Updated: Feb 18
The Christmas Eve box is this years favorite Christmas add on.
It has become so popular, and I personally think it is a lovely idea.
At first I was skeptical, I thought 'oh great another way to squeeze more money out of us parents and load the kids up with may more Crap than they need'... However, It really doesn't need to be that expensive or filled it with Garbage, In fact, it can be relatively beneficial and incorporate really nicely into your plans for the day , you can make it as simple, or interactive as you want to.
I am completely sold on the idea. I was doing some research for idea's for our box I just found some real gem's that I had to share .
The creations can be endless you can go luxury or cost free with many of the ideas and decide for yourself what will work best and what you have time or money for . That way you can purchase where you have no time or supplies will cost the same to buy , or make if you want to get crafty and have bits and bobs around to use .
In our house we have always given a Christmas eve present, nothing elaborate. I buy everyone new pyjamas, some big cosy socks, a new Christmas book, and sometimes a DVD depending on what our plans are for the night .
The pyjama's are usually from the local supermarket and I grab them when I do my weekly shop,
Asda usually have the best stuff for the lowest price I find,
We all really enjoy opening our Christmas Eve gift , Having a lovely bath , - not all at once- I usually cook dinner while the children bath and I have mine when they are sound
asleep so I can indulge in some merry tunes and bubbles in peace. that's my Christmas present to me . ( It's important to make sure I have done all my beautifying in case Santa stumbles in to the wrong room)
Then we stick on a DVD, eat loads of cheese and mulled stuff. or hot chocolates etc etc.
After doing some research I realised there are some really lovely unique gifts you could include, giving you inspiration for activities to do during the day as well .
I also found what you put in your box not only depends on who you are going to give it to, but what time of day you give it - this may sound strange but its valid -. We have always opened our Christmas eve present at the end of the day either before dinner or bed . But I may change that up this year.
The pretty personalised box strands out really nicely amongst the rest of the presents under the tree, Which in our house Isn't many, I am a firm believer in spending my money on gifts where I can force my children to spend time with me, rather than buying heaps more stuff that I have to tidy up and trip over throughout he rest of they year and they have such a wonderfully generous family that buy for them, that they are inundated with loads of noisy
, colourful trip hazards without ,me having to add, so my Gift tends to be something to do, rather than something they get. .
I noticed a lot of people were making there own style of Christmas and Christmas eve boxes. So naturally I thought I'd jump on the band wagon and make my own to sell.
I sent a picture to a friend and had an order before I finished making it. It was shipped off as soon as the paint was dry.
As I was researching I wondered, what if you don't have the money to go out and buy boxes for all the kids especially If you have a few in your brood. That could work out very costly.
So I decided to fashion one out of a shoe box, and it looks great.
The only difference is that it doesn't have the sustainability of the wooden ones , you can probably only use it once After it has been packed away in the Christmas cupboard or wherever your baubles hibernate throughout the rest of the non festive seasons it might get a little smooshed ( technical crafting term) they are really effective and you have the option to make as many as you like in whatever way you like in whatever size you like - you get the gist.
This year because we are going to a hotel on Christmas eve I decided my best bet would be one box for both children .So I used a large boot shoe box that I got for Christmas last year from mum. ( See mum even as a grown up i'm happy playing with the boxes the presents come in)
To start with I'll share what we can put in the box , at the end of the blog are the instructions on how to assemble your box in the way I did , which is relatively straight forward.
I noticed that the box fillings are endless and now find that I am overwhelmed by too many idea's as opposed to before, when I was worried I wouldn't find anything to put in my box,
You can be as frugal or extravagant or handmade as you like.
These are a must on Christmas eve.
It's the one day you should be in new pyjama's especially if like us you stay in them all day long , even the smell of them reminds me of Christmas.
I tend to not buy Christmas pyjama's, It's such a waste of money for children, you don't know if they will be the same size by the end of the week usually, let alone the following year, that's why I to stick to just ordinary style pyjama's they can use for the rest of the year, because lets face it the next day it isn't Christmas anymore, so they really have a very short shelf life . For Grown up's it is not quite as bad , Most people stay the same give or take a few lbs or so and you could put them away and bring them out the following year.
My daughter loves a nice big snuggle Onsie and although they are super cute and I just wanna buy all the cute ones for my son as well, I know he just would never wear them he is much better off with a really comfy shorts and T-shirt set. Think sensibly if you don't want to waste money .
2 Big socks or novelty slippers . I love a pair of big pair of big socks when its really cold . you can buy all sorts of different ones socks, slippers, slipper socks, sock slippers ( is that a thing ? )
Again I try to stay away from Christmas ones unless it's for an adult but novelty slippers are so much fun .
Imagine coming home from work in a bad mood, after a hard day, taking of your smart shoes and slipping our feet into a pair of These
These are bound to make anyone chuckle on the worst of days .
Better yet getting into an argument in your slippers and then trying to storm off ....
This is always a good one for Christmas eve because it can help get the evening in place. As a parent, when you have lots to do, sometimes its good to be armed with a movie for the evening,
It can be a really life saver when you have last minute un-wrapped presents and a turkey to thaw and stuff
sometimes its a really good idea to remind children of why we celebrate Christmas. Whether it is for the religious aspect, or you are not religious but simply to remind them that Christmas is not supposed to be about all the presents and food but to celebrate the people you love .
having said the there was a book I saw in WHSmiths last week. there was one left while I was looking at it a mum said she had bought it and it is apparently its quite a big
deal this year. they sold out really quickly .
However I have just checked ( literally just now! and ordered it for a click and collect) It's now half price. This one will be in our EVE box next week ! click the picture for the link
5 A new Christmas stocking, Most people have had their Christmas stocking for years and years, which unless it has some sentimental value could probably do with an upgrade . There are some really lovely and unusual ones around. Personalised stockings are a lovely idea that way if they are hanging them in one place like by the fire or under the tree - every one has there own tradition - they won't get mixed up and have to have that awkward conversation about the fact that the thing your daughter is ecstatic about is actually for your son, but you aren't supposed to know that, because you didn't put them there Santa did. We've all been there ! Not On The High Street and Etsy are great for original items such as this.
However if you don't want to shell out for a fancy personalised sticking with bells and whistles ( I'm pretty sure you can actually get these ) You can get them really cheap in all different sizes from your local pound shops . or you could make your own . Download a template online and they are actually pretty easy to make. I have loads of scraps of fabric lying around at home - literally - So I am trying to fashion a stocking for my daughter with a patch work effect. I'll let you know how it goes.
Hot chocolate - we always have a hot chocolate in front of the TV on Christmas eve at the end of the night . It just seems ... right !
Why not make a hot chocolate treat bag or Jar
Fill with the chocolate powder, some marshmallows and chocolate drops and decorate with some ribbon or pine . To be honest it's as simple to make as it would be to make the hot chocolate and they look really effective as a little Christmas gift .
use a plastic cone bag to make it look like a reindeer .
you'll need the cone bag
googly eyes ,
brown pipe cleaner
and the filling -
hot chocolate powder of your choice
chocolate chips or flakes
layer the ingredients in to the cone chocolate powder first fill it 2/4 of the way
The 1/4 layer of chocolate chips
and 1/4 layer of marshmallows
Tie the top tightly with the pipe cleaner then style into antlers and stick the eyes and pompom on for the reindeer face
For and adult or child less exited by reindeer, you can use a or fabric bag or glass jar layer the ingredients in the same way and tie at the top with some decorative ribbon, pine or holly so it looks super christmassy .
Add a mini wooden spoon which you could also personalise the handle for an extra touch.
If using a fabric bag it's a good idea to put the ingredients into a plastic food bag inside the fabric bag its more hygienic this way and less likely to leak
An alternative to the gift bag is the chocolate stir in .
these require melted chocolate
a wooden spoon
and mini marshmallows
You simply melt the chocolate either on a Bain Marie or in the microwave
and pour into a ice cube tray or cake molds while holding the spoon up right in the chocolate, sprinkle on some marshmallows, before the chocolate begins to set.
You can use other sweets her like broken up matchmakers, Fudge pieces or smashed up Malteasers to give a different flavour.
When it's dry remove the case and package in some clear cellophane with ribbon
when ready to use simply warm your milk in a mug and stir in your chocolate stick until disolved for an instant home made hot choc .
7 Following on from the chocolate gift bags , you can also take them a bit further and fill your gift bag with a cookie dough mix or cake mix or s'mores . Especially if you are giving your box a little earlier in the day you could use the gift as your desert after dinner and have fun making them up . it's the same concept . you add all the ingredients in and all you have to do is add the egg and butter then mix and you the a cake .
8 Christmas biscuits - Pop in a fancy tin of bickie's - people love a fancy tin at Christmas.
or Substitute biscuits for something like Florentine's or Macarons..or make some delicious homemade biscuits. there are some great christmassy recipes on line and they can be made a few days in advance.
If you don't have time for that you could always cheat and take them out of the packaging and wrap them in a festive gift wrapping . At least you've made an effort
You could treat them to a pack of their favorite tea bags. Every supermarket has a massive range of different weird and wonderful tea's and infusions .
If you cant think of one, just get one on offer or for me I go for something unusual, just to try it . Bird Blend have a fab range or the exotic tea ,
You can Make your own .
Mulled wine spices are always good too. You can use them for so much more than just wine.
we also use them in our mulled wine Eco fire lighters
10 Theme your box.
If you are spending the evening vegging out indoors you can fill it with popcorn and snacks for the evening . Microwave popcorn that you pop yourself are great fun Zara Mamma pop on the cob Gourmet popcorn is fab
Bubble bath, Nail kit and polish , Moisturiser , Hair mask , Candles bath bomb. There are also so really luxurious homemade recipes for pamper products using items you might find around your kitchen
Santa's stuff -
Prepare for St Nick to pass through in the night ,
Santa stop here sign - you can find a free template for a door hanger in our F.LCrafts Magazine . receive a Free copy When you sign up to the Forest Land Crafts website
a plate for Santa's snacks
Mince pies or biscuits to leave for him .
and a thank you card
Night out kit -
Games night Box
Sexy Santa box - If your planning a couples night in you could treat your partner to a suggestive sexy box full of passion. Lingerie or Saucy Santa outfit , Couples Game, Candles, Rose petals or Date coupons. or Massage oil. you might not want to keep it under the tree in case your little ones go snooping .....or the dog
11 Reindeer food to leave out for the Reindeer on Christmas eve . I have a fantastic colourful and biodegradable recipe for this in The F.L.Crafts Mag . Just head to the website and sign up for your free copy
Mini Christmas crackers you can pick them up in the works for £1 and click and collect for free . click on the picture to take you straight to the page
Or if you wanted something a little bit different . I spotted these in Marks and Spencer yesterday . they are a little pricey if you ask me at £20 for 6 but they are beautifully unique .
12 - Candy canes - because It's Christmas
13 Melted snowmen - This is a funny one, and really simple .
Buy a small bottle of water , remove the label and print a label that says Melted Snowmen and stick it in place of the original one. while you've got your printer on, you could also do
Elf poop - Chocolate chips wrap in cellophane and print a label
Colourful Elf poop , you could use M&M's
Unicorn poop- Marshmallows
Reindeer poop .. you get the point . you could have a whole box full of magical excrement
14 Homemade Sweets
15 Mini Christmas tree
14 An invitation for Dinner a night out, cinema tickets or even a night in.
If you are planning to spend the evening out on Christmas eve you could add hand made invitation to the box you can get loads of templates online or with just a few extra inserts on word to create a cool invitation yourself download a picture online like I have for my children's cinema invite .
Here's the one I knocked up for my children, it took 10 minus using word and google images just save them to your computer and up load them to the page, pop in a fancy boarder using page layouts and a few different fonts- Voila!
put it in a fancy envelope with a cinema ticket you can google these and find free template online you can print and cut out .
16 Hot water bottle - an essential for the cold winter months and don't forget Christmas is only the beginning of winter, you still have at least 3 months of cold . There are some lovely festive hot water bottles and covers we bought our animal ones from savers last year for around £3 James got a fox and Ella had a Penguin and they are still using them this year .
If you want to be a little more inventive there are some really great microwaveable teddies . You pop them in the microwave for around a minute or two ( check the instructions) then snuggle you with a lovely warm soft teddy to snuggle up with , you can them in gift sets with socks or pyjamas too .
If your giving your box early in the day you could include a ginger bread house kit to make that day . They are so much fun to do even if they are an absolute disaster it's just fun and lets face it . - Just eat all of the evidence
Christmas bedding - this will obviously depends on how large your box is going to be, if your planning on a shoe box you might want to stick to the smaller items . but if this is something you usually get anyway stuff it in a box that will fit and throw a treat on top really you haven't spend any Extra money you've just jazzed it up a bit this year.
Cristingle kit - These are lovely, they smell divine and gives you an opportunity to do some teaching about Christmas while you make it and will remind most of us of when we were children. I don't know about you but we don't really seem to hear about them or make anymore . As a child I always used to make them at school and bring them home but my children never have .
This is another gift idea you can deliver in a decorative bag nicely, with a bit of garden foliage and left over ribbon
You'll need an orange
Red tape or ribbon
and cocktail sticks
Sleep spray - for the kids a sleep spray to help them go to sleep is quite a cute idea.We use it to also ward of nightmares all year round .It ca be as simple as an old spritz bottle some lavender oil or fresh lavender from the garden and water . Maybe throw in a bit of Eco glitter because its Christmas and everything should come with glitter in it .
Love monster- check out our YouTube video on how to make these and they are also in the magazine
So here's how to make the Cost FREE Christmas eve box
Start by warping the base of your box in Christmas gift paper or fabric, remember it is supposed to be cost free so just use what you have lying around .
If you have scraps of paper after doing your wrapping, use then to create a patch work effect, or throw a couple of layers of craft paint on the box and leave it to dry.
Once the base of the box is all wrapped . Apply a generous amount of PVA glue inside to the bottom and sides
Line the box with tinsel , If you don't have tinsel, you can continue the wrapping paper through the inside of the box or use shredded paper or coloured tissue paper, this also helps as a buffer to keep the contents safe inside
Do the same with the lid but use a different coloured paper , I've gone for plain craft paper so the decorations stand out.
Tinsel the inside and leave to dry preferably overnight
Create a snazzy label, I'm all about word print- outs this year .
Decorate with whatever you might have . ( make a bow that looks better than mine - Don't judge it was 1 am ) rmeeber dont go out and buy soecial things use what you have you could use old jewlery, cut out christmas cards , parts of broken decorations or even make sc arp fabric flowers
Then fill with goodies
HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS