7 Mistakes Parents Should Avoid on Christmas Eve

Avoid these 7 mistakes on Christmas Eve so you can have a fun and meaningful Christmas Day free of meltdowns with your kids. 

Family on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a day filled with anticipation and excitement. Children and parents alike are super excited to see what Christmas Day will bring.

With that excitement can come many mistakes that lead to a more stressful Christmas Day. Here are some mistakes to avoid on Christmas Eve so you can all better enjoy Christmas Day.

Packing in Too Many Activities

There is so much you want to get done and perhaps many family activities you want to attend (or feel obligated to attend). Do not pack your Christmas Eve with too much. That just leads to you being set up to fail and have a rough Christmas Day.

You know your children and family best and know what is “too much” for you. What is too much for one family is not enough for another. Just really be honest with yourself. Do not be afraid to say no. What is a no this year doesn’t mean it has to be no forever.

A great idea is to have a list of your desired Christmas activities, parties, and traditions that you reference throughout the month so you can spread out the fun. You don’t need to do every tradition in one day (and you don’t need to do every tradition out there). You can even do some things after Christmas if you run out of time.

Read: Family Christmas Traditions: 17 Fun Traditions Children Will Love

Not Taking Advantage of Celebrating the Reason for the Season

Be intentional on Christmas Eve. Even if you are not religious, you probably focus on giving and helping others at this time of year. 

Take the time to celebrate the reason for the season on Christmas Eve. It is a great chance to do some service or to reenact the birth of Jesus as outlined in Luke 2. Read some scriptures, read an uplifting story, and reach out to others. It helps set up a sweet spirit for Christmas Day.

Read: 5 Ways to Keep Christmas Christ-Focused

Letting Kids Stay Up Too Late

It is easy to let kids stay up too late if you commit to too many activities on Christmas Eve. 

Keep in mind that after the kids are in bed, parents still have work to do before they can go to bed. Don’t hesitate to let the kiddos know that, also. You don’t have to give details of what you will be doing, but let them know you all need to get to bed at a good time and that the sooner they go to sleep, the sooner Christmas morning will come.

Kids will likely wake up early Christmas morning. We all know sleep is important for happy attitudes, so letting kids stay up too late can really set you up for meltdowns on a day that is very stimulating for kids. 

Find a middle ground with some activities. Maybe you really want to watch a Christmas movie Christmas Eve. Pick a movie that is short, like the original Grinch or Frosty the Snowman movies. 

Read: Top 17 Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Kids

Staying Up Too Late as Parents

If you stay up late as the parent, you will end up being grumpy on Christmas. That will be something you regret. We all want to enjoy the day as much as possible. Do what you need to ahead of time so you can go to bed at a reasonable hour.


Not Setting Christmas Morning Ground Rules and Expectations

Before you put your kiddos to bed, set your ground rules and expectations. If you have a time kids are required to stay in bed until, let them know that stands on Christmas morning. If you are willing to have them get up earlier, let them know what time that is. 

A cute idea I have heard of recently is to tell kids that the last one out of their room in the morning gets to be the first one to open a present Christmas morning. That is a great way to motivate kids to stay in their room as long as possible on Christmas morning. 

Mistakes Parents Make on Christmas Eve Pinnable Image

Wrapping and Labeling Santa Gifts Suspiciously

We always use different wrapping paper for Santa gifts than we use for our other gifts. 

I have always written in a different handwriting on Santa gifts, but my big kids tell me the labels are the number one thing that tipped them on the truth about the big guy. So even if you think you are clever, you might not be clever enough. Computers are a great tool for helping you out here.

Read: What Should I Tell My Children About Santa Claus

Not Attending To Cookies and Milk

Make sure you take care of the cookies and milk your little ones left out for Santa. They will be deflated if they wake up in the morning and see it untouched. The cookies and milk are the only real way they can tell Santa “Thank you,” and they love to see their small gift was received. 

Do not be afraid to put cookies back if you can’t stuff it all in there (unless you have someone counting things–if that is the case, the garbage can is a great resource). 


Christmas Day is a holiday we all want to cherish and make great memories. This is much easier to do if you set yourself up for success with some simple steps on Christmas Eve. 

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