Christmas Eve Box Ideas to Suit Everyone!

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The Christmas Eve box tradition has firmly settled in our home. I’ve been creating Christmas Eve boxes for my child Alex for 16 years now.  As he’s grown up, I’ve found a few simple, affordable DIY ideas that bring delight and excitement the night before Christmas.  I am a busy mum on a budget, so this article is about creating Christmas Eve boxes that are easy, with low prep time (Christmas is busy enough without having to plan a pre-Christmas spectacular) and making affordable memories for families.

  • Find affordable Christmas Eve box ideas that don’t feel cheap.
  • Make extra special Christmas Eve boxes even if you’re time poor.
  • Create sustainable and budget friendly memories.
  • Note that as an educator, I’m all about lifelong learning so this article is about creating Christmas Eve traditions that form connections to family, values and identity.

What to put in a Christmas Eve box (and what to avoid)

I will admit, I have a secret agenda when I’m creating the package for my son.  Although older now, he still gets very excited about Christmas morning, so I am mindful that he needs to get to sleep!  I avoid caffeinated items (yes, even chocolate) and limit sugary treats.  I know, bah humbug. If you are including chocolates and sugary treats, start your Christmas Eve unboxing early so there’s time for you child to settle and get to sleep.  Nobody wants a grumpy kid on Christmas!  The traditional inclusions in your Christmas Eve box are:

  • A hot (or cold) drink. Remember, avoid the caffeine if you want your kids to sleep. Luckily, my son and I love a chai latte. Christmas in Australia means a hot drink may not be the best way to go!
  • Treats. A small pack of their favourite sweets and a bag of their favourite chips is a good way to keep sugar highs to a minimum. The easy, cheap way to do this is focus on their favourites rather than going for excess.
  • New pyjamas. This is the non-negotiable addition to any Christmas Eve box.,• A gift that makes the evening. When my son was little, this would be a Christmas DVD, but these days, I usually include a board game we can play together.
  • A Christmas book for little kids. Something to read them off to sleep on the night before Christmas. For my teen, it’s usually the latest book in the series he’s reading, so he can read himself off to sleep.
  • Santa and reindeer treats. Even though my son is well past believing age, we still leave out a plate for Santa and his reindeer. You can get creative here with little hand made packages of reindeer food, or you can put a carrot in the box. We’re at “carrot age” these days – easy, cheap and there’s already a sad one in the bottom of the fridge!

The special items to put in your child’s Christmas Eve box

  • A wonderful memory from the year passed. Whether you create a photo book of the child’s year past or simply frame a photo of your happiest day together, this doesn’t just start a conversation about happy memories but gives them a tangible keepsake of each Christmas.
  • Something all about them. This is something deeply personal. Something they will treasure. It’s not an expensive Christmas gift. It might be a book about their deepest passion. It might be a promise of trip to the beach you visited together last summer. Something that shows them that you know them so well. For older kids, this may be something that represents freedom or acknowledges they’re growing up.
  • A small gift that reflects your family’s values. For us, this is sustainability, resilience and acceptance. These are the values I’ve worked to instil in my child since birth. Last year our Christmas Eve box included a DIY herb garden that we could grow together, and we cooked together with the herbs. There is no greater joy than seeing a teenage boy in an apron! For religious families, this could be a rosary or hymnal. I believe there’s no gift greater than giving a child the values they’ll use as men or women.
  • A gift that celebrates lifelong family. While I may be a single mum, my son’s family includes a dad that’s not going to be with us on Christmas Eve. Connection is proven to be vital to a child’s self-esteem, acceptance and thinking skills.  So, our Christmas Eve box always includes something from my family, and something from his dad’s family – usually a letter from both sets of grandparents that tells the family story for the year.  He keeps these in the box that was his first ever Christmas Eve box (hand decorated by me when I still had time to create craft). Siblings and cousins are your child’s lifelong family.  One day you’ll be gone, and they haven’t yet met their own families – it’s only siblings and cousins that stay with them for the whole journey.

The unboxing is about the time you spend together

There’s plenty of info out there on Christmas Eve boxes that are all about the big effort.  How to decorate the crate or box you’re putting the stuff in.  Recipes for hand designed sugar cookies.  There’s so much on Christmas Eve boxes, including plenty of info on buying them pre-prepared. While all that preparation makes for magical moments, and I salute the mums who can invest hours, days or even weeks in making every detail beautiful, I’m an overworked working mum!  So my goal is create something easy and affordable.  I’m after a Christmas Eve box that is deeply meaningful …. without folding paper to look like tiny trees.

  • The time matters. For us, the Christmas Eve unboxing is more about the time we spend together that night.  We’re both busy so we take an evening to celebrate just us before the big family events on Christmas Day.  We start our evening with a visit to the local Christmas Lights displays.
  • The special treats. We always visit my son’s favourite place to eat out and get some dinner to take home.  It’s not fancy.  It’s just his favourite food and a bit of a treat for us as we’re not big subscribers to takeaway food.
  • The unboxing happens over dinner.  We always sit in the living room and I always insist on listening to Christmas Carols while we do it (eye roll from the teenager).  It’s a subtle thing but this is the tradition.  Good food, THAT music and a conversation about the year passed while he unpacks his Christmas Eve box.  Some of the most important conversations I’ve ever had with my son have happened in these precious moments and I thoroughly recommend this part of the tradition.
  • We watch a cheesy Christmas movie (we’ve watched Christmas Vacation more times than I’d like to admit at this point) and share a chai latte and a bag of crisps.  We put out the plate for Santa (and later I dutifully bite the carrot in half and drink half a glass of lukewarm milk – the things we do for kids) and we’re both in bed by 10pm ready for a massive family Christmas Day.

My big tip

Don’t forget to take photographs. Every year I get caught up in the moments and forget to take any until they’re mostly empty chip bags and half-drunk lattes with Chevy Chase losing his mind in the background.  Keep your phone handy!

What is a Christmas Eve box?

As mentioned above, there is a growing tradition of parents giving their kids a box (of any description) filled with some small gifts, to help get the children into the spirit of Xmas.  The box is usually given to the children early evening on Christmas Eve. Perhaps just before you go Christmas lights looking in your local neighbourhood.

Some families I know use the Christmas Eve box tradition as a way to get the kids to go to bed without a fuss on Christmas Eve as generally the box will contain brand new Christmas pyjamas and a Christmas themed story book.  Some families just love the Christmas Eve gift box tradition as an opportunity of sharing a little bit more of the Xmas spirit just before the big day.

So, if you’re not already onboard with Christmas child boxes and looking for new ways of how to make Christmas Eve special – then why not consider starting this new tradition.  Its super easy to do – you can actually buy them pre-made – but in this guide we’re going to show you how to make your own Christmas Eve Box.

What to put in a Christmas Eve box for kids?

Before we get into what to put in a Christmas Eve box for kids – first you need a box.  But it doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can literally be any sort of box you like.  If it’s a plain cardboard box, I’d recommend covering it with Christmas paper – or you can simply purchase a Christmas gift box.

If you don’t have any boxes lying around home I found these personalised Christmas Eve boxes online and I just LOVE them.

Now that you have your box – let’s move onto what goes in a Christmas Eve box. Really you can put pretty much anything you like in a Christmas Eve kids box, but here are some of the common things people often put in them.


One of the really popular Christmas gift box ideas is a pair of pyjamas.  Like I said above, this can help little excited people keen to put them on and jump into bed – well we can only hope!

Of course, here in Australia its Summer at Christmas so often the options for Christmas themed pyjamas are limited and so you get your money’s worth I’d recommend you purchase some pyjamas that the kids can wear outside of Christmas time. We have written a huge post about the best Christmas pyjamas available this year because we love, love LOVE the idea of Christmas pyjamas for families!


Games are great Christmas Box ideas as they provide something for the kids and the whole family to do together.  If you do decide to purchase a game or two – make sure it’s something every family member can enjoy – so consider the age of all the kids and try and find something Mum and Dad will like too. We have even written about specific Christmas games here.

Here are a few games to consider as Xmas Eve box ideas (click on the links if you want to buy now and get delivered before Christmas):

  • Monopoly: Everyone loves monopoly – chances are you already have it – but if you don’t consider getting this Australia edition for your Christmas Eve gift box.
  • Twister: The family will have lots of laughs with this one – and kids of all ages can get involved too.
  • Uno: Such a classic game that the whole family will love – younger kids might need some help but school aged kids will know what to do.
  • Connect 4: If you have younger children this is a good one to consider.
  • Jenga: A great game that most children can play and doesn’t require any serious thinking.
  • Scattergories: This is a great game if your kids are teenagers – it will get everyone thinking so is one to consider if you’re putting together a Christmas Eve box for teenager
  • Trouble: This is a great one again for the little ones – but even older kids won’t mind playing this one with younger siblings so consider it as one of your Xmas Eve box ideas.
  • Yahtzee: A great game for families with older kids – even some younger kids can play this with a bit of help.
  • Scrabble: An oldie but a goodie – while this is best played with older children, younger kids who can spell can still get involved.
  • Cluedo: You probably haven’t played this since you were a kid – so now is the chance to introduce it to your kids and pop it in as one of the Xmas Eve box fillers.


After everyone’s had enough of board games – of course a popular thing to do on Christmas Eve, is sit down and watch a Christmas Movie.  While there is bound to be something you can stream or on free to air TV – if you don’t want to leave it to chance add a Christmas Movie DVD to your kids Christmas Eve box. 

Here are some favourites to consider for your DIY Christmas Eve box (click on the links if you want to buy now and get delivered before Christmas):


Of course, one of the hardest things to do on Christmas Eve is to get the little ones to sleep – so what better way to entice them into bed then with a new Christmas book.  A Christmas book or two make for perfect ideas for Christmas Eve box for little ones.  Even older children would appreciate a new age appropriate book and it’s also a great idea if you’re putting together a baby Christmas Eve box too.

There are so many great Christmas books out there for kids – both classics and new ones.  Here is a few suggestions you may like to consider for your boys or girls Christmas Eve box (click on the links if you want to buy now and get delivered before Christmas):

Yummy Christmas Treats

For a Christmas Eve box kids will love – it has got to have a few Christmas treats.  I mean isn’t that one of the best things about Christmas – eating all the delicious Christmas treats!

Go down to the local supermarket and find a few Christmas treats to pop into the Christmas Eve gift box for kids your making.  If you’re looking for family Christmas Eve box ideas, one of my suggestions would be a Christmas gingerbread house that you can all put together and then enjoy dismantling it as you eat it all up.

Children’s Christmas Eve box ideas for all ages

Hopefully the above has given you heaps of suggestions of what to put in a Christmas Eve box – but if you need even more suggestions, in this section we provide some tips on what to put in a personalised Christmas box for every age.

Baby’s first Christmas Eve box

Let’s be honest here, a baby’s first Christmas Eve box is more for you then it is for baby, but if you are looking for nice Christmas Eve tradition ideas it’s a nice one to start.  Plus, if you have older kids you’re making a handmade Christmas Eve box for, you may feel obligated to do a baby Xmas Eve box too.

Here are some Christmas Eve box ideas for babies:

Christmas Eve box for toddlers

From the age of two or three, toddlers are starting to get the gist of Christmas and can really start to enjoy children’s Xmas Eve boxes.  Even more so if they have older siblings receiving a Christmas Eve present box.

Here’s our tips on what to put in a Christmas Eve box for toddlers:

School aged Christmas Eve kids box

Young school aged children are the perfect age for a Christmas Eve box of goodies. This is when the tradition really starts to come alive as these kids remember what happened last year and so will be super excited for their kids Christmas Eve pack.

When it comes to Christmas Eve box filler ideas – you can’t go wrong with school aged children with all of the already above-mentioned ideas, however here are our tips for Christmas Eve box fillers for school aged children:

  • Game – this will really depend on the age of all your children – for younger kids something like Trouble is a great idea – but if you have some older children go for something a little more involved like Monopoly.
  • Christmas Book – see above but something like Where’s Wally? Santa Spectacular would provide hours of fun for the kids.
  • Christmas Movie – see above but something like Elf is always a hit with the entire family.
  • A few Christmas treats to fill the box.

Christmas Eve Box for Teenager Children

Perhaps the hardest group of kids to please when it comes to making the best Christmas Eve boxes is teenagers.  Honestly, you could probably skip the box and go for something like a family Christmas Box (see below) if you only have teenage children.  However if you’re still making Christmas Eve packs for kids that are little and so want Christmas Eve box ideas for teenagers, here are our suggestions:

  • Book – Unlike younger kids I probably would skip the Christmas themed book and go with something you know they will like.
  • Pyjamas – Depending how old your teen is, you could get them some cute festive pjs, but otherwise choose something you know they will like.
  • Movie Tickets – All teens love going to the movies with their friends, plus we all know that some of the best movies come out on Boxing Day.
  • A few Christmas treats to fill the box.

Family Christmas Eve box ideas

If you’re not keen on doing individual Christmas Eve boxes or looking for cheap Christmas Eve box ideas, then a personalised family Christmas Eve box is the perfect idea.    Here are our tips for Christmas Eve box items the entire family will love:

  • Pyjamas – new pjs for everyone – if you’re super keen you can be one of those families that all get matching pyjamas.
  • If pyjamas aren’t your thing, check out these Christmas shirts! Soooo cute!
  • Christmas Movie – Choose something everyone will love – see above for some suggestions.
  • Lots of Christmas treats to fill the box. A great idea for your family Xmas Eve box is a gingerbread house you can all put together.
  • Game – This will depend on how old your kids are but be sure to choose something everyone will enjoy. See above for some suggestions.
  • Christmas Ornament – I’m sure you’ve all seen the pop up stores around at Christmas time that make those special Christmas ornaments – why not make it a tradition to get one each year and place it on the Christmas tree together on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Hamper for adults

Who said the kids should have all the fun!!  Certainly not us!  If you have kids and also want to make a Christmas Eve hamper for adults to enjoy then we say go for it.  I’m you can think of plenty of things to put in your Christmas Eve box for parents, but if you do need a few suggestions, here’s our tips:

Wine, wine and more wine!

Lots of yummy Christmas treats – the kids have theirs and these ones are just for the adults.

Movie tickets – if you have teens, while they see their movie you go and see one you guys like, or if you have younger kids save this for a date night when you can get a babysitter.

Pyjamas – Get matching ones with the kids or ditch that idea and get something you love for year round wear.

Book – like our suggestion for the teens, skip the Christmas themed book and get something that you each will enjoy reading.

Read more about Christmas hampers right here.

Even more tips on how to make a personlised Christmas Eve box

If after reading all our above tips on how to make a Christmas box for your kids, you need even more suggestions – then here are some exact Christmas Eve children’s gift box options that I have personally made over the years. I’ve even broken them down by cost to show how cheap Christmas Eve boxes can be and exactly where I bought each item.

Kids Christmas Eve box – under $15

I did this homemade Christmas Eve box in 2014 for Master (then) 7.

  • Christmas Pyjamas – Best & Less – $7.50
  • Glow sticks & mask – Crazy Clark’s – $1.49
  • Bubbles – Crazy Clark’s – 50 cents (pack of 4 for $2)
  • Bouncy water/glow ball – Crazy Clark’s – $1.99
  • Fruit pouch – Woolworths – $2.

Total = $13.48

Christmas Eve gift box – under $17

I made this kids Xmas Eve box for Master 6 in 2015.

  • Christmas Pyjamas – Best & Less – $10.50
  • DIY Santa craft – Bargain Warehouse – $1.50
  • Seeds – Bunnings – $1.50
  • Lip Balm – Aldi – $1.33 (pack of 3 for $4)
  • Glow Bracelet – Bargain Warehouse – $1 (pack of 4 for $3.99)
  • 2 Sparklers – Bargain Warehouse – 19 cents (pack of 16 for $1.50)
  • Santa chocolates – Reject Shop – 60 cents for 3 (pack of 12 for $2.50)

Total = $16.62

Handmade Christmas Eve box – under $18

I made this children’s Christmas Eve Box for Miss 4 in 2015.

  • Christmas Pyjamas – Best & Less – $5.60
  • Golden Book – Aldi – $1.99
  • Seeds – Bunnings – $1.50
  • Glow Bracelet – Bargain Warehouse – $1 (pack of 4 for $3.99)
  • 2 Sparklers – Bargain Warehouse – 19 cents (pack of 16 for $1.50)
  • Water paint craft – Bargain Warehouse – $3.50
  • Hair scrunchie – Bargain Warehouse – $1.50
  • 2 Sparklers – Bargain Warehouse – 19 cents (pack of 16 for $1.50)
  • Ariel Face washer – Best & Less – $2.45

Total = $17.92

Christmas Eve gift box for kids – under $18

I made this Christmas Eve surprise box for Master 8 in 2015.

  • Christmas Pyjamas – Best & Less – $8.40
  • Santa Mosiac craft – Bargain Warehouse – $2
  • Finger Puppet Craft – Bargain Warehouse – $2.50
  • Jake & the Neverland Pirates Washer – Best & Less – $2.45
  • Seeds – Bunnings – $1.50
  • Santa chocolates – Reject Shop – 60 cents for 3 (pack of 12 for $2.50)
  • Christmas Balloon – Bargain Warehouse – 13 cents (pack of 15 for $2)
  • 2 Sparklers – Bargain Warehouse – 19 cents (pack of 16 for $1.50)

Total = $17.77

Christmas Eve parents gift box – $30

Who says that the kids have to have all the fun? We’ve put together a Mummy Christmas Eve box (or a daddy one) that will not only be a joy to open, it will be a joy to ah… en… joy! A bit pricier… but … you’re worth it! With a combination of wine, chocolate, coffee, lip balm (for all the kissing you need to do under the mistletoe) and a colouring book, it is the perfect prelude to the Christmas festivities.

  • Bottle of Chardonnay – Cellarmaster – $10 (ish) bought in crate of 16 (don’t worry, it’s Christmas, you’ll enjoy them!)
  • Wine Charms – Reject Shop – $3
  • Travel Coffee Mug – Target – $6
  • Chocolates – Aldi – $2
  • Mindfulness Colouring-in Book – Big W – $9

Total = $30

RELATED: If you are looking for Christmas Eve box ideas for her, then we have an article dedicated to that as well as one with Christmas Eve Box ideas for him.

Christmas Eve boxes

Add your suggestions in comments below and we will update this post with all your suggestions!

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Janine Mergler

Janine has a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from the Queensland University of Technology and works as an editor of the popular Families Magazine. Janine owns the Christmas in Australia website because she is a huge fan of Christmas and everything about the festive season and she wants to share it all with you! Travelling the country to find all the best Christmas experiences in Australia, she can be found celebrating Christmas in July and getting more and more excited as 25th December approaches! Join my Christmas in Australia Facebook group too!

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