gift since he leaves that night.
To make it fun, you can have the elf deliver the Xmas eve box with a letter from Santa telling them how proud he is of their accomplishment in the year.
WHEN DO YOU GIVE CHRISTMAS EVE BOX?
Generally, parents give the Christmas eve boxes in the afternoon (before or after lunch), before dinner or just before bath time on the 24th of December.
When you decide to give your toddlers their Christmas Eve boxes will mostly depend on a few factors:
#1. What you’re putting in the Xmas Eve boxes.
If you have activity resources like colouring pages, then you may want to give your kids their Christmas eve boxes a bit earlier in the day around lunch.
In fact, for this reason, some parents give their kids their boxes on December 1st. This is known as a December 1st box.
So, that instead of just one afternoon of Christmas activities, they’ll have a longer time to do all the things on their Christmas bucket list.
Some other fun activities to do during lunch include:
- Cookie decorating for Santa
- Making a simple Christmas Ornament decoration
After dinner is a good time to give the boxes if you have included a movie and books you’ll like them to read before bedtime.
#2. Your Christmas Eve traditions
Some families celebrate Christmas Eve with other members of their extended family.
So, if you rotate spending Christmas Eve between your parents, in-laws and siblings houses, you can give your boxes late afternoon to early evening.
This way, everyone gets to play games, wear their jammies, watch a Christmas movie in a super festive spirit.
On the other hand, if you want to keep this as your family thing, you can give them after dinner when you are back from visiting with family.
#3. Your plans for Christmas Day
If you do Santa and take pictures on Christmas day, then you can give them their boxes just before bath time so they can wear the pj’s and look nice and fresh for Santa (and the Xmas day pictures).
Starting a new Christmas Eve box for toddlers tradition is one sure way to surprise your kids and make Christmas fun for them.
They’ll grow up remembering the warm Christmas memories and will very likely continue this tradition when they have kids of their own.
Remember, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg especially since they’ll still get Christmas presents the next day.
You can use the ideas I gave above to help make a cheap Christmas Eve box your toddler will love.
It’s all about being creative really and remembering that it’s more about creating memories than the presents themselves.
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I hope you have a very merry Christmas this year. One filled with love, joy and peace!