The Santa box is now a huge trend in the UK. It has taken off in a big way over the past few years and now looks like it’s here to stay as a family Christmas tradition.
Are these Christmas Eve boxes a lovely way to bring some extra magic and sparkle to the night before Christmas? Or are they just another added pressure and expense for frazzled parents?
Where did the Christmas Eve box come from?
A few years ago, the night before Christmas was steeped in simple traditions. Children would put out milk and cookies out for Santa and hang up their stockings before being sent off to bed.
Over the last five years though, things have changed. Parents in the US in particular, started using the Christmas Eve box. It was a great way to stave off the over-excitement that children can have the night before the big day. And so, a new Christmas tradition was born and it has snowballed in popularity ever since.
Social media has played a big part in making the Christmas Eve box so in demand. Many parents pin and share images of their Christmas Eve boxes each year.
And online retailers have then tapped into the trend as well. Google allegedly received over 150,000 searches for Christmas Eve boxes in just the month of November 2016.
In that same year, Matalan reported that they sold out over 10,000 empty Christmas Eve boxes in early December.
Online retailer Notonthehighstreet said that sales of its Christmas Eve boxes had increased by 364% since last year. Sales were apparently in their “thousands”.
The Santa box is becoming a big thing and with a trend so big, all parents feel obliged to join in.
What do you put in a Christmas Eve box?
Christmas Eve boxes are boxes, baskets or wooden crates which are decorated for Christmas. Some are personalised, others are plain cardboard boxes wrapped in festive wrapping paper.
They’re filled up with a variety of treats and goodies to make Christmas Eve feel magical.
You typically put some fun, festive items inside like:
- new pyjamas
- festive socks
- mugs and hot chocolate sachets
- reindeer dust (this is a mixture of oats and glitter to sprinkle on your path or driveway for Santa’s reindeer)
- Christmas book for bedtime stories
- Christmas activity books for children to enjoy the night before the big day.
So why should you do a Christmas Eve box?
Santa boxes can be a lovely way to make the night before Christmas a magical time.
As they contain pyjamas, bedtime stories and other festive items, they can also help calm down excited children. They can find it easier to wait for the big day with a few activities to hand.
The downside with the Christmas Eve box tradition is to do with how popular they have become.
Parents feel pressured into giving Santa boxes
Parents who wouldn’t normally have Santa boxes, feel pressured into it. They see all the families who are doing it and posting about it and feel that they have to join in as well.
Unfortunately for many parents it comes at a bad time too. It’s a time when they’re spending time and money on so many other things. All in a bid to make Christmas as magical as possible for their kids.
Christmas Eve boxes have got ever bigger
When the trend first emerged, parents were making inexpensive Christmas eve boxes. They would wrap cardboard boxes in festive gift wrap and pop in a few cheap gifts. Nowadays they’re big business.
You can buy beautiful and personalised Christmas Eve boxes. Elaborate pictures on Pinterest and Instagram show all the wonderful things you can put in them. All this can lead to added pressure on some parents to meet these high standards.
And if you choose not to make one at all, then you can feel like a bit of a Grinch.
Nowadays you can even buy Christmas Eve boxes for adults. They have ones containing Prosecco, mulled wine and scented candles, all of which cost quite a bit as well.
Is this new trend, which started as a charming little Christmas tradition, getting over-extravagant and out of hand?
Is Christmas itself getting ever more supersized?
Christmas has always been a big event but in recent years it seems to have been supersized.
Parents already have long to-do lists in the run up to the big day. They have to buy and wrap presents and put them under the tree. Then they have to fill stockings for their children full of their favourite things. Not to mention organising and preparing a huge festive feast for the family.
Now-a-days there are a whole lot of extras added on top of that too. Christmas Eve boxes are just one of these.
The latest ‘new’ Christmas traditions
Parents feel they can’t get away with a simple cardboard advent calendar any more. Instead they have to shell out on a Lego or Playmobil one. Or failing that, they have to spend a small fortune buying 24 teeny tiny gifts to fill a wooden calendar.
Then there’s the Elf on the Shelf. And he also comes at a time when everyone in the family is super busy, knackered and frazzled. Every evening, parents across the land are feeling duty bound to introduce an elf into the house. This elf needs to then embark upon 24 hilariously staged antics in the run up to the big day.
Is the build up to Christmas all getting a bit much?
Writing for the Manchester Evening News, one mum Emma Gill, explains why she won’t be joining in the trend and making Christmas Eve boxes for her children. She says:
If anyone mentions those three little words, I think I’m going to scream. Christmas Eve Box…I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. Most children get plenty on Christmas Day itself, without needing extra the night before. And it just adds to the growing list of things that parents need to sort in the run up to the big day. And creates even more expense.
Another mum, Rebecca Reid, believes that come December 24th, most parents are well and truly done in. Christmas Eve boxes are one step too far when it comes to parental sanity. She says:
By the time the 25th rolls around most parents have done a slew of family visits, a nativity play, an afternoon of putting up and decorating a tree, hours of Christmas shopping, food prep and probably some complicated UN-style family politics. Do you really need to add another thing in there? Do you really need to present your child with a crate full of gifts on Christmas eve instead of collapsing on the sofa with a large gin and mentally preparing yourself for what is about to come?
So are Santa boxes an added hassle or pure Christmas magic?
There’s no denying that Christmas Eve boxes are now a thing.
Expect to see pics of them filling your social media feeds from now on in. And be prepared to question whether you’re a bit of a scrooge if you don’t make one too.
Yes, on one level they are a charming and fun way to celebrate and elevate the night before Christmas. But on another level they pile on the pressure that parents face at an already demanding time of year.
We’d love to know what you think about Christmas Eve boxes. Are they excessive or magical?
Join in the chat over on our members’ chat group: All Things Christmas.
- “The curious case of the Christmas Eve box”, BBC News
- “I’m sorry but Christmas Eve boxes are complete and utter lunacy”, Metro UK
- “Why Christmas Eve boxes belong in the bin”, Manchester Evening News
- “Rise in popularity of Christmas Eve boxes sees parents starting the festivities early”, The Telegraph