For many, Christmas Eve used to be wrestling the kids into bed after getting them to leave a mince pie and a carrot out for Santa and Rudolph. Herculean task complete, the adult would eat the mince pie, pop the carrot back in the fridge and it was job done until the morning. However, the evening has since become almost as big a deal as the main event, with kids and grown-ups alike playing games, opening gifts and topping up on anticipation for the big day.
- Best Christmas gifts: inspirational present ideas for everyone
To that end, a new tradition has sprung up over the last few years: that of Christmas Eve boxes. Essentially, it's stocking fillers in a box instead of a sock, tiding kids (and adults) over with small gifts and entertainment to occupy and delight, whiling away some of the time between Christmas Eve and present o'clock.
Christmas Eve boxes can be as simple as a cardboard box or a homemade container full of surprises, or you can pick up bespoke tins, treasure chests or custom-designed wooden Christmas Eve boxes to use year after year. If you're buying a box, here's a small selection of options, from simpler containers to bespoke engravings:
- Christmas Eve box from John Lewis (opens in new tab)
- Christmas Eve box from Amazon (opens in new tab)
- Custom Christmas Eve boxes from Not On The High Street (opens in new tab)
Yes, it's one more thing to buy for, but it doesn't have to be a lot of pressure: all the contents can be acquired fairly cheap, as its a "teaser" of sorts for the big day. Think sweets, toys, Christmas books, films and all the usual stocking stuffers. We've gathered a few options for both children and grown-ups, so no matter who you're spoiling this year, everyone gets a Christmas Eve box they'll enjoy.
Christmas Eve box fillers for kids
The Snowman: Snowdog soft toy | now £11.00 from John Lewis (opens in new tab)
From the sequel to the Christmas classic, it seems like a foolproof scheme: watch The Snowman And The Snowdog with the youngsters, then present them with a box containing their very own cuddly Snowdog. Christmas Eve? Nailed it.
Lego Star Wars Sith Infiltrator Microfighter | now £8.99 from John Lewis (opens in new tab)
Lego Star Wars is always a sure-fire winner. The Microfighter range are miniature versions of fan-favourite characters and vehicles, making perfect Christmas Eve box-fillers and keeping little ones occupied building their new sets. The Sith Infiltrator comes with a minifigure of the fearsome Darth Maul with (of course) his double-bladed lightsaber. Vwoom!
How The Grinch Stole Christmas paperback | was £6.99 | now £4.00 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
A whimsical, delightful holiday classic, every child needs to read this. Better still, gather the kids round, turn off the devices and read it aloud, with the silliest voices you can muster to make the best of the good doctor's rhymes.
The Lindt Christmas Treat Box | now £8.99 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
It wouldn't be Christmas without chocolate. Snack on Santa, one of his reindeer, a teddy and a selection of Lindt truffles in this bumper pack of some of the best-quality chocolate in the biz.
Faburo Christmas Toss game | now £8.99 from Amazon (opens in new tab)
The kids might need something more to keep them occupied, and this is sure to do the trick. Blow up the antlers, pop them on and your opponents try and catch the rings on your inflatable prongs. A simple concept designed to generate plenty of laughs. The rings are inflatable too, so it's safe to be played in the living room.
Christmas Eve box fillers for adults
Yankee Candle Gift Set with 3 Small Jar Scented Candles | was £24.99 | now £15.99 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
Who doesn't love a candle? Especially when it's a candle with fragrance. They cosy-up your home on those long winter nights and make great presents for friends and family. The festive trio here are Candlelit Cabin, Pomegranate Gin Fizz and Evergreen mist scents.
UBFEN Unisex Memory Foam Comfort Fuzzy Slippers | from £9.38 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
A pair of slippers to stay warm and cosy on Christmas Eve is a sure-fire winner to pop in the box. Opt for the UBFEN unisex slipper that comes in a huge amount of different colours, all sharing a snug, memory foam interior that moulds to the contours of the wearer's feet.
The Balvenie Tasting Collection x3 | now £15.00 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
There's nothing like a nip of good Scotch on a cold winter's night, and since it's Christmas, treat your recipient to a trio of great drams. The DoubleWood 12 and 17 editions have been matured in both American oak and ex-Sherry casks, while the Caribbean Cask 14-year-old has been finished in ex-rum casks for a tropical take on the Speyside distillery.
Spyfall card game | now £19.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
We voted Spyfall our best board game for parties. If you're around the table with adults this year, Spyfall is an excellent card game designed to stoke mistrust as you try and uncover the spy in your midst. Still guaranteed to cause less arguments than Monopoly.
Vbiger Unisex Outdoor Touch Screen Anti-slip Gloves | now £13.99 from Amazon (opens in new tab)
Stay warm on your Christmas walk with these hardy gloves. With conductive fabric and silicone printing, the glvoe allows you to operate touch-screens without freezing your fingers. A neat little Christmas Eve box addition.