As with the big day itself, Christmas eve can be as adventurous or as mundane as you care to make it.
While for some strata residents a night out with friends, a skype call with loved ones living overseas or a church visit is as good as it gets. But for others, there is no better way to spend the evening before Christmas than allowing it to come early.
Which goes some of the way to explaining why Christmas Eve boxes are such a phenomenon.
Typically given to young children as a way to break up the anticipation of the big day, a Christmas Eve box usually contains a number of small gifts or activities.
They can be as simple as an old banana box or a repurposed crate, or as elaborate as a bespoke or engraved wooden chest, but the real beauty of the Christmas Eve Box is that work equally as well as a distraction to break up the anticipation of the big day, or to help the adults in your life well and truly embrace the festive season.
But before worrying that you’ll be expected to splurge on more expensive presents at an already expensive time of year, it’s worth remembering that Christmas Eve boxes aren’t about fancy gifts but rather about gifting trinkets that will excite your loved one ahead of Christmas Day.
All that is really required is a healthy dose of imagination.
Gift ideas for children
Christmas Eve boxes work best when you actually put things in them that you would have purchased anyway – such as a Christmas stocking which your child can then hang themselves.
A nice pair of festive-themed summer pyjamas always go down well with youngsters ahead of the big day. Not only do the kids get excited by waking up in new clothes but they also look great in any photos you may have planned as your nearest and dearest open their presents on Christmas day.
You could also consider creating a nice list certificate. Use the opportunity to put your creative skills to use while also creating your children on being “good” this year.
Gifting each child their own ornament is a lovely way to create a new family tradition – not only will they enjoy placing it on the family Christmas tree but they may wish to keep it each year until it is time to place on their own tree.
Other gifts may include a Christmas story book, a DVD of your favourite Yuletide family movie or an assortment of carrots, hay, glitter, oats or dog treats which you can then pass off as reindeer food for your child to put out for Rudolph and his pals.
Gift ideas for teens
The time when your children are little is fleeting but fortunately even as they age, most children never grow out of the anticipation that comes with Christmas celebrations.
While they may no longer appreciate a nice list certificate, even the most negative of teens will concede that a music-streaming top up card or an iTunes voucher will never go amiss.
Incorporating a deck of cards or Rubik’s Cube into their Christmas Eve box is another great way to encourage some teen-parent family bonding ahead of the festive season. While there are numerous ways in which they can be challenged, it is also a good avenue for you to impress them by teaching them some new tricks.
While it’s not overly original, gifting them money to put towards something they have their eye on or purchasing them a movie voucher to use at a later date is another easy fix when it comes to filling your teen’s Christmas Eve box.
Ideas for significant others
Christmas Eve boxes are not just for kids – adults too appreciate the gesture.
Depending on the personality of the receiver, you could create a food-themed or craft-themed box containing an array of items you have made yourself.
If you’re not feeling inspired you can always search online for ugly festive jumpers or Yuletide-themed aprons or other attire to inject some fun into the mix, or include miniature alcoholic spirit bottles to really get the party started.