Christmas Eve Boxes(279 Posts)
Since when did they become a thing? I'd never heard of them before this year but they seem to be mentioned as if it's a normal part of the Christmas traditions.
Do you have these and if so, how long have they been part of your Christmas?
Not knocking at all, just genuinely curious.
I first heard of them about 5 or 6 years ago, on here. I have never done them.
Aha, so is it originally a Mumsnet thing that's crept out of the hive and seeped into real life?
I'm also curious as to what goes in them, if anyone knows?
I've done one with a treasure hunt for about 7 years. It was more out of guilt though because I had to work Christmas Eve so left them something fun to do with their day.
I've had to carry it on though and it gets on my nerves 🙈 it's just another thing I have to do!
They mentioned getting an elf this year! I do not have tome in my life for a bloody elf!
My parents used to do us one as children so it's definitely not a new Mumsnet thing. Ours always contained a new pair of pyjamas, a book and a candy cane, they'd always be there under the tree when we got home from Christingle so I've continued the tradition with my DC because it's become habit.
It's not a MN thing. We've always done it in our family. The commercialisation of it is more recent.
Just another added expense and thing to worry about to keep up with your FB imo.
We go to church instead.
If you got PJs and bedding and a mug why do you need the same again the following year?
Ours costs nothing btw, doesn't go on FB and isn't about gift giving. My DC also only get token gifts on the 25th really. You always have to justify this stuff on here or you're diluting the magic/have spoilt dc/are ruining Christmas.
I did it for the first time last year, but I did it on December 1st and beasically got everything I buy for Xmas and lashed it into a bag. I’ve decided we’re doing like that in our house, get Xmas pjs, hot choc, box of sweets, advent calendars Xmas candles etc all that stuff to celebrate the season like an official start. It’s more of an impact than doing it in driva and drabs. Instead of a dvd I did an Xmas movie playlist for the 25 days with dubious choices like Harry Potter and die hard
They're not a tradition in this house and never will them.
I file them in the same "mindless consumerism" box with elves on shelves, 1st december boxes, wrapping your door with a tatty bow, changing christmas decorations every year, north pole breakfasts, special christmas bedding, disposable paper tableware....
I have never done this and hadn't heard of it until 5 years ago at the most. I do get DDs new pyjamas for Christmas Eve and claim that Father Christmas dropped them off early but I don't feel the need to get them anymore stuff the day before they will be given lots of presents. Also, it has just occurred to me that I am working 13hrs+ on Christmas Eve so won't see my children to give them anything (will instruct DH on what to do with the pyjamas and be grateful that this year I am at home on Christmas Day to see them open the rest of their presents).
As a child I always got new pjs on Xmas eve, I’ve carried that in for my children and I’ve always put them in a box along with some treats and reindeer food to enjoy on Xmas eve. So not new in our house, but some I’ve seen are ott.
Showofhands can I ask what you put in yours that doesn't cost anything? Would love some ideas.
In mine I put them new pyjamas (they would get these for Christmas anyway) a book, hot chocolate and marshmallows. They
Love to have a hot choc on Christmas Eve! It's not like I don't let them drink it through the year but to them it somehow seems more special. Oh to be 6 and 9 again
Can anyone here explain WTF a Christmas Eve plate is? Someone was looking for one of the local Facebook tat page the other day and I’m completely clueless.
I've done this without the 'box label'
New PJs party food hot chocolate Christmas film.
Never felt the need to label it a Christmas Eve box - just family tradition
My daughter is only little. Five.
I heard about it on mn I think and we did it for the first time last year.
We had in it-
New elf pjs
Reindeer hot chocolate
Colouring book and pens
Santa magic key
Glittery bubble bath
We got given a Christmas eve box last year so I figure I may as well use it, I probably wouldn't do it otherwise though. I put a pair of pyjamas each, a sachet of hot chocolate each and some marshmallows, a Christmas book each, reindeer food and a key for Santa. And probably a gingerbread man or Christmasy snack of some sort.
Honest to god, of all the days in the calendar, why would anyone provide a box full of gifts the night before the recipient gets a stack load more gifts? It's just mad consumerism and instagram living.
I think a much better idea would be to create a Christmas box and donate to the local foodbank or similar charty where a child may not get ANY gifts.
First time I've heard of it. Is it an American import like the elf on a shelf?
Mine is 13, she's always had new pjs and a story on Christmas Eve, so she looked half way decent for the photos on Christmas Day and we would read the story together Christmas Eve night. We send a picture of her opening a person's present as part of a thank you while she was wearing her new pjs.
We'll continue with new pjs - I sometime even treat the DH and I to some as well.
Thanks for enlightening me Admittedly I've not lived in the UK for about 5 years now but I do still keep up with the newspapers and have plenty of friends there with children of all ages. I have genuinely never heard any of them mention these boxes.
I'm quite glad it wasn't part of our Christmases when my son was younger because I'd have probably done it, and stressed about the added expense!
madrose it was usual in our family to get new PJ's for Christmas, not as a present, just something we always had, but they were just bought and kept for Christmas Eve to slob about in for most (sometimes all!) of Christmas day.
I have bought DD PJs for Christmas Eve as my Mum always did for me. We will probably have hot chocolate and a watch a Christmas film and I might try and find some dairy free squirts cream for the occasion.
Last year I did put all the Christmas books and happyland Christmas toys in the loft in a separate book and I will get them out again on the 1st December.
As if Christmas isn't busy enough without adding elf on a shelf and Christmas Eve boxes to the mix.... Ugh.
My parents always gave us new pyjamas on Christmas Eve, and we ate smoked salmon or cheese and biscuits and watched a film. I have a similar routine as an adult and think it's nice. I don't, however, see the need to give kids a load of gifts on Christmas Eve when they'll get lots more presents the following day and, presumably, forget all about their Christmas Eve gifts. It strikes me as another arena for competitive parenting. Dare I say, looking at local social media groups, it's a certain demographic (younger, economically disadvantaged, often single mums) that seem to go in for extravagant Christmas Eve boxes, and they can probably least afford it.
What's a key for Santa please?
I'm guessing it's for children to leave out for Santa in homes that don't have a chimney? Almost as scary a prospect as telling them some strange guy is going to climb down from the roof
On Christmas Eve mine get a new onesie or PJ's. Which I have purposely not bought in the preceding months. Currently my kids have onesies that are halfway past their ankles as they're too small.
Those go on and we turn all the lights off apart from the Christmas tree and decorations ones and watch a Christmas movie of their choice with hot chocolate and marshmallows etc and fresh popcorn with cinnamon icing sugar sprinkled on.
That's plenty. No keys, no other gifts. Just a nice snuggly family tradition.
I'd love to do a Christmas Eve box but mine are teenagers and apart from pjs I've no idea what to put in them! So might just get pjs and hand it to them
We have always done, new pjs and story or read night before Christmas, snowman soup ( hot choc with mellows) reindeer food on grass ( Oats and edible glitter) plate with carrot milk and chocolate biccie. Magic key ( fake key hung on front door as no chimney) then flour/glitter foot prints from door to tree in am, milk drunk biccie eaten carrot top left. With a note to each child to say well done for an achievement in year and they will get a stocking night before.
in our home at about 7.30 there is a knock at the door. I send my son to answer it, there is a paper bag ( the same one kept each year) Its the advance delivery from the elves, it has our new pjs, a DVD and a selection box each. Its a bit of fun, my son still loves it, even now he is a teenager. We put our pjs on, snuggle up to watch the dvd, eat snack food, eat the chocolate. Because there are just two of us, we are usually very busy seeing family and friends, we always go to the theatre or movies on Christmas Eve afternoon so fo us its just a about the time to start chilling out and enjoy some time together.
New pjs here. That's all. Then we have hot choc and watch a Christmas film. No biggie. No box, no present etc
And we have a Christmas Eve plate. Also no big deal. Just a plate with the dds' names on to leave the mince pie and carrot.
And this obsession with "new pyjamas"
absolutely loathe the tweeness of "PJs" too... Why?
(I must be old because I wore nighties as a kid )
It's not a box of gifts necessarily and all the ugh and screeches of commercialism really piss me off. In our house, it has always been a way of winding down in the evening and hinting at magic beginning to work and my Victorian granny did it ffs. She'd sneak a plate of freshly baked treats onto the hearth with a letter about sleeping well and listening for bells.
I put in ingredients for baking and a recipe, paper and instructions for making a lantern or snowflakes or similar, hot chocolate decanted into festive paper twists, my 40yr old copy of The Night Before Christmas. Plus a letter from the elves detailing the year. Globally and personally, discussing the children's achievements, upcoming plans etc. They're a nice keepsake. Sometimes, if they need PJs or slippers or whatever, I include them. Or a homemade voucher for a film we can watch on Prime.
It wouldn't matter if I hired St Nick to personally heft a solid gold chest of diamonds into the house though. If you don't want to do it, don't but can we keep the sneering to a minimum.
Oh and I work for a charity 52 weeks a year and have spent November arranging gifts for vulnerable families and helped sorting the logistics of providing a meal for 65 pensioners on the 25th. Just because I have a tradition on the 24th doesn't mean I'm a heartless, consumerist cow.
I'm in my early 30s and always used to have this type of thing on Christmas Eve. So no I don't think it's a Mumsnet thing or an American import.
The competitive frugalness and sneering at anything other than a stocking filled with fruit and a book and a donation to oxfam is really fucking boring.
Do what you like at Christmas but don't look down on us who choose to make a bit of effort. Oh and effort doesn't equal cost before I get piled on for that.
Ours is the same stuff each year, new pyjamas(get worn until grown out of and then passed down to the younger one). A copy of The Night Before Christmas(same one each year), some hot chocolates and chocolate coins and our Santa key. It doesn’t have to be expensive or full of junk.
This sounds like a nice tradition. We have a really empty Christmas schedule with no traditions other than presents Xmas morning. Both dh and I are onlies and his parents aren’t with us and mine crack their own detail and pop over Boxing Day, so we are trying to start nice traditions for our children but I never really know where to start.
Do you put all the stuff in an actual box?
Why is it competitive frugalness? They are literally getting a pile of gifts the next morning as well!
What next? Birthday Eve boxes? Easter Eve boxes? Eve of Eve boxes?
Glitter on grass = micro plastics in the rivers and oceans.
Do you put all the stuff in an actual box?
You don't have too, but you can buy the boxes some can be personalized with family names or one each
We go to the Christingle or Crib Service on christmas eve, we don't do a box.
We do have a
very tame elf though and she brings a box on December 1st with Christmas pyjamas, hot chocolate and a Christmas film for everyone.
I don't do a box it's abit much seeing all there getting the next day but everyone gets new pjs to open Xmas eve not even sure why but my parents did so I've carried it on
I’ve done it since my eldest daughter was 1 so for 7 years . They get a new Christmas book , dvd to share , reindeer food (reused ) , and new Christmas pyjamas . Might add some hot chocolate this year as they both love it . I don’t have a box , just re use some Christmas bags .
I don't understand why some people are quite so snobby about it. I've never done it because mine are too little but I will be as they get older. It doesn't have to cost much at all. I think there's something really lovely about the thought of a family together on Christmas Eve, cuddled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate watching a film or reading a story and eagerly awaiting Christmas. If it's not for you, fine, but why be so dismissive of what other people do?
*The competitive frugalness and sneering at anything other than a stocking filled with fruit and a book and a donation to oxfam is really fucking boring.
Do what you like at Christmas but don't look down on us who choose to make a bit of effort. Oh and effort doesn't equal cost before I get piled on for that.*
I so agree! And even if it does equal cost, so what? I do the box. Got a nice one in TKMaxx and decorated it. PJs, hot chocolate with marshmallows, one of those jars you make muffins from, Santa key, mince pie plate with matching mug, small gift.
It's a bit of fun.
If you don't like it, don't do it. FFS.
Mine don't get 'a pile of gifts' as they're teens so tend to get one or two more expensive presents - this year one will get a FitBit and the other a new phone.
I first heard of it on mumsnet. Ive since heard of one real life friend doing it. It's definitely not her family tradition (she Hindu). She married a scouser so maybe it's a regional thing from his family.
We're a Netflix family so no need for DVDs anymore.
If it's not for you, fine, but why be so dismissive of what other people do?
Famillies have traditions, which are all fine, but then some idiot comes along and labels the traditions - so no longer nice cosy PJs and a movie.
Suddenly there is a label, and FB posts and adverts and everything else pressuring parents into this 'new' tradition that they had never had or thought about and kids start talking about Xmas Eve boxes and now they feel they are missing out.
No consumerism here. It's one box between both dds, with new pyjamas (not xmas ones), a book (same one every year - the night before christmas), DVD (also same every year), a bath bomb and hot chocolate.
So the only things we buy are the bath bomb, the chocolate and pyjamas (which they'd need anyway).
I'm really against mindless buying in general but it's possible for this to just be fun xmas eve tradition without lots of crap.
I heard about it on mn and thought it was a nice idea, it works especially well in our house because we have a fusion xmas. Dh isused to opening presents on the 24th in the evening after dinner. So it makes it a bit more like his xmas. Pjs are something they need anyway, and they cost very little in lidl. Theres a game or an activity thats for us all to do together on xmas eve. Ds has autism so its not every day that he will participate in that, but the magic of xmas really helps. And its not often that we get to feel like a "normal" family so yes actually it has become very important to me.
I've done it a few times - pjs, a Christmas book, a Christmas dvd, and a snack. But I'm not going to do it this year! I'm on a pretty tight budget and Christmas pjs just seem a bit wasteful to me, as the kids have grown out of them by the following year.
We have always had a Christmas Eve sack left by Santa's elves. It contains pj's for anyone staying at ours on Christmas Eve (minimum five pairs, maximum 9 so far!), hot chocolate, marshmallows and a box of Christmas cookies.
Things like festive bedding, mugs etc come out with the decorations year after year.
I only heard of it for the first time about two years ago when friends shared Facebook photos. Never done it. Children don't know what they are missing and money is already tight. We go to church for christingle service instead.
Never done Elf on the Shelf either. Just extra work. We do a Christmas panto, visit to Father Christmas and presents on Christmas day. Quite enough to organise and pay out for.
If the key is for Santa then why is it inside the house? Surely he no longer needs it then ?
I have a small wooden crate that I painted.
I put in it the new pyjamas, hot chocolate and a book for bed time. I would buy these anyway as my husband always works and I like to have something planned to keep the kids entertained.
I also add some craft activities to keep them busy in the hope they sleep at night.
This year it has cost me £4 in craft bits. The hot choc comes from the cupboard, and I’ll buy the pyjamas next.
I would always do something like this anyway, so it’s no extra hassle... it’s just in a box
We don't do it but my mum always buys my dds fleecy xmas pjs for Christmass so they open them on Xmas Eve and wear them. They wear them for the rest of the winter so not wasteful and we don't bother with any of the other stuff.
Don't do xmas eve boxes, but Santa always drops my kids a wrapped pair of pyjamas each and we get some festive buns or something to eat while we watch the channel 4 xmas eve film. Bear hunt was a disaster for DD 🤦🏼♀️
My mum's always let us open 1 gift before Xmas so mine stems from that. I don't go ott mine usually has pjs, bed socks, some chocolate or sweets, a dvd. Not doing the DVD this year as we don't have a player but I've got pjs and pop tarts and malteasers so far!
OMG you have to do them. Your children might die of lack of Christmas magic if you don't.
godowneasy its a key like this that parents give to their kids if they don't have a chimneey, so santa can visit
I’ve never done Christmas boxes but only really heard about them in the last few years. By then we had long had our own traditions for Christmas Eve which, apparently, are now set in stone (according to the DC if I ever suggest any tweaks)...
Doesn’t bother me what anybody else does though.. other than that hideous Elf on the Shelf. Creepy evil little fucker - I feel sorry for kids who get subjected to his stalking
I'm with @ShotsFired on this one. The kids are going to get a whole load of stuff the next day (half of which will be forgotten about by dinner time) so why on earth MORE presents the night before? Who's going to see the kids in their 'new pyjamas'? I can't believe one poster saying it's 'so they look half decent for the photos'
It's really just something (else) to boast about on social media, like that stupid elf on the shelf.
We've done it for years. Christmas PJs, a book, a movie on DVD, mug, hot chocolate, fluffy slippers and magic reindeer food to put out. The kids are a little older now but they still love it!
Btw - surely if you all get Christmas PJs every year, you end up with a huge stockpile of them?
You can buy personalised Christmas Eve boxes for your dog on Not on the High street.
Anyone who does this has way too much money and time on their hands ime
No, for us Christmas is the day for gifts. Christmas Eve is about preparing for the big day, village promenade crib service and communal supper with friends and family. Then stockings, NORAD, reindeer food.
New PJs go in the stocking.
Ours contain new Xmas dvd, book each, chocolate Xmas treat, new craft set and new pj’s. We have a treasure hunt on Xmas eve morning and then the contents are watched, read and made throughout the day whilst I prep Xmas dinner.
We don’t do the box, but we do the elf. And the elf leaves pjs or blankets with hot chocolate before he disappears on Christmas Eve.
We only do the elf for ten days before Xmas- would never be able to think of 24 ideas. Two of my dc are non believers, one believes, but they all love the damn elf!
We do just new pyjamas in ours and hot chocolate sachets. All very basic . I don’t to Christmas pyjamas ones that can be worn all year . Been doing this for 10 years now .
Mine have always had new PJs on Christmas Eve from the time when we couldn't afford to buy them more than once a year. And a book so they could read in bed and hopefully stay there works for us.
But when I was growing up we had swiss friends so celebrated and exchanged gifts with them on Christmas Eve.
We drink hot chocolate around the advent candle and tell stories each night in Advent. I get that some people don't consider hot chocolate to be a treat but when you are living on a shoe string actually it is, with a few marshmallows and added squirty cream the nearer you get to Christmas my kids think their in heaven and look forward to it every year.
I'm 32 and my DM always did this for me, it just wasn't in a box.
On Xmas Eve, I would get out off the bath/shower to a wrapped Xmas gift on my bed (always pyjamas) some years I got slippers or a dressing gown too.
Then we'd get cosy on the sofa to watch a Xmas film with a hot chocolate and a bag of chocolate coins (to dip into the hot choc)
Then we'd read "the night before Christmas" and put out a mince pie, glass of baileys and a carrot before bed
Different houses do different things 🤷🏻♀️
Not something we do but we do plenty of christmas things and new pyjamas, just not in a box or as an event.
Did a small box last year that the kids loved. Put some flour & choc chips in a bag, labelled pancake mix. A voucher to play a board game of their choice. Treasure hunt sounds like a great idea, I might borrow that!
I’m 30 and we always get new PJs for Christmas Eve. I still get it from my mum and I’ve started to do it for my DDs - it’s a nice family thing for us to do.
My mum told me she did it so we didn’t have old worn out clothes in our pictures of Christmas morning, my parents were young when they had me so didn’t have much to give us during the year.
Im in my 40s, never had one so didn't know what they were until my DC were teens and past that. Wouldn't have done one anyway, enough to do with getting presents wrapped and hidden etc etc. I don't get the new PJs thing, it's like everything has to be perfect like in a film just because it's Christmas!
Slightly off the point but i love getting new pjs. It's always a treat for me. Getting into bed with fresh new pjs and freshly washed sheets. I guess when you don't have much money you find these little pleasures where you can?
Look how many people have fond memories of their own parents doing this for them. How lovely is that? What's wrong with recreating that for your own children?
I get/give some Christmasy things before the actual day. I like to read Christmas themed chick lit books so I get a bunch to read all through December. If I got these Xmas day by the time Boxing Day has passed it would feel odd to read a Xmas story. I also like to make Tree Decorations so I give those in advance so people can put them on their tree. I sometimes buy Xmas themed Lego /Playmobil /Sylvanian sets which are part of my 'Christmas display'. I sometimes get my daughter crafty Xmas stuff that is again stuff that needs to be made in advance like cards. So I don't do Christmas Eve Box but quite a bit of my Christmas budget is spent and used in December.
Never heard of it. I’m going to start doing it this year though. Everyone needs pjs. I’m going to get my dd a new cup and a little pack of chocolate. Nothing crazy I think it’s lovely. I might even do it for my df as well. Just a bit of fun!
I heard about them a few years ago so they're not new and I know lots of people who do them. Although it does tend to be those friends who started it with their pfb and now have to continue.
All we do is the elves pay a visit whilst kids have dinner and leave new pjs under the tree and these are the only ones they get all year so by the next Xmas they're ankle flappers
Sometimes we watch a movie, but not every year as it's usually a whirlwind of getting the kids bathed and time runs away from us.
We don't bother with hot chocolate as only 2 people in the 5 of us like it. We will munch on some nice biscuits though, or some other home baked treat.
We tend to try to get the kids to bed as early as we can get away with so we can get organised and then enjoy an Xmas eve just the two of us as usually up until this point my husband has been working insane hours.
I'd never heard of them until I joined mn a few years back, then I started to see them over fb a lot (or was more aware of them so noticed them).
I don't really begrudge the contents but I don't understand why you need a specific box to present it all in . I've seen people on a fb bargain group getting all excited that Asda were selling Christmas Eve boxes for £2.50 - that's not a bargain, it's a piece of printed cardboard that you don't actually need(!). They could have just wrapped an empty shoe box up with wrapping paper
We've been doing them for about 5 years. A movie, popcorn, hot chocolate and a small toy each. We watch the movie together Christmas Eve before bed.
I hadn't heard of them until recently, but I think it all sounds rather nice. A few presents that emphasise ritual and family-time on Christmas Eve - what's not to like?!
I also like the Elf on a Shelf idea though so there may just be something wrong with me...
Nope. Not starting that little tradition.
As a child we always had new clothes to wear on christmas day to visit family ditto easter. I used to buy new pyjamas and wrap them up under the tree with a poundland type present to open on Christmas Eve, we did have one of those early personalised books, with the name typed in to read.
My Mother did put our slippers outside the door on New Years Eve, in the morning we would find a little gift in it? I have no idea where that tradition came from.
Its griwn since they were little
But to start it was pjs and a book
Now ive added
Christmas themed pants and socks for the next day
Giant chocolate coin
Christmas themed shower gel
Christmas themed giant cookie or gingerbread
Their advent calendar for the 24th is a mini treasure hunt and they get ones of those little £1 chocolate selection boxes
I would do the dvd and hot chocolate stuff if they liked hot chocolate...
Get a dvd for boxing day
We do the Elf Letters throughout December though from the International Elf Service (tested another equivalent service last year and they were SHIT!) www.internationalelfservice.co.uk
That fits in with the nice build up to Christmas. Our Xmas Eve is all about going to bed early to let Santa do his work!
Every year when I was a child (up until the age of either 16 or 18) I got new PJs or nightie on Xmas eve. I loved it so continued this tradition for my daughter (now 3.5) - new PJs, small bag of chocolate, DVD or book, and a small cuddly toy, all in a small Xmas eve box. The cost of these items I include in the overall budget I have to spend on my daughter’s Xmas presents (£70) so it’s not an “added expense”
I don’t have a FB profile, Instagram or any other social media so I’m not doing it to show off to others. I’m doing it because it brings us joy as a family.
If people like doing it, leave them be. It doesn’t affect those who choose not to do it. Same situation in that I don’t do the “elf on a shelf” (I don’t like it) but wouldn’t rubbish other people who do it.
Nope. No presents until Christmas day in our house.
I did it for the first time last year. We always host Christmas at ours and Christmas Eve is a busy time when everyone arrives and when there is a lot of prep etc to do. The kids are always rattling round the house with bugger all to do and end up bouncing off the walls. There never seems to be anywhere to go / do.
They each got a box from Poundland with a new book and a mug with hot choc powder. Cost very little and fab for getting them to settle down.
Will be doing again.
We always did it as kids so 25 years ago. Definitely mid 90s onwards so not a mn thing. We didn't call it a "Christmas Eve box" but we were all given giftbags with new PJs, bath pearls from the Body Shop and a chocolate lolly or pink pig from Thorntons. The same gift bags were reused for years.
"1st Dec box" wasn't a specific thing but we did have a box full of Christmas books and videos and my parents would add to it each year. We were always excited to re-open the box and then see what new items were going to be added to it.
I do both with my DC but we don't do EOTS, fancy decorations, bedding etc. Just a couple of Christmas books at the start of the month then pjs and bath bomb on Christmas Eve (so they're clean for Santa).
Do people really slob around in pyjamas all Christmas Day?
New pj's (not necessarily Christmas ones) hot chocolate, popcorn or snacks - we open it then change into pjs and watch a film together
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