The 'Christmas Box' Is Honestly Way Better Than An Advent Calendar (Or The Dang Elf)

by Rachel Garlinghouse
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and ajaykampani/Getty

You’ve heard of advent calendars, Elf on the Shelf, and a-book-a-day unwrapping, but the newest get-ready-for-Christmas trend tops them all. Introducing the latest holiday-prep fun—the Christmas box. We’re here for it.

I love Christmas, but when it comes to Elf on the Shelf, I’m a total Scrooge. I barely have time to brush my teeth, let alone set up an elaborate plotline for a plastic-and-cloth elf. No, thanks. And with the pandemic raging on, I’m not going to run to the store every other day to buy all the accessories a DOLL needs in order to entertain the kids. No, just no.

I also don’t love advent calendars. Plastic, junky trinkets just get broken, thrown on the floor, and eventually tossed in the trash. Some of the candy ones are gross. (If I’m going to buy my kids some chocolate, I fully plan on eating some of it. It better be good.) Then there are the toy advent calendars that cost $30+ each. I have four kids, so that’s a no for me.

Some families are opening a Christmas book each day and reading it. I love this idea if you can find used books, but most of us aren’t rushing out to purchase twenty-four brand-new children’s holiday books. (Cha-ching.) But a Christmas box? Bring it on! This is an idea I can get behind.

The contents depend on your children’s ages and interests, but basically, you’re getting them in the spirit of the season. If you haven’t yet heard, a Christmas box can work in a few different ways. Some parents create a box to give their family at the beginning of the holiday season. Yes, as in, right now. Others are creating a Christmas Eve box. There are also all the days in between. No matter when you give the box, the goal is to have a holly jolly Christmas.

This is a great opportunity to dish out the family holiday pjs, socks, or slippers. After all, you know you want that one in-front-of-the-tree pic on Christmas morning. This year, my family is getting plaid pjs that are perfect for the entire winter season. I’m one of those weird people who can’t stand when my kids wear Christmas pjs after Christmas.

Of course, snacks are a must. Gift hot chocolate, seasonal food items like candy canes, chocolate, or nut mixes, or your family’s favorite popcorn. Step it up with getting each person their own new holiday mug or Santa bowl for snacks. When in doubt, get each kid their own full-size candy bar and don’t forget something spiked and sparkling for the adults.

Every year, each of my children gets a new ornament — another Christmas box option. Plus, giving it to the kids as soon as the tree goes up means you get to enjoy the ornaments this season rather than pack it away for next Christmas.

I’ve seen some parents include a new holiday movie or two. Think about old school favorites like Home Alone and Elf or add something more contemporary to your collection. An alternative would be a family board game. My vote? Charades. It’s perfect for almost every age and ability, and it gives your family some screen-free time together. You also can’t go wrong with a fresh deck of Uno cards. Have you seen the jumbo cards or the miniature ones? They’re a huge hit in my house. The sillier, the better.

Last, but not least, consider a Christmas book. Many kids’ popular series have a holiday-themed book, or go with something more classic. This year, my kids are getting holiday-themed Mad Libs or Would You Rather? books. My oldest enjoys the elaborate dot-to-dot books, and I found her a Christmas-themed one. I just want my kids to stay busy. When they’re bored, they argue.

The box’s contents don’t have to be large or expensive. If you don’t want to splurge on matching Christmas pjs for the whole family, get cozy socks instead. They’re often on sale for just a few dollars a pair this time of the year. Instead of buying each child a bag of their favorite candy or a box of hot chocolate, buy one container and split it between everyone.

If you don’t want to give each person their own box, create a family Christmas box. You can get one new ornament for the family, favorite snacks, and a new movie or game. Voila! Open it the night you put up your tree, the day after Thanksgiving, or even Christmas Eve night. Whatever floats your Christmas boat.

Don’t let the fun stop here. With the coronavirus pandemic putting a damper on seeing our loved ones, another option is to create and ship a Christmas box. Who doesn’t want some fun snail mail? Create a box and drop it on your favorite neighbor’s doorstep, send to your child’s teacher, or ship to your boss. This year I made a Christmas box for my parents that includes maple coffee for my dad, a box of stunning Christmas cards, and a cute ornament for my mom.

Even better, make a Christmas box for yourself. The few times I have shopped in stores, I’ve always found an item here or there to pick up for myself. I found a berry nail polish, some fuzzy slippers, and (another) cute coffee mug. Why not throw them into a box and treat yourself this season? You can also create one for your partner, especially if they’re like mine and loathe putting up all the Christmas decorations. Here, honey. Have a box of goodies to make you less cranky.

The Christmas box is the latest holiday trend that brings on the merry-and-bright fun for everyone. Just make sure you don’t forget to reward yourself for all your holiday prep.

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