Christmas Movie Nights
Christmas,  Shopping

Surprise Christmas Movie Nights in a Box

This is an unsponsored post about surprise Christmas Movie Nights. I only feature products or ideas on Peaceable Mom with which I have personally had a reliable and positive experience. This post includes affiliate links.

Creating Space for Family Togetherness

Several years ago, I figured out that my daughter would experience similar levels of joy, excitement, and surprise opening wrapped “presents”, regardless of whether they held brand new items or items we already own. So, I began wrapping up our Christmas books and movies into a pile of exciting and wonderful surprises. We open these regularly throughout the whole Christmas season.

Each year, without fail, the surprise of not knowing what book we’ll read or Christmas movie we’ll watch until we open the package creates magic, excitement, and – best of all – togetherness. We do this EVERY YEAR in our house with the same movies, and it doesn’t get old. My daughter still loves the same classics year after year after year.

In my daughter’s own words: “I like doing them every year. They’re fun!“.

It’s NOT About The Treats

It’s not about giving a huge, expensive gift. The intention for parents is that we create some holiday magic and togetherness – that we spend time together. The more, the better.

Could we spend time together reading books and watching holiday movies without wrapping them all up, while eliminating the element of surprise? Of course. Does this activity add a level of holiday magic and excitement to our family quality time? You betcha!

I also really love strengthening the association for my daughter between happy, positive surprises and fun, cozy family time. And, as a single mom, I LOVE being able to do so very inexpensively.

Creating surprise Christmas movie nights for your family can cost as little as NOTHING (libraries have DVDs if you’re struggling to get the holiday movies together), or as much as the surprises that you decide to include cost.


Decide whether you’ll just wrap up each film as a surprise, or whether you plan on including additional movie-themed treats. This will determine how you prepare your Christmas movie nights.

  • CHRISTMAS MOVIES | A selection of your favorite Christmas films in either physical or digital form.
  • WRAPPING | Paper (for physical movies) or envelopes (to hold the names of your digital films). Sometimes the Dollar Tree carries movie-themed wrapping paper. I prefer not to give the surprise away before she’s opened the surprise, but can see how this might add to the fun for some kids.


  • MOVIE-THEMED TREATS OR SURPRISES | Spend as little or as much as you like on these. A few Hershey Kisses, a packet of cocoa, new family pajamas, or a gingerbread house to decorate. It doesn’t really matter. The intention is family time and togetherness. So, these treats are the icing on the cake.
  • BOXES | If you’re including treats, you’ll need boxes large enough to pack each Christmas movie night surprise in (I use these boxes from the Dollar Tree. You might need larger boxes to fit surprises for a larger family.)
  • EFFORT | As a single parent, I know that activities costing you precious little energy are ideal. This is why this activity is so flexible. It can meet you where you are. If you don’t have the energy to wrap up movies, throw them in a bag and let the kids pick one with their eyes closed. No pressure.

Christmas Movie Night Ideas

Here are some example ideas for Christmas movie nights and surprises. As a note: If you’re LOST for ideas for a particular move, picking up a simple gingerbread house or village to decorate makes a WONDERFUL surprise and family activity to do while enjoying a film.

The Grinch

Hershey makes these cute Grinch Chocolate Kisses. I picked up a larger kiss for our movie night, but if you have a larger family, you might want to go for a bag. In my experience, Walmart usually has a good selection of Grinch themed items.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph is a classic that gets played every year in our house. This year, I picked up a couple of these cute little red-nosed lip pops to include in this Christmas move night surprise. Last year, I included a couple of these red noses in the box. They were a hit!

Home Alone (1 & 2!)

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is Home Alone. I think that’s because it came out when I was a kid. (Macaulay Culkin and I are probably about the same age at this point – wah!) So, this is always on my list of movies to watch during the holidays, and my daughter also loves it.

For our fun surprise this year, I’m going to write “order pizza” on paper and include it in the box. I think pizza – cheese pizza in particular – goes really, really well with a Home Alone movie night. We all know how Kevin McAllister felt about Buzz eating all of his cheese pizza (poor kid!). My daughter is a cheese pizza fanatic, as seem to be many kids.

Watching the Home Alone movies (both 1 & 2!) are great opportunities to overdo it a bit with the sweets and treats if you’re so inclined. With the second movie, an ice cream extravaganza would be spectacular!

If ordering pizza and eating sweets aren’t your preferences, you can include new toothbrushes instead, because we know – thanks to Home Alone – how important it is to have those ADA approved toothbrushes.

The Polar Express

In keeping with the theme here, I’ve picked up some individual Starbucks hot cocoa packets and a couple of cute, marshmallow cocoa toppers. A bag of marshmallows would do the trick just as well. If you’re not so big on cocoa, consider including a Christmas bell for each child.


For this Christmas movie night, I break out a silly bearded elf hat I picked up a few years ago. We take turns wearing it, and it gets pretty giggly. I also include these fun holiday 3D glasses. When you look at the holiday lights through them, you see little elves. Yes, I acknowledge we are corny – but this kind of corniness is my jam.

If you’re adventurous, try having spaghetti and maple syrup for dinner during this Christmas movie night. I suspect some kids somewhere will find this THE BEST idea ever. Unfortunately, my daughter isn’t one of them.

Frosty the Snowman

Another classic we ADORE in our home. This year I’m including some matching cotton snowman pajamas and these Frosty gummies. I like to splurge on one new set of jammies each year, and these are adorable. Alternatively, building marshmallow snowmen is always a hoot. Again, I’ve seen some really cute Frosty themed candies at a couple of the major retailers in our area. These shouldn’t be all too difficult to find near you.

What Are YOUR Favorite Christmas Movies?

Of course, there are MANY more options for Christmas movie nights. Which Christmas movies are your favorites?

Bonus Movie for Single Moms (YEP!)

This one you won’t be sharing with the kiddos, but may offer YOU some much needed belly laughter. If you’re able to arrange a movie night for yourself and/or friends check out A Bad Moms Christmas. This one is a guilty pleasure for me around the holidays. All you need is your favorite bottle of wine and a box of chocolates (or a hunk of Brie!) to eat (all by yourself!).

More Fun With Holiday Book Surprises

If you’re interested in more ways to create holiday magic and warm togetherness with your family, check out this post on using Christmas books you already own. My daughter and I do this each year as well – because not every night can be movie night – and, because the childhood years fly by, and must simply be treasured. Every moment is the gift for mama. Merry Christmas.

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