The Christmas Eve box is now a huge trend in the UK. It’s 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 Christmas Eve boxes a lovely way to bring some extra magic and sparkle to the night before Christmas, or another added pressure and expense for frazzled parents?
When did the Christmas Eve box become a thing?
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. But over the last five years parents have started using the Christmas Eve box as a way to stave off the over-excitement and impatience that children can have on that night before Christmas Day. And so a new Christmas trend has begun to snowball in popularity.
Social media has played a big part in making the Christmas Eve box so popular but may online retailers have tapped into the trend as well. Many parents pin and share images of their Christmas Eve boxes. Google says the number of people in the UK searching for Christmas Eve boxes on its shopping tab reached its highest ever point between 13 and 19 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 sales of its Christmas Eve boxes had increased by 364% since last year and were in their “thousands”. The Christmas Eve box is becoming a thing and with a trend so big, parents feel obliged to join in.
What exactly is a Christmas Eve box?
Christmas Eve boxes are boxes, baskets or wooden crates (some of which are personalised) filled with a variety of treats and goodies to make Christmas Eve feel magical. The boxes are filled with things like new pyjamas, mugs and hot chocolate, reindeer dust (oats and glitter to sprinkle on your path or driveway to mark the way for Santa and his reindeer), a book to read as a Christmas bedtime story and a Christmas activity for children to enjoy as they wind down before the big day.
That sounds lovely – what’s the catch?
Christmas Eve boxes can be such a lovely way to make the night before Christmas a magical time. Because they contain pyjamas and bedtime stories and reindeer dust, they play an important role in calming excited children down and getting them ready to settle before Santa comes. The drawback is that they have increased in scale so much, that they have become an added pressure for parents. They fall right at a time of year when parents have so many other things to spend time and money on, in a bid to make Christmas as magical as possible for their kids.
When the trend first emerged, parents were making inexpensive Christmas eve boxes, by wrapping cardboard boxes in festive gift wrap and popping in a few cheap gifts. Now they’re a big business. You can buy beautiful and personalised Christmas Eve boxes. The elaborate pictures on Pinterest and Instagram of what to put in them, lead to added pressure on parents to meet these high standards. If you choose not to make one, then you can feel like a bit of a Grinch. Nowadays you can even buy Christmas Eve boxes for adults, 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?
Christmas is getting 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, including buying and wrapping presents and placing them under the tree, fillings stockings for their children full of their favourite things, and organising and preparing a huge festive feast for the family. Now-a-days, on top of that there are so many added extras.
Christmas Eve boxes are just one of these. Parents also feel they can’t get away with a simple cardboard advent calendar, they have to fork out on a Lego or Playmobil one, or spend a small fortune buying 24 teeny tiny gifts to fill a wooden calendar. And then there’s the Elf on the Shelf. At a time when everyone in the family is super busy, knackered and feeling frazzled, parents across the land are feeling duty bound to introduce an elf into the house who will 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.
Come Christmas Eve parents are exhausted
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?
Complete lunacy or a bit of extra 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.
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