What is a December Box? Children’s Christmas activity ideas (with FREE printables!)

When Covid hit, it became all about entertaining the kids at home so I switched our usual Christmas Eve Box for a ‘December Box’ instead. Well it turned out to be even better, and I’ve kept the tradition ever since!

So, what is a December box? Well it’s essentially a box of festive activities, clothes, goodies – whatever you like really – to keep the kids busy and help you to make Christmassy memories together throughout December.

Quite honestly, things received on Christmas Eve get a bit lost when the excitement of Christmas Day presents arrive the next morning, and doing Christmas activities after the event isn’t as fun. Plus if you’re buying clothes or PJS they’ll get a month’s wear out of them instead of a day or two – it just makes more sense.

So, join me in ditching the Christmas Eve Box in favour of a December Box of goodies and activities to keep the kids busy on the rainy December weekends, and ensure you have loads of festive fun. You could even have the elf deliver it on December 1st with the kids’ advent calendars too.

To make things super easy, I’ve included all of the FREE, printables I’ve used in my box so that you can organise yours in a flash – it’s all there underneath the video. So check out my December box ideas, and let me know yours too! Most of these things are free, or cheap and cheerful, and you can tailor your box to suit the ages and interests of your little ones – my two are a bit older now, so here’s what I’ve included for them…

@frugalmumuk Children’s December Box ideas, with FREE printables and cheap activities! #decemberboxideas #childrensactivities #christmasevebox #christmasonabudget ♬ original sound – Nat

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Craft Pack

I included a craft pack, made from bits that we already had lurking in our craft supplies, so that it didn’t cost me a penny. I added some folded card in with it too, so that the kids have got everything ready for when they want to make Christmas cards for the family.


Hot Chocolate

I washed up an old coffee jar and added our usual hot chocolate and a layer of marshmallows to make it look a little more special. Combined with this printable ‘North Pole Hot Chocolate’ label, and some ribbon from a present we got last year, it looks pretty cool if I do say so myself!

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Colouring Pages

Take a look at my FREE printable colouring pages – I’ve included a range of different ones to suit different ages and themes. Pop a couple into your box, and you’ve got an easy activity to whip out when the kids are bored at home.

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Paintable Ornaments

I picked up some cheap paint-your-own Christmas decorations from Hobbycraft for £1-£2 each. They sell all sorts of similar things in Wilko, the bargain shops and The Range too, as well as online sites like Amazon if you need quick delivery. You could also add some salt and flour in a bag, ready to make your own ornaments – just check out my three ingredient salt dough recipe and instructions to get started.


Recipe Cards

Print my delicious gingerbread cookies recipe card – perfect to pop into the box with some cookie cutters. You could even prep the dry ingredients and make a cookie mix jar too – but my two love the weighing out so I’ll let them start from scratch. If your little ones aren’t fussed on gingerbread cookies, check out some of my other recipes like Christmas tree cupcakes or easy biscuits.

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Movie Night

Usually I scour the charity shops to find a Christmas movie for 50p-£1 to pop in the box to add to our collection – but we appear to have most of the oldies! 😂 So this year, I’ve popped in a homemade movie night coupon (just click to print yours) and some sweets – so we can hunt out something new on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

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Preworn do some excellent second-hand clothing for around £3-5. (Definitely check them out if you want a cheap Christmas jumper – they have loads to choose from!) So into the box went a brand-new-with-tags Christmas top which Lola will enjoy wearing throughout December. I’ve not done Christmas PJs this year, as Lola’s still got some that were too big from last year, and Finn’s too cool for them 😂 but they would make a great December Box item too.

If your budget is tight, buy a cheap long-sleeve Christmas top and pop it with some PJ bottoms that the kids already have – shop second-hand, or head to somewhere cheap like Primark.


Printable Activities

My kids love word searches, so I’ve popped one into the box – just click on the picture below, and you’ll be able to download and print a word search to keep the little ones entertained on a rainy winter’s day.

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frugal mum, FREE Childrens Christmas Activities, printable Word Search

And, my children are two old for this, but I’ve also got an activity booklet for the little ones which you can print and pop into your box to entertain the kids when they need to something to occupy them at home.

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At Home Escape Room

Now, I was all set to hunt online for a printable Christmas themed escape room, and add my own touches (check out my post: How to make your own DIY escape room at home for some ideas). But, I was saved by paperadventures.co.uk who sent us their at home Christmas Escape room to try – so into the box it went. With my two being older, escape rooms are a brilliant way to keep them entertained now they’re outgrowing toys.

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Speaking of toys, you could pop some into the box – perhaps a Christmas train or an activity like a Christmas puzzle or board game might go down well. I’ve added a ‘Festive Night In’ games box that I picked up in the after Christmas sales from Wilko last year for about a quid! And, my two are still into Lego, so I’ve included a Polar Bear Lego set – don’t forget to check second-hand sites like Vinted or Preloved, or on social media selling pages – there are always lots of bargains to be found! You could add a book too.


Letter to Santa

My two are too old for letters this year (sobs quietly! 😥) so I’ll be texting the North Pole on their behalf. But, if your littles ones are writing to Santa – pop one of my free, printable Letter to Santa templates into the box – just click through to pick your favourite, there are 10 to choose from.

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Reindeer Food

You might also want to put an envelope of reindeer food into your December Box, ready to sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas Eve – click through to find out how to make yours animal safe. And, you can print my free poem label to pop onto the front so that they know what’s inside.

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Cake Decorations

This year we’ve made our own fruit cake, so I purchased some cheap icing characters / decorations to use when we’re ready to decorate, and for any other baking we do too. Remember fruit cakes keep for weeks, and lots of other baked goods can be frozen until the big day if you’d like to get ahead and make December a family bake-off!


Printable Decorations

Check out my free printable colour-in bunting and paper chains to add to your box too – you can print them as many times as you like to keep the kids entertained, and then pop them up around the room for an inexpensive, homemade decoration. It’ll only cost you a few bits of paper but they look so effective – the more in rains in December, the longer our paper chains grow! 😂

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Activity Advent Calendar

And last, but no means least, I’ve included a print out of my Activity Advent Calendar – to give us an activity idea for every day in December. We all love some festive fun to get us in a Christmassy mood, but it doesn’t need to cost the earth. There are so many cheap and cheerful (or free!) Christmas activities that you can do at home with the kids that won’t cost a fortune. So print your copy my Christmas Activity Advent Calendar to get started.

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