Twas The Night Before Christmas Gift

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family night before Christmas Eve gift

Family Christmas Eve Gift

Those of you who open your gifts on Christmas Day know that, on Christmas Eve, the kids are almost berserk with excitement, wanting to open presents! Here is a fun thing to do on Christmas Eve to jump start things. This could be a new tradition– It would even be a great “family” Christmas Eve gift to give. Of course you can add or take away the things you use in this gift to fit your budget or for the situation maybe adding even a few fun gag gifts.

Wrap a large box with a bow on it and say, “This is to be opened as soon as it gets dark or on Christmas Eve.” I made a silly little poem to put on it but you could write your own.

Here is mine

Christmas Eve is here!
For this we have waited all year,
So let’s begin the fun,
And open this box for everyone.

Place things in the box like:

Pajamas for everyone
New slippers
Funny Christmas hats,  antlers or light up noses
A Christmas book
A Christmas movie
A Game
Hot Chocolate with marshmallows

Like I said, pick and choose what you put in there to make it more meaningful for your family. I recommend including mostly stuff for a fun evening together and everyone loves getting new pajamas for Christmas so this makes it like a Christmas Eve pajama party!


Photo By: Mary Rotman


  1. Bea says

    You know a nice Polish tradition is to have a supper (meatless) on Christmas Eve and wait to see the first star come out. Also, Midnight Mass is nice going to.

    • says

      We usually go to church on Christmas Eve too although Christmas Eve is when we do all of our celebrating. We use to open all of our presents on Christmas Eve, have a big feast of special finger and buffet type foods and then Christmas morning Santa would come and I would cook a big Christmas dinner. After my husband left I stopped doing Christmas dinner. I was spending all of Christmas Eve and day cooking because there was often only 3-4 of us and I had to do all the cooking. Most people have one person bring pies another a salad and do sort of pot luck but I had no one else to bring anything I had to do it all. I was not only exhausted but didn’t get in on much of the fun so we scaled back. I started doing up a ton of food for Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day we just goofed around all day playing with the new presents and snacking on leftovers from the night before. It was so nice and that is the way we have done it every since even though there are many more of us now.

      I know this sounds so selfish but one of the best Christmases I had was one when I was snowed in. We had done all the present opening and fun get together on Christmas Eve. My son’s family and I barely made it home from Tawra’s afterwards driving through a blizzard. Usually we got together again on Christmas Day but couldn’t because of the blizzard. I stayed in my pj’s all day (I never do that unless I am sick), pulled out a big bottle of Pepsi, my favorite Christmas dip and chips and watched Christmas movies all day. It was so relaxing and cozy with the snow coming down.

  2. Maggie says

    For the last 6 years, we have had Peking duck for Christmas dinner. All the years my kids were home and we had dinner at our house with the grandmoms and us, I cooked a huge Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. One year, we got a gift certificate and decided to have duck from our favorite Chinese restaurant. This is a special duck preparation and you have to order in advance and pick it up on Christmas Eve. The amount of food we order now has grown since everyone wants a few leftovers for another day. But, the cooking time for me is minimal and we so enjoy having something other than turkey for dinner. I do make a chocolate pie (no one likes pumpkin) for dessert. After dinner, we open our stockings and relax before my son leaves for his house. Then my husband and I watch a Christmas movie and just enjoy the lights on the tree and the calmness of the evening. Now that the grandmoms are gone, it’s a little lonelier but we are glad to be together. I do miss having little ones around but we are happy with our celebration each year.

    • Stacey says

      Hehe, seeings flashbacks of the movie “The Christmas Story” where they are eating Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant. Love that part where they chop the ducks head off and just their reaction to it. No doubt I would do the same

  3. Michele says

    Thank you for the idea. This year I am working both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being a nurse does not take a holiday:) I discussed this with my kids and told them I would be working. They both asked if I would be there when they opened their gifts in the morning. I told them I would be. (my work hours are from 2-1030). They both were ok with me working on Christmas day as long as I’m home to watch them open their gifts in the morning. That actually took a lot of stress and guilt off of me. If my kids are happy, then I’m happy. We will actually be having a dinner and everything on Christmas eve since I’ll be off. The boys and I will be following santa on the “Santa Tracker” too. You’re ideas a just what I needed. Thank you.

  4. Cat says

    That’s such a nice idea. I think I’ll do that this year though it’s just the hubby, kitty, and me. Thanks, again for another great idea. We really don’t need anything this year, so we were just going to have a really nice meal…now we can eat and celebrate in new P.J.’s.

  5. grizzly bear mom says

    Remember, we women are really the ones that bring Christmas. We do most of the cooking, shopping and cleaning. Schedule what you want to do/not do as pleases you. Besides, nobody wants to spend the holiday with an ill tempered person who exhausted themselves trying to please everyone.

  6. Bea says

    Jill, being snowed in and staying in pajamas sounds good to me, and I like the religious parts of the holidays anyway. The Mass in the pretty Church, the trees, the magic of Christmas Eve, and the quietness of the night. It feels special Christmas Eve.

  7. Stacey says

    Oh this is a cute idea. I get the littles new pajamas every year and they open them up on Christmas Eve. That’s the one gift I let them open. I love this idea and will have to use it next year. This year is their dad’s time to have them through Christmas Day. But they get to come home in the afternoon. YAY!!! On Christmas Eve my church hosts several candle lighting services. We sing carols and listen to our Pastor preach about the real meaning of Christmas. It really is nice. Christmas morning oh about 4:30 my twins wake me up by telling me that that Santa came. I always joke “Santa, santa who? I don’t know any Santa, so go back to bed”. It’s so much fun. I love that sound of their feet as they keep running back and forth to the Christmas tree to look at what is under it. I get out of bed, still going about this person named Santa start my coffee pot and they go and wake my son, who is 16. Then ‘Santa’ is picked and that’s who gives out the presents to everyone. I have to be honest, I hate it when my children aren’t with me on Christmas morning. But it gets better once the 3 greatest gifts God has ever given me in this life, comes home. That’s Christmas to me. Wow, long post huh? lol.

    • says

      Not long at all Stacey. You are so right there is something about little kids and Christmas morning. I don’t think anything can equal that excitement, joy and fun.

  8. Mary Jane says

    When my kids were small, we tried an idea for Christmas Eve, that stuck as a tradition until the kids got into their teens, and we had to start being more flexible about what we would do the night before Christmas. A missionary wrote that they would have a simple meal of rice for dinner (supper) on Christmas Eve with the family, by candlelight. This was an opportunity for quiet time, reflection on those who didn’t have much, and of course, it didn’t hurt anyone’s digestion, considering the feasting that would be expected over the next few days. We tried it, and my kids enjoyed it, and looked forward to it the following years. It was like a bit of calm before the big storm. My neighbour told me that when her boys were teenagers, right before they left home, they had a special Christmas trip that took them across the country to Newfoundland, Canada. There, they had a rare treat for them, but a staple for Newfoundlanders…lobster, on Christmas Eve. Now, when she has her grown sons and their families home for Christmas, they try to have lobster for Christmas Eve dinner, as part of their traditions.

    • says

      We had salad (green) and spaghetti (red and white). Festive coloring but couldn’t convince mom to cook a goose…when I grew up, I tried cooking one: mom was right. There’s nothing festive about a kitchen filled with smoke!

  9. Liz says

    Living in the Kansas City area, we usually spend two nights going to see the lights. We invite one of my husband’s single brothers to go with us. We turn on the local Christmas songs (only) radio station. We usually do the first night going to Crown Center seeing the giant toys outside. Then, we head over to The Plaza to see the lights. We often get out and walk around, stopping at Starbucks for hot cocoa, and Topsy’s for caramel corn. Then, we head to the downtown area and see the various lights on the tall buildings. On the way home, we drive through some of the neighborhoods that are very well lit (like almost every house!) near the Plaza. We always stop at the “Tacky Christmas House” as we call it, on the way home. Another night we head south and drive through several neighborhoods known for great lights. We have to stop at the “Penguin House” in Olathe, KS for the kids to run through the numerous Penguin decorations, best done at night when everything is lit up. They collect donations for the Leukemia Society and since my father-in-law died from Leukemia, we like to make a donation. And, of course, “Happy Feet” plays on a movie screen above the garage. It’s always a lot of fun. And, most of all, it’s almost free…just gas and a little money for snacks, which you can pack and take if you want.

  10. Bea says

    Yesterday I found a book, “Miracle on 34th Street” at the library for 1 dollar. I bought it and read some last night. It’s even better than the old movie. It was written in 1947. It’s such a lovely story. Innocent and joyful. Diane I like your salad and spaghetti dinner.

    • says

      I loved the old version of this movie and never knew it was from a book. Will have to track it down and see if they have it at my library.

  11. Michelle says

    We have a wood stove that we let go down to coals and then roast marshmallows…a special treat after 3 months of cold. A big pan of popcorn, the tree lit, and the lights out. Calm and peaceful with little kids, well till the sugar kicks in;). Then we play tickle monster and read bible stories, that I buy at the thrift store all year for .50 each. I wrap them up and put in a big basket and then throughout the month of December we open them and read them….and then again on Christmas. This year we may also let the kids watch the Christmas story since they are getting a little older (6, 5, 3). Santa comes on Christmas day at the grandparents and brings each of the kids a $5 present…the rest come from us. Not a huge fan of Santa (though he drives a pretty red truck hehehe). The grand kids can’t understand why their Santa comes in a red truck, at the grandparents … And the stories they come up with are great fun. Overall though Christmas eve is for relaxing. And after the kids go to bed my husband and I will have a glass of wine and watch a classic Christmas show…White Christmas is our favorite.

  12. Bea says

    I hope you find the book too Jill at the library. I didn’t know it was from a book either. I want to tell you a nice story. I read the book during 2 evenings. Short book. I thought it must have been real cool to met a “real Santa” like in the book and movie. I was kind of envious. The next day I went to a thrift store and there was this couple looking for trays with Christmas scenes on them and the man looked like Santa. Real beard and belly and everything, EXCEPT the suit. I thought I would go up to him and tell him he looked like Santa but wasn’t sure how he would take that, so I decided to comment on the nice trays they were buying. The wife of this man said “Yeh, My husband likes to bake lots of cookies and he puts them on these trays and then goes to people’s houses in the neighborhood that could use a little holiday cheer and gives them away. In fact, he plays Santa in stores and different events. Isn’t that cool? He looked just like Santa and he looked so natural and I felt like I was in “The Miracle on 34th Street.”

    • says

      I have never meant a real Santa either so that is neat. Our neighbor has a beard like Santa. He is nice but not a kid type person. Well my granddaughter when she was little just loved the guy and we couldn’t figure out why until it dawned on us that she thought he was Santa.

  13. Bea says

    That’s so sweet Jill. Too bad that man you mentioned wasn’t a kid type of person. The man I met was so sweet and full of smiles and kind. He showed me pictures on his cell phone of the times he played Santa at different events. He also said he has a room in his house with Santa things that he keeps up all year. He was also buying an old fashioned Santa cookie jar when I saw them. It was kind of cool. I told him to check out the story of the real Santa Claus, St Nicholas who really did live.
    By the way it’s snowing here. Looks kind of nice and holiday like.

  14. Bea says

    Jill, I forgot to tell you that the book, “Miracle on 34th Street” was written by Valentine Davies. Doesn’t that name seem to fit?

    • says

      Yes it does Bea. Saw a picture of the gingerbread stamps yesterday. I need to get to the post office now and get some. Thanks for the heads up on them.

  15. Barb~ says

    Hi All!

    I have loved reading all these posts. It’s wonderful to see that for everyone our best memories are about people and special moments spent together. No one says, we bought this fancy, new car and we loved driving around town to show it off!!! These stories come from loving hearts that truly understand the meaning of Christmas. Isn’t it beautiful?

  16. Mary Jane says

    When my kids were little, someone gave us a box of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books to read. One condensed book was called “The Donkey’s Gift”. It is the Christmas story as told through the large donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. The first chapter tells how the donkey, named Asinus, came to be owned by Mary and Joseph. The story is poignant, humorous, biblically accurate where it counts, and written for children and adults alike. We would read one chapter a night, leading up to Christmas. When 3 of my 4 kids had left home, and the baby was 15, I came across the full version of the book at a yard sale. My 15 year old had to have it and read it according to our tradition. When he got married and moved out, the book went with him, and I expect he will be reading it to his son.

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