This is something I started doing a few years ago, and every time I mention it people ask how to do it, so I thought I'd put a little guide together. I absolutely didn't come up with the idea, it has been floating round for years and I know loads of people who do it. I'm really excited this year because the twins are old enough to get their own box each. My kids are 11 and 2, so I'll do a little guide for younger children, older children and teenagers/adults.
The first thing you'll need is a sturdy cardboard box. I got mine in Dunnes last year, they have some again this year and I've seen one in Heatons too. You could also cover a shoe box with wrapping paper. You'll only have to buy the box once, use it to store Christmas decorations and it's safe for the next year.
If you only have one child, you can choose a Christmas-themed DVD to watch (The Polar Express, The Santa Clause, The Grinch and Elf are favourites here), and add that to the box. If you have more than one child, don't put a DVD in anyone's box - choose one yourself and put a little ticket into each box. I've made this one that you can right-click, save, and print out onto card. Fill in the child's name in the space provided and add some glitter or ribbon if you're so inclined!
The next thing into the box is a new pair of Christmas Pyjamas. Here are some I've found for Younger Children, Older Children, and Adults.
Fluffy SocksFluffy Socks are the next thing to go in - you can buy a two/three pack and split them up, or you can buy slipper socks seperately. Dealz do thermal camping socks for €1.49.
Hot Chocolate and a Christmas Mug
Picking a Christmas Mug for everyone is one of my favourite parts of the box! Little children might fare better with a sippy cup or a novelty tumbler. Buy a pack of mini marshmallows and put some into a sandwich bag or bit of clingfilm, and add in an individual stick of hot chocolate. Avoid the marshmallows for very young children.
A few chocolate coins, a small chocolate bar and some microwave popcorn (again, avoid for young children due to choking risk) to have while watching the movie. Younger children could have a box of raisins. Pop in some retro popcorn boxes to make it special! You can get chocolate coins at the till in Lidl and Aldi. Candy canes are a great addition too (Can anyone else not say 'candy canes' without thinking of Roadkill?).
A book is a necessity for me in the Christmas Eve box - you don't have to go out and buy a new book just for this, we use the same copy of The Night Before Christmas every year. I bought a special laser-cut edition last year but the twins are still too young for it, so I'll get some board books in Dealz. For older children, a Christmas Annual would be nice. Dealz, Super Valu, Argos, Tesco and Heatons all do cheap Christmas-themed books. Tesco have festive fiction paperbacks. For teens or adults who like e-readers, you could treat them to a Kindle book and include a little voucher, I've made this one that you can print out on card:
It's all part of the fun, isn't it? I love to include some kind of novelty item. Everyone gets a Santa Hat, then for younger children I'd get a little soft toy or bib. For older children, some novelty elf ears, or some Christmas stationery. For teenagers, a snow globe, false nail set or ornament kit. For adults, a pretty ornament or some mistletoe.
I love the Christmas Eve box - new pyjamas, new socks, some snacks and hot chocolate, a movie and a book - what more could you want! I'm going to confess that I don't actually really like Christmas Day - I love the build-up, so I think this is a great way to keep the Christmas Spirit alive as long as I can.
Will you be doing a Christmas Eve box this year?