Christmas eve box tradition

Christmas is a magical time filled with all sorts of special traditions and while some – like leaving carrots out for Santa’s reindeer – are entrenched in many family routines each December, there’s one lovely tradition that’s just emerging.

Christmas Eve boxes are becoming more popular now and while they’re a great idea, making one of your own is simple.

The premise of a Christmas Eve box is that it’s filled with sweet items perfect for a child on Christmas Eve – like new festive slippers and a Christmas book to read before bed. It’s been reported the Christmas Eve box trend stems from the German tradition of opening presents on December 24th rather than Christmas Day but the new gifting idea also serves the purpose of making little ones content and relaxed so they don’t stay up too late waiting for Santa!

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If you’re thinking of making a Christmas Eve box this year, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Start with a box to hold the presents

This personalised Christmas Eve box, £5.95, from eBay is perfect!

Or this one, for £2, from Asda.



BUY NOW Personalised Christmas Eve box, £5.95, eBay

2. Add some festive entertainment to help little ones to drift off to sleep

DVDs like Arthur Christmas, (£2.99, Amazon) and books including The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher (£6.99, Waterstones) will do the job.

BUY NOW Arthur Christmas DVD, £2.98, Amazon

BUY NOW The Christmasaurus, £6.99, Waterstones

3. Don’t forget the cosy nightwear

As well as a pair of festive pyjamas you could add in a plush dressing gown like this Paddington one from M&S. It costs £14 and comes in size nine months to seven years.

BUY NOW Paddington dressing gown, £14 – £17, M&S

These Rudolph boot slippers (£16, John Lewis) are so sweet and will get kids in the Christmas spirit as they get ready for bedtime.

BUY NOW Rudolph slippers, £15 – £18, John Lewis

How about this llama onesie from M&S?


BUY NOW Llama onesie, £20, M&S

4. Added treats will make the box extra special

Some classic Cadbury drinking chocolate (£3, Waitrose) is a simple touch but one that’s just right for a cosy Christmas Eve.

BUY NOW Cadbury drinking chocolate, £2, Waitrose

How about a special new decoration for the Christmas tree? Kids will love a cute personalised bauble (£5.60, Not on the High Street.)

BUY NOW Personalised bauble, £7, Not On The High Street

If you want to push the boat out, opt for a soft toy like this Mickey Mouse one (£21 plus £2.95 for optional personalisation) from Disney Store.

The Disney Store

BUY NOW Christmas Mickey Mouse toy, £8, The Disney Store

There you have it – the makings of a lovely, festive Christmas Eve box. Pack the items in your box and present it to the lucky recipient on Christmas Eve. Hopefully, in return for your kindness, they won’t wake you up too early on Christmas Day…

John Lewis

BUY NOW Snow globe, £5, John Lewis


BUY NOW Festive Friends biscuits, £1, Poundland

Christmas Eve Box

It’s officially December now and Christmas is just around the corner. Have you had fun trying some of our Christmas crafts? If you’re looking for some fun and easy craft ideas be sure to see our post which has over 50+ Christmas Crafts for Kids. Today we’re going to share a really fun Christmas Eve tradition idea with you – a Christmas Eve Box!

Watch the full tutorial video here before you get started!

We first learned about this tradition this year and thought it was such a fun idea we wanted to do a tutorial on how to make your own personalized Christmas Eve box. We have also included FREE PRINTABLES of a Santa Letter, Reindeer Food and Snowman Soup for you to print out and make your box extra special!

What is a Christmas Eve Box?

A Christmas Eve Box is a small box or crate gifted to your children the day before Christmas. It can also be given the day after Thanksgiving or the first day of December. It can be filled with whatever goodies you like! This often becomes a yearly tradition and makes the night before Christmas something special to look forward to! We love how this makes Christmas even more magical and fun for your little ones.

What To Put In A Christmas Eve Box

The options are endless on what you can put in your Xmas Eve Box, but here are just a few of our favorite ideas:

  • Pajamas
  • Slippers
  • Christmas Movie
  • Christmas Book
  • Reindeer Food (you can grab the Reindeer Food, Snowman Soup & Letter from Santa free printables by subscribing to the form that has the free printable preview at the bottom of this post.)
  • Snowman Soup
  • Letter from Santa
  • Socks
  • Playing Cards
  • Candy Canes
  • Small Christmas Toy
  • Cookie Decorating Kit
  • Christmas Stuffed Animal
  • Christmas Coloring Book
  • Christmas Cup
  • Christmas Craft Kit – or grab the supplies from one of these easy and fun Christmas Crafts for Kids
  • A Personalized Christmas book with your child’s name
  • An Ornament – or make one of these easy Salt Dough Ornaments

Here are some ideas from our readers:

“I put in Christmas PJ’s, a Christmas book and DVD, a Christmas cup, popcorn and coloring book or dot to dot. I keep the same box every year and stick a photo of that year inside the lid. Then after Christmas, I use the boxes for decorations. This year I’m also putting in a little decoration each so they can start their own collection.” – Daniela

“We’ve started doing this the last few years. They get new pajamas, a film and they get some Christmas crafts to do. Also a little Christmas cuddly to have to cuddle with during the film and a new tree decoration.” – Jodie

How to Make a Christmas Eve Box

Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own Christmas Eve Crate:

–White Acrylic Paint

–Adhesive Letters

–Foam paintbrush

-Ornament or Embellishment for the Box

–Large wooden crate – we found ours at Michaels or you can buy personalized Christmas Eve boxes here

-Items to put inside your xmas eve box like PJ’s, movie, book, popcorn, and our free printables

–Paper shred filler or other filler to put in the box

For the snowman soup: hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows & a candy cane

For the reindeer food: oats & red & green edible sprinkles

-Clear Treat Tags for your reindeer food and snowman soup

For the santa letter: envelope & paper

  • You can grab the Reindeer Food, Snowman Soup & Letter from Santa free printables by subscribing to the form that has the free printable preview at the bottom of this post.

How To Make Your Christmas Eve Box

If you’d rather not make your own you can get lots of personalized Christmas Eve boxes here.

1. Using your stencils (we purchased ones like these), paint on the words “CHRISTMAS EVE BOX” to your crate. Use very little paint and dab very lightly to avoid bleeding through the stencil. We love that the crate is rustic looking so the letters don’t have to look perfect!

2. Glue on your ornament decoration to the box. We found this snowman ornament from Michaels but you could use a large ribbon or any other Christmas embellishment.

3. Make your reindeer food and snowman soup! Skip down to the bottom of this post to grab your free printables.

To make the reindeer food: Mix oats and red & green sprinkles and add to a treat bag. Staple your free printable treat tag on top.

Note: when sprinkling outside, be sure to sprinkle on a deck or patio so you can sweep up afterwards. This ensures no wildlife accidentally eat the reindeer food.

To make the snowman soup: Add in your hot cocoa mix, handful of mini marshmallows and a candy cane to your bag and staple your treat tag on top.

4. Fold your letter from Santa and place in an envelope. Grab the free printable letter from Santa at the bottom of this post.

5. Now add all of your elements into your crate! PJs, movie, book, snowman soup, reindeer food, etc

Subscribe here to receive the free Christmas Eve Box printables as a gift sent straight to your inbox!

If you have any issues receiving the email, make sure you check all of your folders. If you still do not see it, contact us here.

More Christmas Crafts

Want more fun Christmas ideas? See over 50+ Christmas Crafts for Kids!

And for some adorable keepsake ideas – see over 25+ Salt Dough Ornament Ideas.



Includes a ‘letter from Santa’, ‘Jingle Bell’ nestles in a bed of wooden wool, a solid chocolate gingerbread man, a wooden star decoration can be hung on the Christmas tree, ‘Reindeer Food’ to sprinkle outside, and a straw and topper for Santa’s Milk (or brandy or port or whatever tipple is waiting for him!).


Includes a classic storybook, press-out models, a letter from Santa, a magic key, a door hanger to colour and much more.



You will need: Shoebox, Christmas wrapping paper, Reindeer antlers, Red bauble, Gift tag, Wooden mini letters, Gold sparkle yarn

Tools: Glue gun, Glue sticks, Scissors, Double sided sticky tape or sellotape, Wire cutters,


Using festive wrapping paper, wrap both the base and the lid of the shoebox. Tape the first folds to the inside lip of the lid.

Carefully take the reindeer antlers apart using wire cutters and scissors.

Glue each antler to the top of the lid with the glue gun. Make sure there is enough glue to support the antlers upright.

To hide the glue, wrap the gold sparkle yarn around the base of each antler and secure with glue.

Add the reindeer ears to each side of the box with glue.

Carefully cut the neck of the bauble with scissors.

Glue the bauble to the front of the box for the nose of the reindeer.

Finish the box by adding a personalised tag and wooden mini letters.


You will need: Wooden gift box, Red spray paint/acrylic paint, Black material,

Cotton wool, Gold spray paint/acrylic paint, Gold glitter, Wooden mini letters,

Wooden mini frame or gold card.

Tools: Scissors, Pencil, Glue gun, Glue sticks, PVA, Paintbrush, Iron.


Paint the wooden box red – give the box a couple of coats, then leave to dry.

For Santa’s belt, cut a long strip 4cm wide from black fabric. The length should fit the length of the box, with enough to cover each side.

Fold the edges of the fabric over to form a neat edge.

Glue the belt onto the middle of the box landscape. Bring the rough edges around each side and glue into place.

To create the buckle, paint the wooden mini frame and sprinkle with gold glitter whilst still wet. Leave to dry.

Find the centre of the belt and glue the buckle into position.

Glue a row of fluffy toy stuffing along the bottom edge of the box.

Personalize the box with a name or slogan from the wooden mini letters. Paint each letter with gold paint and sprinkle with glitter. Glue to the box in a formation of your choice.


Christmas DVD

Hot Chocolate


Christmas story book

Candy canes

Gingerbread man

Chocolate coins


Mini Bailey’s/wine


Bath bombs

Christmas DVD


Gingerbread man

Presenting someone with a Christmas Eve box is a trend that has grown massively in the last few years. In short, it’s the act of giving someone a box full of small but meaningful Christmas gifts on the 24th December.

Believed to derive from the German tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve, in the UK it has become a way to start the festive spirit early with a box of treats.

But not everyone is on board with the growth of this present-giving trend. Last year, the idea of Christmas Eve boxes sparked a debate among parenting figures online, with some saying that it’s just another way to spend money and indulge in the over-the-top side of the festive season. Others, however, pointed out that the things that go in a Christmas Eve box are likely things we would buy anyway on the 24th December, just packaged nicely and made more of a fuss of.

Who do you give Christmas Eve boxes to?

The beauty of a Christmas Eve box is that you can fill them with whatever you like and give them to whoever you like, as long as they suit your Christmas Eve needs – that could be food and drink orientated, a plan to get the children to go to sleep early, or everything Santa needs on his arrival into your home.

Adults Christmas Eve boxes can be filled with boozy, foodie treats, where as a child’s Christmas Eve box might contain pyjamas, a classic Christmas film and some hot chocolate to help them unwind.

How do you make a Christmas Eve box?

Essentially, a Christmas Eve box can be put together using any container you like. This might be a wooden box, stocking, pillow case or wicker basket. You can easily jazz-up an existing box using festive ribbon or paint.

Where can you buy a Christmas Eve box?

If you want to invest in an eco-friendly, personalised Christmas Eve box you can bring back out year-after-year, there are some lovely options you can buy online. Here are a few of our favourites…

1. Personalised Wooden Christmas Eve Box, £34.99 BUY NOW

Not on the Highstreet

2. Personalised Large Traditional Christmas Eve Box, £24.50 BUY NOW

Not on the Highstreet

3. Reindeer Christmas Eve Crate, £22.50 BUY NOW


4. Personalised Pet Christmas Eve Box, £27 BUY NOW

Not On The High Street

Christmas Eve box ideas

The contents of a Christmas Eve box depends on its purpose and the individual receiving it, but here is a list of common Christmas Eve box gifts…

  • a Christmas film
  • a Christmas plant
  • handmade gifts
  • a book
  • a mug
  • Christmas wine
  • hot chocolate
  • sweet treats
  • favourite snacks
  • favourite drinks
  • treats for Father Christmas
  • pyjamas
  • slippers
  • soft toy
  • toiletries (plastic-free preferred)
  • small gifts personal to the recipient
  • candle

Where can you order a Christmas Eve Box?

If you like the idea but don’t have the time to put one together yourself, you can order complete Christmas Eve boxes online. This is also a great idea if you don’t live with your desired recipient.

Not On The High Street and Etsy are good places to look for pre-packed Christmas Eve boxes. Expect to see plenty of high street versions this festive season, too.

Not on the Highstreet

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Believed to have derived from the German tradition of opening presents on the night before Christmas, a Christmas Eve box is a gift that parents give children in anticipation of Christmas Day.

“I have done a Christmas Eve box for about 18 years now,” said one mum on the Kmart Mums Facebook group.

They can range from a cardboard box filled with pyjamas and a Christmas book to an elaborate custom-made wooden chest, overflowing with gifts and toys for the kids.

Opinions divided

But not everyone agrees with the Christmas Eve tradition.

“Nope, we don’t do that,” said another member of the Kmart Mums group. “They get plenty the day after as it’s Christmas.”

“The world’s gone crazy,” added another Australian mum.

UK consumer expert Prof Vince Mitchell said that the Christmas Eve was a festive tradition that had been “waiting to happen”.

“There’s no pretence this is an ancient tradition” although we do already share a Christmas Eve “lull” when children anxiously wait for the next day, he told the BBC.

In the UK, Christmas Eve boxes are fast becoming a “clever retail invention”, he said.

“They heighten the anticipation of the following day, which is key to children’s Christmas experience,” he said.

“This isn’t a fad,” Prof Mitchell said. “The Christmas Eve box will develop in terms of what they contain and we’ll see a variation in prices from £10 to £100.”

What does a Christmas Eve box contain?

A typical box contains everything a child needs to enjoy the night before Christmas and can include:

  • Christmas book
  • Christmas movie
  • Snack for the movie
  • A soft toy
  • Christmas-themed plate and cutlery
  • Reindeer food
  • New pyjamas
  • New toothbrush
  • Christmas colouring books
  • Family board game
    New tree decoration
  • Bath bombs
  • A Christmas-themed candle
  • A Christmas-themed mug
  • Hot chocolate
  • Treats for Santa
  • Slippers

For many, Christmas Eve used to be wrestling the kids into bed after getting them to leave a mince pie and a carrot out for Santa and Rudolph. Herculean task complete, the adult would eat the mince pie, pop the carrot back in the fridge and it was job done until the morning. However, the evening has since become almost as big a deal as the main event, with kids and grown-ups alike playing games, opening gifts and topping up on anticipation for the big day.

To that end, a new tradition has sprung up over the last few years: that of Christmas Eve boxes. Essentially, it’s stocking fillers in a box instead of a sock, tiding kids (and adults) over with small gifts and entertainment to occupy and delight, whiling away some of the time between Christmas Eve and present o’clock.

Christmas Eve boxes can be as simple as a cardboard box or a homemade container full of surprises, or you can pick up bespoke tins, treasure chests or custom-designed wooden Christmas Eve boxes to use year after year. If you’re buying a box, here’s a small selection of options, from simpler containers to bespoke engravings:

  • Christmas Eve box from John Lewis
  • Christmas Eve box from Amazon
  • Custom Christmas Eve boxes from Not On The High Street

Yes, it’s one more thing to buy for, but it doesn’t have to be a lot of pressure: all the contents can be acquired fairly cheap, as its a “teaser” of sorts for the big day. Think sweets, toys, Christmas books, films and all the usual stocking stuffers. We’ve gathered a few options for both children and grown-ups, so no matter who you’re spoiling this year, everyone gets a Christmas Eve box they’ll enjoy.

Christmas Eve box fillers for kids

The Snowman: Snowdog soft toy | now £11.00 from John Lewis
From the sequel to the Christmas classic, it seems like a foolproof scheme: watch The Snowman And The Snowdog with the youngsters, then present them with a box containing their very own cuddly Snowdog. Christmas Eve? Nailed it. View Deal

Lego Star Wars Sith Infiltrator Microfighter | now £8.99 from John Lewis
Lego Star Wars is always a sure-fire winner. The Microfighter range are miniature versions of fan-favourite characters and vehicles, making perfect Christmas Eve box-fillers and keeping little ones occupied building their new sets. The Sith Infiltrator comes with a minifigure of the fearsome Darth Maul with (of course) his double-bladed lightsaber. Vwoom! View Deal

How The Grinch Stole Christmas paperback | was £6.99 | now £4.00 on Amazon
A whimsical, delightful holiday classic, every child needs to read this. Better still, gather the kids round, turn off the devices and read it aloud, with the silliest voices you can muster to make the best of the good doctor’s rhymes.

The Lindt Christmas Treat Box | now £8.99 on Amazon
It wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate. Snack on Santa, one of his reindeer, a teddy and a selection of Lindt truffles in this bumper pack of some of the best-quality chocolate in the biz.View Deal

Faburo Christmas Toss game | now £8.99 from Amazon
The kids might need something more to keep them occupied, and this is sure to do the trick. Blow up the antlers, pop them on and your opponents try and catch the rings on your inflatable prongs. A simple concept designed to generate plenty of laughs. The rings are inflatable too, so it’s safe to be played in the living room.View Deal

Christmas Eve box fillers for adults

Yankee Candle Gift Set with 3 Small Jar Scented Candles | was £24.99 | now £15.99 on Amazon
Who doesn’t love a candle? Especially when it’s a candle with fragrance. They cosy-up your home on those long winter nights and make great presents for friends and family. The festive trio here are Candlelit Cabin, Pomegranate Gin Fizz and Evergreen mist scents.View Deal

UBFEN Unisex Memory Foam Comfort Fuzzy Slippers | from £9.38 on Amazon
A pair of slippers to stay warm and cosy on Christmas Eve is a sure-fire winner to pop in the box. Opt for the UBFEN unisex slipper that comes in a huge amount of different colours, all sharing a snug, memory foam interior that moulds to the contours of the wearer’s feet. View Deal

The Balvenie Tasting Collection x3 | now £15.00 on Amazon
There’s nothing like a nip of good Scotch on a cold winter’s night, and since it’s Christmas, treat your recipient to a trio of great drams. The DoubleWood 12 and 17 editions have been matured in both American oak and ex-Sherry casks, while the Caribbean Cask 14-year-old has been finished in ex-rum casks for a tropical take on the Speyside distillery. View Deal

Spyfall card game | now £19.95 at Amazon
We voted Spyfall our best board game for parties. If you’re around the table with adults this year, Spyfall is an excellent card game designed to stoke mistrust as you try and uncover the spy in your midst. Still guaranteed to cause less arguments than Monopoly.View Deal

Vbiger Unisex Outdoor Touch Screen Anti-slip Gloves | now £13.99 from Amazon
Stay warm on your Christmas walk with these hardy gloves. With conductive fabric and silicone printing, the glvoe allows you to operate touch-screens without freezing your fingers. A neat little Christmas Eve box addition. View Deal

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Christmas Eve Box Ideas

The sleeper hit of the last couple of years has cemented its status as the new tradition for the festive season. So what’s all the fuss about?

As special occasions go, Christmas Eve doesn’t get a lot of love. Maybe it’s all the rushing around, maybe it’s wishing the day away so that you can get started on the presents – or it could be the knowledge that you have small children to cajole into their beds in the face of promises to be very good if they can stay up and see Santa.

But now a new custom, perhaps inspired by the German Christmas tradition of opening presents on December 24th, is setting out to change all that.

What is a Christmas Eve box?

The definition of a Christmas Eve box is partly up to you and what suits your loved ones best. The box itself can range from a shoebox prettily decorated with wrapping paper to a keepsake wooden, personalised Christmas Eve box engraved with the recipient’s name.

What you put inside depends on the purpose of your box. Maybe you’re looking for a distraction to keep the kids from getting overexcited about Father Christmas, or to wear them out before bedtime. Or maybe it’s you and your other half who can’t wait for the big day and want to make the night before fly by. Whatever the reason, here’s what to put in a Christmas Eve box.

For the littlest ones

Whether it’s all for them or really because you can’t wait to see their little faces light up, here’s what to put in a magical Christmas Eve box for toddlers.

Light-up toys: Make the most of dark evenings by casting stars, animals and more on walls and ceilings with toys, torches or children’s projectors.

Bubbles: Get the kind made with no-tears bubble bath, hold the bottle steady and let them try and dip the wand. Then blow them some bubbles, catch one on the wand and let them ‘pop’!

Festive PJs and slippers: The more adorable, the better – after all, it’s what they’ll be wearing in those all-important Christmas morning pics.

Bedtime story: Choose a board book if they’re likely to tear pages. Accompany with a soft toy from the story – The Gruffalo, anyone? – and encourage them to help him ‘say’ key words as you read together.

A little treat: If they’re confident enough little eaters, treat them to a festive pot of chocolate drops – each one smaller than your little fingertip, with a lid you can pop back on when it’s time to stop. Introduce older toddlers to a family Christmas tradition with chocolate coins that you unwrap for them.

For bakers

Keep the kids happy and make extra snacks for the big day.

Measuring spoons: These are more fun for little bakers, who can experiment with how they jingle on the ring or fit into one another while you do the real cooking.

Hair ties: Keep long hair out of little faces – and the batter! – with cute Alice bands, bobbles or clips.

Apron: Keep everything clean – and cute – with a fun, festive cover-up.

Festive biscuit cutters: Great for royal icing decorations for your Christmas cake – or making Santa’s cookies yourselves!

Seasonal stencils: Perfect for decorating naked cakes with icing sugar or cocoa powder.

Edible decorations: Think silver balls, icing pens and edible glitter. Or take your Christmas cake up a notch with toppers such as gingerbread men, penguins or Santa Claus. (They also double as sustenance for the bakers…)

The secret ingredient: Think high-cocoa chocolate drops or single-origin cocoa nibs to upgrade your chocolatey recipes.

For outdoor types

Open this one early and tire them out in time for bed.

Hat, scarf and gloves: Be prepared for that longed-for white Christmas.

Wellington boots: Essential for splashing in puddles or kicking through the leaves.

Small ball: For little ones to practise kicking and bigger ones to compete over. A jolly trophy for the winners?

Kite: Make the most of a blustery afternoon.

Hand warmer: For post-snowman paws.

Flask: Take hot chocolate with you for a break between games, to warm everyone to their toes.

For crafters

Keep older children occupied while you finish the preparations – or get in the Christmas spirit along with them!

Tree ornaments: If the oven’s not in use, get them some string and shrinking paper and let them sketch, colour and hole-punch some decorations of their own design that you can bake for them. Alternatively, hang these baubles instead.

My special plate: Plain white plate + ceramics pens = the sweetest place setting at the Christmas dinner table. Bonus points for designing a place mat, too.

Festive finger puppets: Felt, scissors and a sewing kit or glue are all they need to make their cast. Cardboard or a cereal box and felt tips will make their puppet theatre. Then it’s up to them to come up with a Christmas story to act out!

Stocking decorating: Santa can’t fail to feel a little more generous towards the best-dressed stocking in the street, can he? Supply iron-on transfers, sewing kit or glue, ribbons, fabric pens, felt and hole punches that make seasonal shapes and let them go to town! Just don’t forget what you’re going to fill those stockings with…

Thank-you cards: Get ahead of the game with coloured card, felt pens, sequins and glue to design their thank-you cards before the big day even begins.

For movie night

It’ll be gone midnight before you know it…

Blanket and slippers: Rule number one of movie-watching: utter cosy comfort.

The Christmas film: Who doesn’t love a must-watch Christmas movie – or three?

Festive film game: Follow the rules of Motion Picture Bingo – but give it a seasonal twist! Include cards for everyone you’re watching with.

Movie snacks: Think melted chocolate with dippables including popcorn and marshmallows. Just don’t forget to pass them around…

What’s in your Christmas Eve box? Tell us on Twitter: @HotelChocolat