Make the perfect Christmas Eve box for toddlers. My best Christmas Eve box ideas for toddlers, including keepsakes, activities, and quiet time toys.
We’re coming up on our third Christmas with our daughter. And yet, in some ways it feels like our first Christmas with her.
On her first Christmas, she was only 5 months old. She really didn’t have any idea what was going on. And while it was magical for us, she didn’t get into the spirit.
For her second Christmas, we were lucky enough to spend it in Spain with her grandparents. While we still put up a (babyproof)Christmas tree, it was very special, but less Christmasy than normal. And of course we didn’t have a lot of special things with us, because: luggage allowances. (Although, we did stuff a lot of extra stuff into the stroller travel bag, so there’s that!). That meant a bare bones Christmas with few gifts and no extras, like Christmas stockings, baby Christmas books, Christmas crafts, or an Advent Calendar.
This year, we’re settled into a new house. We’re ready to create some family Christmas traditions that we’ll come back to year over year. Our kiddo knows who Santa is now! And I’m already getting excited thinking about how much more action-packed a toddler Christmas is going to be as compared to her first and second Christmases.
One of the Christmas traditions I’m planning is a Christmas Eve box. Since I’ve already started gathering the items, I figured I’d share it here.
If you’re looking for Christmas tradition ideas for kids, or are wondering specifically about Christmas Eve boxes, you’ve come to the right place! I’m happy to share my latest Christmas family tradition, and hope it inspires you, too!
What is a Christmas Eve Box?
Sometimes called a Night Before Christmas Box, a Christmas Eve box is filled with a few simple gifts your kids can enjoy on Christmas Eve.
The beauty of a Christmas Eve box is it can be as simple or as complicated as you want. It can also flex to whatever your budget allows, because – yeah – Christmas with kids is expensive!
It typically includes a few gifts you’d give to them anyway. I’m talking about things like Christmas PJs and a toddler Christmas book. They also include a few simple presents they can do by themselves and with you, together as a family.
This year I’m focused on building an awesome Christmas Eve box for a toddler because I have a toddler. But it works for kids of any age, and adults, too. Just reconsider the contents.
What Kind of Box Should You Use for a Christmas Eve Box?
I had grand plans to sand, paint and stencil custom lettering and decorations onto a wooden crate to make my daughter’s Christmas Eve box.
And then I went to my local craft store. They were having an early-in-the-season sale on Christmas home decor, and I found a perfect pre-decorated wooden Christmas Eve box. It’s tastefully decorated, and while it isn’t personalized as I’d hoped, we’ll be able to use it year-over-year. Plus it was actually cheaper than making it myself (not to mention faster).
You can also buy a personalized Christmas Eve box on Etsy – there are a ton to choose from, and they are freaking adorable. If you’re short on time or can’t find anything suitable where you are, this is a really cute option. It’s also something your kids will appreciate year over year, well into teenage hood.
That said, you don’t need your toddler’s Christmas Eve box to be fancy – a small cardboard box or largish shoe box would work, too!
What to Put in a Christmas Eve Box for Toddlers – Gift Suggestions
Growing up, my brother and I always got to open one small present on Christmas Eve, along with our Christmas pajamas and a new Christmas book. I loved choosing and opening that first Christmas gift, and would often spend hours playing with it before changing into my Christmas PJs, having a mug of hot cocoa, setting out the reindeer food, and heading off to bed.
A Christmas Eve box encapsulates childhood memories like these, as well as providing some other activities for your toddler to do during the day of the 24th.
Christmas is such a busy time of year, and parents are often pulled in every direction getting last minute things from the store and finishing off details to create a memorable and fun Christmas. I love the idea of adding some fun ideas for kids to stay busy during the last day before Christmas, as well as some fun activities the whole family can do on the 24th, and throughout the holidays, together.
So what kinds of gift ideas work for a toddler Christmas Eve box? Here are the types of items I plan to include in mine.
We’ve gotten Christmas pajamas for our daughter every Christmas, and this year will be no exception.
Christmas socks or slippers, a cozy bathrobe, or a stuffed animal are also great additions to a night before Christmas box.
Basically anything they can wear to get cozy for the day and throughout the holidays is a great choice!
A Christmas Book
Now that my daughter is old enough, I plan to do a Christmas book advent calendar this year. But, just because we’ll be reading Christmas books all month long, doesn’t mean I can’t include one in her night before Christmas box!
For my Christmas book advent calendar, I scoured FB marketplace and other used forums in my area to gather up a large majority of the books. Not many of us have the budget to buy 24 brand new, high quality toddler Christmas books, so used makes sense.
For Christmas Eve, however, I plan to splurge on a new book to put in her Christmas Eve box. I plan to get her Little Blue Truck Christmas since she loves the Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way books. And if I’m being honest, I’ll probably also get Dear Santa since she also loves Dear Zoo so much!
A personalized Christmas book would also be a cute addition!
A Baking Project You Can Make Together
Obviously, Christmas is a busy time of year. It’s also a sugar filled time of year, so I get it if you want to skip this addition to your Christmas Eve boxes.
However, toddlers love to make and bake! My 2-year-old gets excited whenever she gets to use her learning tower at the counter to turn on the blender for smoothies or stir the pancake mix on Sunday morning.
Packaging up a simple hot chocolate and marshmallows kit, a s’mores kit, or a sugar cookie decorating kit and then doing it together as a family are great Christmas Eve box ideas.
A few Christmas cookie cutter shapes, a personalized family cookie stamp, or a toddler baking set is another great idea!
And, if you choose to decorate cookies, the results could double as Santa and reindeer food later that evening!
A Christmas Mug, Toddler Dinnerware Set, etc.
Just as most adults get to enjoy using the good dinnerware at Christmas, your toddler might want to, too.
One nice and relatively cheap option is to get a hot cocoa mug for your kiddo, which they’ll get to use during special times over the course of the winter, and for years to come!
Another cute option is adding a personalized “cookies for Santa” plate to your toddler’s Christmas Eve box, which you’ll be able to use for many Christmases to come!
A Game You Can Play as a Family
A super simple board game you can play as a family is another good idea for a fun Christmas Eve box addition.
The key with board games and toddlers is to find something that’s ridiculously simple. My 2-year-old gets easily frustrated if she can’t do something. And when she gets frustrated , she often ends up throwing the pieces of whatever has caused the frustration.
This Christmas, she’ll be almost 30 months, which feels like it should be old enough for a super simple board game, if we all play it as a family. I plan on getting one of the Haba My Very First Games (either First Orchard or Little Garden, because my toddler loves gardening and reading about gardening). They’re designed with toddlers as young as 2 years old in mind, with large pieces and simple concepts.
For older toddlers, some suggestions include Richard Scarry’s Busytown game or Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Some Quiet Time Activities Your Toddler Can Do By Themselves
Here is where some of the magic of the Christmas Eve box comes into play. In addition to including things you can do together, as a family, include some activities that your toddler can do by themselves, so you can get some stuff done!
What you include really depends on what your toddler likes and what kind of quiet time activities they’re used to. Mine loves to play “stickers on the window” (she sticks the reusable Melissa and Doug stickers on our glass patio door), so I’ll probably include a new Melissa and Doug reusable sticker pad.
I’ve also had my eye on those toddler felt Christmas trees, for awhile. It’s more or less the same concept of “stickers on the window” in that you stick decorations onto a tree, but it’s
Other ideas include a no-mess coloring book, a quiet book, a floor puzzle, etc. If you have the time, you could also make a Christmas themed sensory bin for Christmas Eve quiet time.
A Keepsake Christmas Ornament
Growing up, my mom bought a new Christmas ornament for both me and my brother every single year. By the time we were adults and moved out, we both had a box full of Christmas decorations to get us started!
We’ve since adopted the same tradition for our daughter. Her first Christmas ornament is from the Christmas market near the house we first lived in when she was born, and her second is from our Christmas in Spain.
This year, I’ll probably get something a bit cheeky, and grab one of those 2020 mask-themed Christmas ornaments from Etsy. Because, yes: this will probably be a bit of a weird Christmas to remember!
A Letter from Santa
This is such an adorable idea, and is a perfect Christmas tradition to start with a toddler. There’s only so many Christmases I’ll get to spend with your kiddo when she believes in the magic of Santa Claus, so I figure I might as well go all out while I can.
You can buy adorable Letters from Santa on Etsy. They’re available as either physical letters (personalized and mailed to you), or as digital downloads (you print it yourself).
There are a ton to choose from, and they’re all super cute. One of these is definitely going in my toddler’s Christmas Eve box this year!
Final Thoughts About Making a Night Before Christmas Eve Box for Toddlers
A Christmas Eve box is a fun Christmas tradition, and toddlerhood is the perfect age range to start.
I hope this post inspired you to try out a Christmas Eve box for your toddler this year.
If you found my ideas helpful, please share this post!