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Christmas Eve Box

This new tradition has taken off in a big way! The arrival of the Christmas Eve Box signifies the beginning of the celebrations for many families. There are a whole host of ready-made boxes available to purchase, or beautiful personalised boxes ready for you to fill. But, if you’ve left it too late to order, or just don’t want another outlay of expense, we’ve got some simple DIY Christmas Eve Box ideas for you which can be pulled together quickly and cheaply.

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  1. What is a Christmas Eve Box
  2. How to make the Box Itself
  3. What to put Inside a Christmas Eve Box
  4. How will the Box Arrive?

What is a Christmas Eve Box?

The Christmas Eve Box a lovely way to package treats for that special night and really embrace the magic and excitement with your loved ones. Its origin is unclear but it was first seen in the UK as a way to keep little ones busy on Christmas Eve and help manage the anticipation for the big day.

Nowadays, as with Advent Calendars, there are Christmas Eve Box ideas for every member of the family!

Little White Socks DIY Christmas Eve Box
Image Credit: Little White Socks

Whilst you can absolutely go to town treating your loved ones to additional gifts to enjoy over the twelve days of Christmas and beyond, many of the most popular Christmas Eve Box fillers are things that you’d already have in the home, either to gift or ready to use on Christmas Eve anyway.

We like to think of this tradition more as a focus on packaging and presentation than purchasing additional items. But, as with most Christmas traditions, it is wonderfully versatile so just tailor the concept to suit your family, budget and time constraints.


How to Make the Box Itself

Mummy Memories Christmas Eve Box
Image Credit: Mummy Memories

As we mentioned above, there are a whole host of beautiful heirloom-quality keepsake boxes available on the market and you may chose to invest in one of these at some stage. We think it would make a gorgeous gift for a new arrival’s first Christmas for example.

However, there is absolutely no need to be splashing the cash unless you really want to. Think back to your own childhood and you will no doubt recall the homemade Christmas décor just as fondly if not even more so than the purchased items. So a homemade Christmas Eve box will be just as warmly received and can work just as well.

Who’s It For?

One decision to make before you start creating is whether you want separate boxes for each family member or one big box for everyone. There’s no right or wrong answer here of course just choose what would suit your household best.

The DIY Mommy Personalised Christmas Eve Box
Image Credit: The DIY Mommy

Simple Christmas Eve Box Ideas

Almost any container, from a basket to a crate or wicker hamper can be fashioned into a Christmas Eve Box so just think what you have around the house that could be given a sprinkle of festive cheer.

Mothers Niche Christmas Eve Bucket
Image Credit: Mothers Niche

No doubt you’ll have plenty of delivery boxes in the house. So, why not simply take one of these and wrap it in Christmas paper. You could stencil the words ‘Christmas Eve Box’ on the lid or add stickers to say the same. Alternatively, what about simply adding a gift tag or initial cut from sparkly card to each box to make clear the recipient.

The Mirror Christmas Eve Box
Image Credit: The Mirror

Alternatively, if you can find a plain box, why not have one of the activities for Christmas Eve this year be decorating the Christmas Eve Box for years to come? (One of our Jolly Festive Elves did exactly that with their family. The box is now in its seventh year and going strong!) It could be a great way to use up all those leftover bits of Christmas Crafts and gift wrap and bows that you have lying around the house.


What to put Inside a Christmas Eve Box

Whilst of course it’s easy to go over the top here and add all sorts of special treats to your loved one’s Christmas Eve Box, we are big fans of following the general gift rule of four.

Gift Rule of Four

This way it keeps things simple and manageable, and doesn’t replace or diminish the excitement of the Christmas Day gift arrival.

We’ll take each category in turn and give you some ideas of what you might like to include for each. We are however going to sneak in a fifth category as well – that of traditions!

0. Embracing Traditions

Of course, there are plenty of items that can be purchased new for your Christmas Eve box each year. However, the box also provides a great opportunity to keep together those items that only come out each Christmas Eve. This allows an opportunity for fanfare of their arrival as well as helping us parents keep everything safely in one place.

Christmas Eve Box Traditions

Do you have mugs or clothes that you only wear at Christmas for example? Add them to your box. Maybe there’s one or two special Christmas decorations or tree ornaments that are put out to mark the start of the festivities. Why not keep them in your box to add together as a shared activity. The most simple of items and activities can be elevated to a whole new level of intrigue and importance just by keeping them out of sight until Christmas Eve!

And a quick note about the Christmas Journal. This is something we are particularly passionate about at Jolly Festive – a book of festive memories revisited and added to each year by the family. Find out more here.

The Christmas Journal

1. Something They Want

The options are endless for this category of course. Most common is the gifting of a new Christmas Movie DVD to enjoy together, alongside snuggle treats such as hot chocolate, a new Christmas mug or a cuddly toy. With DVDs becoming increasingly obsolete, you could instead print-out the details of a movie you plan to download or watch. We have a great hot chocolate recipe and gift mug idea which can be pulled together at home and embellished as much or as little as you wish.

Jolly Festive Hot Chocolate Gift Mug

Add a few Christmas sweets or some popcorn to go alongside and you’re good to go. Or, what about putting the chocolate tree decorations in your Christmas Eve Box to be added to the tree by the whole family together?

Alternatively, you might even choose to give your loved one part of their main gift to relieve some of the pent-up excitement around arrival of gifts the following day. Or, there are a huge number of different festive treats similar to those you might add to a homemade advent calendar which would be ideal – check out our suggestions here. You will have the added benefit of purchasing at the end of the season as well so they may well be some bargains to be had!

Our favourite idea for this part of the box however is an activity or two to keep little ones busy on a day when often time drags for those excited for Father Christmas whilst feeling like it has passed in the blink of an eye for the grown-ups preparing! From colouring books to gingerbread house decorating kits, snow stencils to festive construction kits (such as LEGO), there will doubtless be something for every age and interest.

2. Something They Need

We’re going to stretch the definition of ‘need’ a little here … it’s Christmas after all! Of course you could give your loved one a new toothbrush, a selection of batteries or something equally as practical! But we would suggest that ‘needs’ on Christmas Eve might focus on being ready for the arrival of the gent in a red suit!

Christmas Stockings

You could put the stockings or Santa sacks inside the box to be revealed on Christmas Eve. What about a special plate or glass that is brought out each year for Santa’s treat. And how about some reindeer food, or the ingredients to make some? For the grown-ups, need may be a little festive tipple, a foot scrub or a cosy cushion.

Worldwide Christmas Eve Jingle
Image Credit: Worldwide Christmas Eve Jingle

And, ideal for this year for any family member, would be the inclusion of some sleigh bells ready for the Christmas Eve Jingle!

3. Something To Wear

Christmas Pyjamas & Socks

Pyjamas are by far the most popular choice for a Christmas Eve Box. Are you planning to embrace the matching family pyjama trend? Otherwise, it is a great opportunity to treat your loved one’s to a new set of jammies ready for the new year! Often these items are in mind for Christmas gifts anyway, and it’s just about delivering them on Christmas Eve as part of the box rather than at another time.

If you fancy doing something a little different, what about a new pair of slippers, some Christmas socks or an outfit or jumper to wear on Christmas Day? Or you could give your loved ones some gloves or a woolly hat with the idea of heading out on a Christmas Eve walk to use up some of that excess excited energy.

Woolly Hat

4. Something To Read

Obviously the classic choice here would be the wonderful poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore. Download our free printable version below if you’d like. Or, perhaps you have an heirloom copy of the book which comes out every year for the whole household to enjoy?

'Twas The Night Before Christmas Printable

Download our free printable version

There are a whole host of other fabulous festive books which you could include to read to your little one or for an older child or adult to enjoy over the Christmas holidays as well.


How will the Box Arrive?

The last decision to be made is how your Christmas Eve Box will arrive. Will your elf deliver it on Christmas Eve? Do the advent calendars disappear that day to be replaced by a lovely box of special goodies and keepsakes? Or do you bring it out once the visitors have arrived to enjoy exploring with a festive treat in the afternoon? Have fun deciding what will work best for your family!


We do hope you’ve found our Christmas Eve Box ideas useful and that they have helped reassure you that this need not be a time-consuming or expensive proposition to enjoy with your loved ones. Let us know what you decide to include in your box in the comments below!

Looking for some festive games to play with your family? We’ve got lots of fun Christmassy twists on traditional games here.