Christmas Eve was never an incredibly exciting time in my home growing up so when I saw the idea for a Christmas Eve Box for the kids, I was immediately intrigued.
By not incredibly exciting, I mean that we (my sister and I) were incredibly excited for the following day but we had nothing that happened on that day to be excited about in and of itself or to distract us from the fact that as we slept Santa and all of his reindeer were going to fly to our house, come down the chimney (or break in the door, either or) and drop presents off under our tree.
I remember lying in my bed trying desperately to go to sleep so Santa could come because I was scared if I couldn’t sleep then I wouldn’t get any presents! One night when I was around 7 I could have sworn I heard the sleigh bells flying over head …
When I had my own kids I decided I wanted to do something to make Christmas Eve a significant day for them too, to stretch the holiday cheer out and start a new family tradition. So I turned to Pinterest (as you do!) and discovered the Christmas Eve Box tradition.
In America and the UK, Christmas is of course in the middle of winter so the ideas I came across consisted of winter goodies like hot chocolate and fudge pudding. In the middle of summer this was not going to work so I had to come up with my own ideas for our box.
So what is it?
A Christmas Eve Box is a big box dropped off by Santa’s Elves on your doorstep the night before Christmas. It contains items to keep the kids busy and entertained that evening and sets up a chance to relax as a family before the mayhem of the following day.
If you have something you need to do that night (like help ‘Santa’ put up a trampoline say, then start the movie portion of the box early or you too could be up till 11.30pm on Christmas Eve putting it up with a head lamp!). That is if you are like my husband and think that you know better than the instructions and cut corners only to discover that their was a reason to the order and you have to take it all down and do it again! Men!
We did our first Christmas Eve box last year and it contained these items:
A CHRISTMAS STORY
I stumbled across Father Christmas Needs A Wee on the Book Depository last year and I thought that was right up the alley of little boys, especially given one was toilet training at the time. I had no idea what to expect but it’s actually a really fun rhyming little book that we now have to read year round. Short and easy (key word: short!).
‘Father Christmas needs a wee. He’s been drinking drinks since half past three …’ At each different house that he visits Father Christmas drinks and eats all the goodies left out for him. Before long he really, really, really needs a wee. So much so that he even forgets to leave the presents behind. But he dashes back, delivers all the pressies and flies home at high speed to avoid an embarassing accident …there’s just one tiny problem …he’s lost his house key!
This year we have Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers from the ever charming Hairy Maclary series which my boys have just recently fallen in love with. I’ll let you know what they think!
Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers is a hilarious rhyming story by New Zealand author Lynley Dodd. ‘Christmas was coming. Out came the tree, dressed up in finery, splendid to see. Trinkets and tinsel with baubles and bows, a mouse with a hat and a very red nose…’ So begins Lynley Dodd’s cracking Christmas tale told in her usual rollicking, rhythmic rhyme. Festive preparations are being made in Slinky Malinki’s house and the rapscallion, mischievous cat is most curious about the Christmas tree. With its reindeer, ribbons, baubles and bells, it’s too tempting a treat for Slinky not to investigate. So Slinky Malinki, with mischievous glee, creeps out from the shadows to climb up the tree…
Out with the flannelette (we live in a cooler part of NZ so yes, we do wear flannelette right up until Christmas!) and out with the summer PJ’s! There cute boys pajamas are from Charlie and Me. The idea is that the kids get dressed up in their brand new PJ’s for the evening, who doesn’t love hopping into brand new jammies!
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere then flannelette and cute fleecy onesies or dressing gowns (robes!) may be the go for you!
A DVD (OR MOVIE VOUCHER)
The entertainment part of the box is of course the family Christmas movie to watch as a family that evening. We don’t have a DVD player so I just chose one that had been on TV and recorded it ready to watch that night. In place of the DVD (video in our day – boy that makes me fee old!) I pop a ‘movie voucher’ to view the movie of choice in the box but if you have a DVD player you may like to just buy one and start a Christmas collection.
MOVIE SNACKS AND GOODIES!
Christmas Eve is the perfect opportunity to have a few special treats in the box to enjoy with your family movie! Whether it be some chocolate Santa’s or gold coins, popcorn, chippies, cookies or marshmallows, choose things that they don’t get every day so there is some novelty to it. Last year we did chips and popcorn kernels to pop our own popcorn. This year I am putting in all the makings of the perfect ice-cream sundae – chocolate sauce, sprinkles (AKA hundreds and thousands!), wafers, chocolate drops, waffle cones … the kids can create any ice-cream creation they desire (and so can I!). Yum!
For those huddled inside against the winter elements then cute mugs and hot chocolate sachets would be a cool addition!
MAGIC REINDEER FOOD
The reindeer have to figure out where to land somehow!
Make some reindeer food out of rolled oats and coloured sugar or edible glitter and add the following label to your jar or bag:
Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home.
Then take the kids outside and let them scatter it on the lawn so the reindeer know where to land and can have a snack while Santa delivers the presents!
SANTA’S MAGIC KEY
Just before they hop into bed, after the reindeer food has been scattered and the milk and cookies (or homemade truffles in our house!) have been laid out, hang out the key that arrives in the pack outside one of your doors. This is a very special key, for the elves have sent it just for your house! The poem attached to the key (use an old skeleton key if you can find one lying around somewhere!) is:
This key is very special you see,
It won’t work for just you and me …
Hang it just outside your door,
Go to bed and worry no more …
Close your eyes and close them tight,
For Santa Clause is coming tonight.
If you’re not a movie family then there are so many other things you can put in the box. Why not make it the opportunity to collect a new family board game every year and play it for the first time that night? From a cheap packet of dominoes to Uno, to Jenga and Twister. There are also downloadable Christmas themed colouring in pages that you could print and include with new crayons or felt tips or anything along those lines! We are going to make thank you cards for Santa with some new crayons and paper to leave with the milk and cookies this year as an added afternoon activity.
Do you do a Christmas Eve Box? Does this post inspire you to think about starting one as a new family tradition? What Christmas family traditions do you have?
*Free printable Reindeer Food and Santa’s Key available! CLICK HERE or on the image for your free PDF.