Personal Story

Christmas Eve Gift Boxes Are Trending–Here’s Why I’m Opting Out

written by DANA PETERS
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by stores that put out Christmas merchandise in August. Same, girl, same. While I do consider myself more of a Buddy the Elf than an Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, there needs to be limits. This includes but is not limited to, radio stations playing holiday music too early, excessive gift-giving, and yes, merchandise in stores. 

So when I heard about the new trend of giving curated Christmas Eve boxes to children and other loved ones, I knew it was going to be a hard pass for me. But as a person with curiosity running through my veins, I had to do a little digging around to see exactly what was happening with the Christmas Eve box trend.

What is a Christmas Eve Box?

Basically, Christmas Eve boxes are an excuse to deliver some small gifts—think holiday pajamas, books, ornaments, etc.—the day before Christmas. Some families use them as a parting present from their Elf on the Shelf. And, of course, they make for some very cute and curated social media content.

Many claim that the items put in a Christmas Eve box or Christmas Eve crate are things we would buy anyway (would we?!?), just packaged up nicely for the sake of being festive. But I’m literally not buying it. Here’s why:

Why I’m Not Doing a Christmas Eve Box for My Kids

My to-do list is full

Let’s be honest—moms typically shoulder more of the load when it comes to holiday gift-giving. And while I am (mostly) fine with doing so, I do not need or want another thing added to my to-do list. I’m already keeping track of who gets what, as well as what needs to be purchased and wrapped. So as far as having more to do goes, no thanks. I’d rather be present with my family instead of spending more time thinking about presents.

Research shows kids do better with less toys

Let’s face it—more gifts and toys for my kids means more to clean and more to manage in our household. And even if they are helping out with those tasks, research shows children do better with fewer toys. A less crowded playroom leads most kids to play longer and more creatively with what they have, as well as increases focus. In an era where our attention is being pulled in a million directions, I’m happy to do what I can to help my kiddos develop focus and a longer attention span. 

The Christmas Eve box origin story is off-base 

Interestingly enough, when I started reading more about Christmas Eve boxes, I found that some places cited the German tradition of exchanging gifts the night before Christmas as the inspiration for the trend. However, this isn’t the whole story. My husband is from Germany and they do give gifts on Christmas Eve—but that’s it! There isn’t another day of celebrations and gift-giving. So for me, this origin story is not quite right and doesn’t justify the idea to me. For what it’s worth, my kids do open gifts from their Opa and Oma living in Germany on Christmas Eve. 

christmas eve box
Source: Canva

Materialism surrounding holidays is already too much (for me)

It’s already a struggle to balance the materialism of Christmas gift-giving with what the holidays are really about to us as a family. So adding to the pile of “stuff” to give and to get with a Christmas Eve box has about as much appeal to me as a mug of cold hot chocolate. Additionally, I’m the type of person who hates giving gifts for the sake of giving a gift. So figuring out additional gifts for a Christmas Eve box sounds like the opposite of fun to me. 

Memories can be made without more things

When it comes to the holidays, our family focuses on being together and enjoying the slower time of the year together. While I’ve seen Christmas Eve boxes used as a way to amplify these moments together, I think we can create memories just fine without adding more stuff to our lives. Watching the same Christmas movie every year or baking the same cookies your grandma made while you were growing up are cozy moments with or without matching pajamas. When my kids look back on their childhood, I’m confident they’ll remember how these times felt and how much we smiled and laughed. And that’s what matters most. 

But just because Christmas Eve boxes aren’t for me, if they light you up like a Christmas tree and add joy to your season, then, by all means, fill those boxes. But for me, Christmas Eve boxes are a holiday to-do that won’t be on my list. 

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