Christmas Eve boxes for kids — whatever next?!
- The latest craze to add to the festive extravagance is Christmas Eve boxes
- Children receive package with items to get them ready for bed before big day
- Often include Christmas-themed pyjamas, festive movie and hot chocolate
Most parents, when they were children in the 1970s or 1980s, received little more than a Barbie doll, or maybe a bicycle, if they were lucky.
Now, at Christmas, many of their own children receive a deluge of treats on top of their actual present: an Advent calendar filled with toys; the Elf on the Shelf leaving them messages; a stocking filled with gifts.
The latest craze to add to this extravagance is Christmas Eve boxes. The idea is that children receive a container, larger than a shoe box, with items to get them ready for bed before the big day.
These often include Christmas-themed pyjamas, maybe a festive movie and some hot chocolate.
The latest craze to add to this extravagance is Christmas Eve boxes with the idea being that children receive a container, larger than a shoe box, with items to get them ready for bed before the big day
Hobbycraft, the High Street retailer, said that last year sales of its Christmas Eve boxes were up more than 900 per cent on the year before, and ‘we are expecting them to be even more popular this year’.
Asda, too, says sales of its boxes have done well, while John Lewis, which started selling them only last year, has expanded its range, saying sales of its £35 personalised boxes are up 66.7 per cent on last year. Marks & Spencer’s Christmas Eve box also proved a big hit with parents.
The empty box, with a mini chalkboard panel on which to write your child’s name, was initially £29.50 but sold out after being discounted to £17.70.
Orchard Toys’ Christmas Eve box, containing a jigsaw and a special family game and priced at £12.95, also sold out. Ali Brown of the company says: ‘It’s our most successful product launch ever.’
At Christmas, many of their own children receive a deluge of treats on top of their actual present: an Advent calendar filled with toys; the Elf on the Shelf leaving them messages; a stocking filled with gifts (stock image)
The trend started only four or five years ago and its origins are murky. ‘It stems, I believe, from Germany and Poland, where the tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve,’ says Cathy Ranson, editorial director at Channel Mum, the parenting website.
Though it is true many Catholic countries in Northern Europe open their presents on December 24, there is no culture of boxes. But if their genesis is hazy, they have been embraced by all the British retailers as well as confectionery and toy companies, keen to cash in on a potentially lucrative trend.
Most are sold empty — parents buy the pyjamas or games separately, though specialist websites such as Heath and Hill and the Tartan Blanket Company do sell good quality pre-filled boxes.
Asda, which first introduced Christmas Eve boxes in 2017, sells a range costing just £2.50, while The Works has one for £4.
In effect, they are colourful, slightly sturdier empty shoe boxes. But if money is no object, you can easily spend more than £30 on a nicely made personalised wooden box.
‘It can be done on a budget,’ insists Cathy, who points out that some crafty families just cover an old box or crate before filling it with budget gifts. ‘It can be helpful for parents, because the gifts inside are cues for the children to go to bed — pyjamas, a book, hot chocolate,’ she adds.
In a survey, Channel Mums found 48 per cent of parents plan to give a Christmas Eve box this year. Many parents say the boxes are all part of generating family memories.
Jenna Winfield, 35, from Kent, has three children: Freddie, nine, Bella, seven, and Dottie, three, who will all receive a box ‘left by Buddy, the Elf on the Shelf’.
‘It’s about creating a new family tradition,’ Jenna says. ‘The boxes are a good way of stretching Christmas out across two days.’
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