How to Start a Santa Sack Tradition

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Looking for a way to make the holidays more meaningful for your children? Learn how to start a Santa Sack tradition and teach your little ones about the value of thinking of others and giving back!

The holidays are such an amazing time for starting new traditions. Having two little ones makes this holiday season even more special for our family, and this year I’m so excited to start the Santa Sack tradition with them!

As a mom, one of my most important focuses is on trying to raise good humans. One of the ways that we are starting the boys early on this is to make sure we help them learn about the importance of giving back and thinking of others from a young age.

When I was pregnant with our oldest, I heard about the Santa Sack tradition, and I was immediately intrigued. No, I’m not talking about Santa leaving toys for your kids under the tree in a special sack: I’m talking about your kids leaving toys for Santa, instead!

santa sack under the tree

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What is the Santa Sack Tradition?

The Santa sack tradition is a wonderful way to start teaching your little ones about people who are less fortunate, and is an easy way to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season.

The Santa sack is also an awesome way to help pare down the amount of toys bursting out of every corner of your house before even MORE toys are added during Christmastime.

I don’t know about you, but no matter how hard we try to limit the amount of “stuff” our children receive as gifts, my boys still seem to have a ton of toys they don’t play with very much (and some things not at all). The Santa sack helps you also simplify and make room for those new toys!

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The concept behind the Santa sack is so easy! Your little ones choose toys that they no longer play with or want to fill a special sack, which Santa takes with him on Christmas Eve to give to other children around the world.

This past year was the first year we were able to do the Santa sack tradition, and it was truly wonderful! We gave him a large red canvas bag when we started decorating the house for Christmas this year, and explained to him that we were going to fill it with some things that he no longer wants for Santa to share with other boys and girls who don’t have as many toys.

While Archer is still young (just under 2.5 years old), he has a BIG heart. Like any toddler, he struggles with sharing sometimes, but when we talking about how other boys and girls aren’t as lucky as he is, he really wants to help. (Baby brother isn’t *quite* there yet, but loves throwing toys into the sack.)

How to Start a Santa Sack Tradition

When it comes to adding to the bag, you can choose to do it however you want. For our family it’s more manageable to add a few toys to the Santa sack at a time, versus trying to pick them all in one night.

Whether you let your children choose the toys they put in the Santa sack totally by themselves, or you gently help them, this is a fun and easy Christmas tradition to start now and continue to do year after year. Once they are old enough, the Santa sack tradition can shift to choosing toys they want to bring to a donation center themselves.

Looking for another way to teach your kids about the reason for the season? Be sure to also check out the Reverse Advent Calendar (Start December 1!)!

Ideas for Ways to Use Santa Sacks

While our family uses Santa sacks to help teach our children about giving to others, there are lots of ways your family can incorporate this tradition! Here are a few ideas:

  • Place large gifts in the Santa sack from Santa, rather than wrapping them, for the children to receive in exchange for the gifts they give.
  • Leave empty at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with unwrapped or wrapped gifts.
  • Fill the bag with wrapped or unwrapped gifts to give to others
  • Use it to carry the gifts you will bring to visit family on Christmas Day.

Where to Purchase a Santa Sack

I found our bag at TJ Maxx, but there are SO many options online for awesome Santa sacks for your family! Here are some of the best ones I found. Just click on the image to view more details

Looking for more holiday fun with your little ones? Be sure to also read these related posts:

DIY Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

The Best Christmas Books for Babies and Toddlers

24 Days of Christmas Books for Advent

How to Make a Paper Chain Advent Calendar

We leave our Santa sack under the tree for Santa each Christmas Eve, next to his plate of milk and cookies. On Christmas Eve that makes it easy for him to find and take with him.

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In the morning that bag of toys will be replaced with new, wrapped gifts from the big guy himself, and our boys will find the sack folded empty on the fireplace with a note from Santa thanking them for having such a giving heart.

Wondering what to do with the toys in the Santa sack after Christmas Eve so that your little ones don’t discover them by accident? I recommend putting them in one of the many Amazon boxes currently laying around your house, seal them up and put it IMMEDIATELY in the trunk. Then when you have time, take them to your Goodwill or other nonprofit!

The Santa sack tradition is a great way to make room for those new gifts while also helping your children understand the idea of generosity and thinking of others. Be sure that the toys that your children choose aren’t broken toys they just want to throw away, or it kind of defeats the purpose of helping them learn how to give to others.

Do you have a similar tradition in your own home like the Santa sack? I would love to hear in the comments how you’re teaching your little ones to give to others!

Start your own Santa Sack tradition with your little ones, and focus on the true meaning of the holiday season!

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  1. Love this idea! I have three children, and we strive to teach the importance of giving. I have Santa’s sacks, so this is a great activity for today!

  2. This is brilliant. I love the concept of timing the giving away of gifts to be at the same time as Christmas – I think it would make it easier for kids to say goodbye to their toys, and not miss their old toys once they are gone.

    1. I’m happy to report that it went GREAT this Christmas! My oldest was so excited to pick out the gifts to give away.

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