The Christmas Eve Box Tradition

When I first heard about the idea of a Christmas Eve Box, my initial reaction was, “You’re kidding! More presents for the kids?!” But when I found out the idea behind the tradition and the contents of the box I was totally sold. I LOVE Christmas and the Christmas Eve Box just adds to the fun and excitement for everyone.

Basically, you collate a few items together in a box that is to be opened on Christmas Eve. The anticipation and contents ramp up the excitement levels but also engage the kids in some fun activities with the family to make the magic of Christmas shine even brighter.

The first time we had a Christmas Eve Box we were spending Christmas at the grandparents and I thought it would be a nice surprise for the kids after a really long drive to get there. Of course, you do have to endure literally HOURS of kids asking, “Can we open it now? It’s Christmas Eve” starting at about 8am!

We usually use an old carboard box and just wrap the box itself. But you can wrap each item individually before putting it in the box (for those who aren’t completely and utterly over wrapping by this point!) or just pop the items into a gift bag. We also add a big sticker to say “TO BE OPENED ON CHRISTMAS EVE” just so it doesn’t get mixed up with other presents. We don’t want the kids opening their best presents accidentally before Christmas even arrives!

Ideas for your Christmas Eve box

You could include a DVD and popcorn so you can enjoy a Christmas Eve movie together, or a board game. Or how about Christmas crackers for everyone, chocolate Santas, marshmallows for hot chocolate, sprinkles and chocolate sauce for ice-cream, a few ingredients to do some Christmas Eve baking, Christmas colouring or books. New pyjamas are a popular choice for the Christmas Eve Box, or simply Santa hats for everyone to get into the festive spirit!

Remember if you’re including some edible goodies, don’t put in anything that might melt or smush! Try some of these festive treats:

Obviously you can’t include the ice-cream itself but some toppings will still get the kids in the mood for a frozen treat. Try hundreds and thousands, chocolate sauce, wafer biscuits or fruit sauces.

Play some Christmas music and sing a few carols to really create that glorious Christmas feeling, depending on who’s singing!

A milky drink before bed will hopefully send the kids off to sleep before Santa comes sliding down the chimney!


her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. Miss_Laloli 27/11/2019 at 8:40 pm

    When on Christmas Eve does the kiddo get their box?

    • Julie - Kidspot 15/01/2020 at 6:49 am

      You can open the box whenever it suits your Christmas Eve routine. We do ours just after dinner so that they can settle in for a movie and some dessert.

  2. SarahBlair 31/12/2017 at 6:16 pm

    This is such a cute idea, I’ll admit that I was a lot like the author with the “You’re kidding! More presents for the kids?!” sentiment but it actually sounds great and not too overly indulgent, it adds to the magic of Christmas. I think I will have to try this next year!

  3. felicity beets 30/12/2017 at 6:43 pm

    A nice idea for older children. I especially like the ideas which is one present for everyone that the whole family can use together, e.g. a movie, a board game or something to make e.g. a gingerbread house kitset. christmas day can be so busy i think this would be a nice time for the family to celebrate together.

  4. Angelgirl081 30/12/2017 at 9:46 am

    Love this tradition. My mum used to do it with us and I’ve done it with miss 4 since her second Christmas (her first she was only 4 months old so I didn’t really we the point haha) I did have a special shoe box that I had covered in Christmas paper, but this year with number two’s first Christmas I could not be bothered finding and wrapping another box so I bought two special large wooden keep sake boxes from and they engrave them with the kids names and whatever else you want it to say (Christmas Eve box) such a good investment and will last until they are adults. This year I filled them with a hot chocolate spoon, new pjs, a Christmas book, a dvd, their new Santa sacks, some reindeer food, a Christmas soap (for a Christmas Eve bath) and a Christmas plastic plate (the ones from kmart with the 3 different areas)

  5. Mands1980 10/12/2017 at 9:03 pm

    What a great idea we have never done this before but may just start a tradition.

  6. Shorrty4life1 07/12/2017 at 2:06 pm

    What a great post. Such a nice idea for the whole family. I like that yous have included ideas on what to put inside.

  7. Bevik1971 07/12/2017 at 11:28 am

    That is such a good idea! First time hearing about it. I’m actually going to do this for Christmas Eve 🙂 A DVD to all watch together with some yummy baking is a fantastic idea – I was going to get a game for my littlie anyway so might chuck another in the Christmas Eve Box.

  8. MuddledUpMolly 06/12/2017 at 8:27 pm

    We started the tradition of the Christmas Eve box last year and our son loved it! He was so excited in the weeks leading up to the big day as it sat there enticingly. A few good ideas here, in particular a boardgame or card game. Great idea! It would have been nice to have some links to some of those tasty sounding recipes though 🙂

  9. Claret 06/11/2017 at 7:29 pm

    Ah scary that it’s not tha long til Christmas but this page is a life saver! Definitely going to do some of these ideas! Will post pics 😀

  10. kymmage 06/11/2017 at 12:25 pm

    Oh that is such a good group of ideas. And it’s true, it doesn’t have to be a big gift. Just something that makes for a tradition. Whether it’s a movie or family baking time.

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