My feelings about Christmas changed on Boxing Day last year.
I’ve blogged about it before, but there was just so much stuff. It was partly – cough, mostly – my fault. And I’d had enough.
I resolved to change things.
And I have. The boys have fewer presents this year, and I’ve only made one of those ohmygod-they-need-more-gifts-to-unwrap panic buy purchases. And then I felt guilty and resolved not to buy anything more.
I made a list, I checked it twice… and I’ve stuck to it.
It’s divided into different sections; I’ve spread the delivery methods across the festive season and I’ve tried to be mindful of their purpose.
- Advent Calendar: Alongside our activity advent calendar I also have a small toy advent calendar. It means that Small Human will be less overwhelmed by things to unwrap on the big day, and means he doesn’t miss out on advent calendar excitement (he can’t really have chocolate or sweets). I do it as a lucky dip, wrapping up 24 gifts in brown paper which go into a box. It’s super simple.
- Santa: Of course, the Big Fella rocks up to our house overnight and fills our bargain Poundland Santa sacks – check them out in store, they were fab last year! – with lots of lovely wooden goodies handcrafted by the elves. Sounds lovely, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the ‘wooden toys only’ rule… Oh well, Future Emily can worry about that. This year Santa is bringing Small Human a tabletop kitchen, toy food, and medical set. Tiny Human gets a postbox, accompanying letters, and some dinosaur push-along toys.
- Stocking: These are hung up – on the fireplace – and filled with activities to keep them entertained over breakfast before we unwrap the main presents under the tree. This year Small Human has a slinky, bubbles, colouring book and crayons. Tiny Human has some maracas and a bath boat.
- Tree Presents: I’m not keen on telling the boys that only Santa brings presents. So they’ll both get a ‘big’ present from us, and two small ones. Partly because I want them to understand that some of the effort of Christmas comes from me and Mr Thrifty Fox, and partly because I don’t want them to question why other family members buy them presents but we don’t.
- Boxing Day Board Game: My family always used to do Boxing Day gifts – small things such as toiletries and socks – which spread out the madness of Christmas. I like the idea, but have whittled it down to just a board game. One gift which we can all enjoy, whilst picking our way through the leftovers.
And finally… the Christmas Eve Box.
a.k.a. the whole purpose of this post.
It’s something I’ve deliberated doing/not doing. After all, the list above is pretty extensive. But then I remind myself what all of this is about. Creating traditions. And memories.
And, let’s face it, I’m never going to be one of those ‘something they want, something they need…’ mothers. As much as I love the ethos behind it, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Instead, I’ve tried to make the box as practical as possible. Each one will contain things that they’d get anyway… regardless of Christmas. And things we can do together on Christmas Eve.
The budget for each box was £20, and I bought most things in the sale or at a discounted price. For Tiny Human, I’ve recycled some of the Christmas-themed bits from when Small Human was tiny.
So, this is what will be going in Small Human’s Christmas Eve box this year:
- Christmas Sticker Activity Book
- Peppa Pig Christmas Book
- Paw Patrol Book Set
- Cars DVD
Tiny Human’s Christmas Eve box includes:
- Toy Lion
- Two push-along cars
- ‘That’s Not My…” Christmas books
- Cars 2 DVD (see what I did there…?)
It doesn’t feel too extravagant, and I’m planning to always make them as toy-free as possible.
I’ll let you know how it goes. First, I have to finish painting the damned things.