Every year it feels like the work of Christmas reaches peak craziness, especially for parents - and then along comes the Christmas Eve box. As if we needed something else to be added to our never ending to do lists and squeezed into already tight budgets.
If you're not sure what a Christmas Eve box is, it's a box filled with gifts that's presented to children on the night before Christmas. While lots of countries around the world have their main celebration and present-giving on Christmas Eve, it's the countries which generally don't who are now embracing the Christmas Eve box.
It's one thing to break out a new pair of PJs before leaving out some snacks for Santa and watching a Christmas movie, and another thing entirely to make it into a costly deal you can't extract yourself from, year after year.
One mum took to parenting forum Mumsnet to describe the contents of the Christmas Eve box she gave to her five-year-old daughter last year, just to give you an idea.
"New elf PJs, reindeer hot chocolate, new slippers, christmas chocolates, colouring book and pens, santa magic key, glittery bubble bath."
And while not compulsory, some people even spend the big bucks on a personalised wooden box - although undeniably beautiful, this one is a staggering $99.
I know so many families that celebrate Christmas Eve as much as Christmas Day, and they all say it can be so much more fun because there is no pressure and the excitement of Santa's visit is building every moment. ⠀ ⠀ It is times like these that some of our favourite memories happen. Capture them and keep them for a lifetime, perhaps build a new family tradition and collect one moment each year for your Christmas Eve Memory Box that tells your family stories⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #xmas2018 #xmastraditions #xmastradition #familychristmasphoto #familychristmas #familychristmaspictures #familychristmasideas #christmasideas #christmasdecor #christmasgift #xmasgift #xmaseveideas #christmasevebox #christmaseveboxes #personalisedchristmas #personalisedsmas
Colour me bah humbug because there is no way any of my three children will be expecting something like this on Christmas Eve.
I've done a quick estimation of the cost of the contents listed above and even buying all of the items from Kmart, it's comes out at around $50 and that doesn't include the box. I have three kids, so that would be an extra $150 or more, to give them things they don't really need, the day before they get their Christmas gifts.
What is the point? There are many who say that what people spend their money on is their own business, but what kind of models are we being if we buy a whole stack of junk just because?
What about modelling conscious consumerism, giving considered thought to how much we buy, and for what purpose? What about teaching our kids to value Christmas traditions that cost nothing, or utilise resources we already have at home?
Most importantly, what about Christmas Eve traditions that bond us as families, whatever that looks like for you.
We watch a movie with a hot chocolate and leave Santa a biscuit, a carrot and a drink. We might break out the Boney M Christmas album then laugh at Will Ferrell in Elf. We happily go on Buddy's heartwarming journey together every year and talk about how lovely Christmas day will be as we admire the sparkly tree lights. Simple as that.
It's really okay if you don't jump on the next big thing that promotes a buying frenzy. If you really want to do it for the joy of it, there are ways to be creative about it.
You could give an ethical gift such as the ones from Oxfam where recipients receive a card saying what the donation has achieved such as the gift of a chicken to someone in a developing country. Make a voucher book for free hugs, reading a book together, going for a walk to get a milkshake.
If the focus of Christmas is supposed to be gratitude, family and faith, then Christmas Eve traditions should surely reflect that. After all, there's plenty of time for gifts the very next day.
This Mumsnetter and I agree with each other completely.
"...of all the days in the calendar, why would anyone provide a box full of gifts the night before the recipient gets a stack load more gifts? It's just mad consumerism and instagram living. I think a much better idea would be to create a Christmas box and donate to the local Foodbank or similar charity where a child may not get ANY gifts."