It is becoming an increasingly controversial subject, but the issue of Christmas Eve boxes has sparked an online debate among parents worried about whether this is a present too far.
For those who may not know, a Christmas Eve box is a growing tradition which sees a present being given to a child on the night before Christmas.
While Christmas Day may be the most exciting day of the year for most of us, the trend for these boxes is so that loved ones do not have to wait as long for opening their presents on Christmas Day.
The Christmas Eve box is now a tradition
The giving and opening of the Christmas Eve box is now as much of a tradition for many families as leaving a mince pie out for Father Christmas and a carrot for his reindeer Rudolph.
One consumer expert told a national newspaper: “There is no pretence that a Christmas Eve box is an ancient tradition.
“This is not a day that we prepare well for and the box solves the problem.”
It appears that despite the growing popularity of the boxes, there was almost no interest in them before November 2013.
Since then, interest has rocketed with 10 times as many people searching for the term last year as there were five years previously – and even more are looking for Christmas Eve boxes this year.
Parents are being influenced by gift-giving elsewhere
The consumer expert says that parents are being influenced by gift-giving elsewhere in Europe where children in many countries will receive and open their presents on 24 December.
However, he acknowledged, that Christmas Eve boxes in the UK are quickly becoming a ‘clever retail innovation’.
He added: “The box helps to heighten the anticipation for the following day and it’s key to a child’s Christmas experience.”
Christmas Eve boxes will consist, usually, of small presents, such as pyjamas and chocolate in what many people believe is a charming tradition that can also be enjoyed by adults in a bid to spread the joy of the giving and receiving of a gift.
It’s even possible to buy Christmas Eve boxes online and in shops for varying prices – and for those who want the names of their loved ones printed on the box, then these are available too.
Whether parents should give their children a Christmas Eve box
However, one mother has sparked an online debate over whether parents should give their children a Christmas Eve box at all.
The mum posted to one popular parenting website asking how the giving of these boxes has ‘apparently become a normal Christmas tradition’.
She asked: “Since when did these boxes become such a ‘thing’? I have never heard of these before this year, but now they are talked about as if they are a normal part of Christmas traditions.”
She then asked other mums if they were practising this new tradition and, if so, for how long they had done so.
The woman’s post hit a nerve and lots of other parents offered their opinion on Christmas Eve boxes.
‘Boxes are a gimmick’
Many said the boxes are a gimmick that adds to the growing commercialisation of Christmas.
Others highlighted that this will not be a tradition in their home while others say it’s just another way to keep up with friends which is unnecessary.
One mother replied: “Of all the days available, why would someone give a box of gifts on the night before they receive yet more gifts? It’s just consumerism and Instagram living.”
However, other parents say that the growing tradition is an excellent way of helping small children wind-down from pre-Christmas excitement and help them spend time together as a family.
Another mum confessed: “A Christmas Eve box has always been a way to wind-down in the evening and hint at the magic about to work. My granny did it when she used to have a plate of freshly baked treats with a note about sleeping and listening for sleigh bells.”
Christmas Eve box would feature new pyjamas
Other forum users said their Christmas Eve box would feature new pyjamas and a copy of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, chocolate coins, hot chocolate sachets and a Santa key.
Others said that the tradition does not have to feature junk or expensive items but offer a lovely way of expressing thoughts of a family spending time together on Christmas Eve.
One woman wrote: “There is something really lovely about cuddling up on the sofa with hot chocolate, reading a story or watching a film while awaiting Christmas. If a Christmas Eve box is not for you then fine, but why be dismissive of what other people choose to do?”
There’s no doubt that there is growing interest in Christmas Eve boxes – one BBC news report highlights that Google searches for the term are growing with the figures trebling since 2014.
Also, one online retailer says that its sales of Christmas Eve boxes rocketed by 364% between 2015 and 2016.
Items for a child’s Christmas Eve box
If you want to take part in a growing cosy tradition, then these are the items you could consider putting into a child’s Christmas Eve box:
- New pyjamas for wearing on Christmas Eve (Primark – £5)
- A Christmas film or book (HMV from £5.99)
- A Christmas colouring book (The Works from £2)
- Festive snacks, including chocolate snowballs (Poundland from £1)
- Hot chocolate powder and marshmallows (Whittard from £6.50)
- A novelty Christmas mask or a headband (Ebay from £1.99)
- Festive games and puzzles to occupy children (M&S from £4)