How to put together a Christmas Eve box

23 Nov 2021


Make this year’s festivities even more magical with a Christmas Eve box the whole family will adore

Have you embraced the Christmas Eve box tradition? As that magical time of year approaches, you might find yourself reminded of the excited anticipation building on Christmas Eve. Hanging up stockings, leaving a mince pie out for Santa, and listening out for the jingling bells of his sleigh… The night before Christmas conjures fond childhood memories for many of us.

If you’d like to bring back those warm, fuzzy feelings, a Christmas Eve box is a lovely tradition to start. Or perhaps you have little ones who just can’t wait for the big day. Extend the experience and get Christmas off to a heartwarming start by putting together your own treasure chest of festive treats and activities. 

Woman wrapping a Christmas Eve box

What is a Christmas Eve box?

In the UK, we may be used to saving gifts to open on Christmas Day (even if we can’t help giving those tempting parcels a little squeeze and a shake), but in many European countries, it’s traditional to exchange gifts on the 24th December.

Whilst countries like Germany and Poland may have been celebrating Christmas Eve for hundreds of years, the ‘Christmas Eve box’ is a relatively new tradition.

The idea is to give your loved ones — usually young children — a box of small but thoughtful presents, ahead of the big day itself. In many ways, a Christmas Eve box is similar to a stocking. However, many families like to get gifts that they can all enjoy together on Christmas Eve. It’s a lovely way for parents to bond with their children — and calm them down for that final sleep!

What kind of box should I use?

You can buy ready-prepared Christmas Eve boxes, filled with sweets, pyjamas, and perhaps a treat for Santa. While this can be a convenient option, every family has their own idea of what Christmas means to them. And building your own Christmas Eve box means you can bring your loved ones together in a heartfelt way.

Let’s start with what kind of box to use. You could buy a hamper for the purpose. Anything from a simple wicker design to a bespoke wooden chest will work. Buying a reusable box means you could bring it out year after year.

However, you could also upcycle an old box and get equally excellent results. A previously-used banana crate or cardboard box is an affordable and sustainable option. Depending on how creative you’re feeling you could paint it or cover it with nice wrapping paper. Either way, it’s sure to be a lovely surprise. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts.

What to put in a Christmas Eve box

And what exactly can go inside? Well, that depends on the recipient. Do you want to create a box solely for your children or would you like to include gifts for you and your partner, too? You can tailor your Christmas Eve presents to the recipient’s tastes and interests. But if you’re wondering where to start, here are a few ideas we reckon you can’t go wrong with:

Cosy pyjamas and socks

Is there anything better than waking up on Christmas morning in fresh, cosy PJs? Treating the little ones (and yourself) to some seasonal sleepwear can help build the excitement of bedtime and awaiting that visit from St Nick! Many families like to make the most of the novelty by getting matching pyjama sets.

Slippers or snug socks are another great idea. And the beauty is that you can wear them all throughout winter to keep you toasty. 


A Christmas colouring book

If your family members love a bit of arts and crafts, a colouring book can make a lovely Christmas Eve box filler. Colouring is a calming, mindful activity — and it’s not just for kids! There are plenty of grown-up colouring books around to help you relax and channel your creativity.

Look for something with a festive theme — fun cartoons for the kids or sophisticated Christmas mandalas for yourself.

Hot chocolate and mugs

Wind down for the evening with a cup of hot cocoa. Hot chocolate is a great addition to your Christmas Eve box. As well as whipping up a rich, velvety-smooth hot chocolate, you could include some Christmassy toppings, too. Cream, marshmallows, cinnamon sticks and candy canes can make every sip extra special.

If you want to make it really seasonal, look for winter flavour pairings, like mint, orange, or Black Forest Gateau.

Chances are, of course, that the kids are already excitable, so you probably don’t want to load them up with sugar and additives. Fortunately, at Hotel Chocolat, we have a focus on more cacao, less sugar and natural ingredients. As well as contributing to a sugar rush, we believe that sugar diminishes the nuanced flavours of cacao.

Our hot chocolate flakes are made with real grated chocolate that has a much higher cacao content than most. This means you get a more satisfying drinking experience and less risk of the children bouncing off the walls on Christmas Eve! Why not take a look at our high-cacao Orange Supermilk or Classic 70% Dark Hot Chocolate offerings?

Want to make your Christmas Eve hot chocolate a little more merry? Provide a tot of Velvetised Chocolate Cream for the grown-ups.

You could also include new mugs to delight the family. Perhaps a novelty option, with festive decoration. Or something elegant, that you can use all year round, like our Hug, Chat, and Spark Coffee Cups

Christmas hot chocolate with cream and sprinkles

Festive snacks

Christmas Eve drinks might be sorted, but some festive nibbles are sure to go down a treat, too. You might like to get a mix of sweet and savoury snacks — crisps, popcorn, and chocolates are great options.

Make snacking an engaging experience with the Large Chocolate Dipping Adventure. With four irresistible chocolate pots to melt and an array of treats to dip and dunk, the whole family can get involved.

As with hot chocolate, you might want to keep the sugar levels low for the little ones. We have a whole range of high-cacao chocolate treats in adorable festive designs. From creamy White Chocolate Reindeer to a Milk Chocolate Santa Tiddly Pot, you’ll find plenty of mini treats.

And why not include some tipsy truffles for yourself?

Christmas eve activities for all the family

For many, Christmas is a time to switch off from the outside world and spend quality time with the family. Start on Christmas Eve, with homely activities.

A festive movie

Even if we’ve seen them a hundred times before, we can’t get enough of Christmas films. Snuggle up on the sofa (in your new PJs) and get lost in some Christmas magic.

From old school classics and seasonal rom-coms to more recent animations, there are plenty to choose from.

Board games

If you’d prefer a little less screen time, why not get the board games out? Engage the family in a healthy bit of friendly competition as you tuck into some delicious Christmas treats.

Set out a treat for Santa and his reindeer

It’s traditional to leave a snack out to thank Santa and his reindeer for their hard work. Around the world, children set out drinks and food — from a mince pie and glass of sherry in the UK to cookies and beer in Australia.

Before bed, why not encourage the kids to set out a plate of nibbles and a glass of milk or booze for Father Christmas to enjoy. Don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph!

Christmas stories

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

Sharing a Christmas story is the perfect way to round off your Christmas Eve activities. Whether you tuck the kids into bed and read a traditional festive picture book or unwind with a glass of mulled wine and an audiobook, everyone can drift off to dreamland, ready to wake up on Christmas morn. 

Dad and daughter reading a Christmas story

Merry Christmas, one and all

Whether you go for traditional Christmas Eve activities or prefer to do something a little different, you can fill a Christmas Eve box with plenty of goodies your family will enjoy. Don’t forget to explore the Hotel Chocolat Christmas range for delicious festive treats. From all of us here, Merry Christmas!