It's not that the presents weren't great or appreciated.
It wasn't that the food wasn't delicious and filling.
And I enjoyed being with family and friends and visiting and all the other wonderful things we do at Christmas...
But the stockings!
They weren't just a catch bag for 'more stuff'.
My excitement wasn't just a greed induced euphoria...
The stockings would be filled with wonderful little things and it was like opening a chest of treasures. There could be anything in them, and my anticipation and imagination worked overtime from the moment I woke up. It wasn't about what I would get. It was about what could be.
To a girl who was a bit of a dreamer, 'what could be' meant So much.
Now that I'm an adult, I still love the Christmas morning stockings. I no longer find them the best part of Christmas but oh! they are still a very good part!
Ever since DH and I began our own family, 'Santa and I' have never had a problem finding stocking stuffers for the stockings. Some things are traditional musts. Other stuffers that fill the rest of the stocking depend on the personality receiving the sock.
In my family, as a child, stuffers were all from Santa, and unwrapped (Santa does not have time to wrap I was told). Stockings did not come out to be hung until Christmas eve.
Today with my own family, we take some of the onus off Santa. Yes, Santa does bring stuffers, but we also provide some of them too. Our stockings are out right away and small gifts are added through the Christmas season. Santa tops them off when he comes on Christmas eve.
This is becoming more popular I think. In some families everyone gives everyone else one stuffer. Some add one each day for twelve days (something along the idea of the twelve days of Christmas). Some families don't do present at all among the adults and just shop/create for stuffers.
I prefer the combined method of both Santa and family/friends for a few reasons.
First, everyone gets surprise stuffers, and Santa's adult helper in the house is included. Ahem
It allows personal gifts from family (like a letter) to be included in the stockings.
It creates a greater feeling of 'what could be in there'. So fun!
It is more feasible both by time and cost to give to my extended family and friends as well. Oh sure, I could do the same things without a stocking (and I do for the Santa stuffing only households) but it's just more fun in a sock! Y'know?
I have a wide range of items here for young and old, including a few adult-only gifts. Some will be under a dollar, others will cost quite a bit more. Most are small but some are a little bigger for filling up those larger stockings (some are quite huge). Many items are fairly versatile and can be given to everyone, like a snow globe. Other things will require you know the person really well... like razors, so as to buy the brand they use.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my super duper 'Tis the Season stocking stuffer list that has been added to from year to year. I like to read my list over before heading out so there are some ideas freshly floating around in my mind.
In our home, everything is fair game in the stocking from the moment you wake up, including any edibles (even before brunch). The items in the stocking reflect this rule.
- an orange (in the toe, of course), and I know other people also use apples and bananas
- trail mix made by elves - think holiday colored chocolate chips and holiday m&ms mixed with cran-raisins, raisins, other dried fruit, peanuts and other nuts of assorted kinds, marshmallows. Mix it all up and add to snack size baggies. Decorate the baggie with stickers, ribbons, etc.
- homemade/store bought nuts and bolts or a pretzel/cracker type 'trail mix'. Again, use decorated baggies.
- beef jerky. Again, the baggies.
- a juice box. Sometimes covered with Christmas paper (glued on) or decorated with ribbon.
- nuts including in-the-shell peanuts
- specialty tea packs
- hot chocolate packs
- special blend coffee packs
- animal crackers or goldfish crackers
- cereal bowls/boxes (the little ones for one person)
- local preserves or canned items like salsa, jam, nutella or jelly
- hard candy
- Christmas chocolates
- a Kinder's Surprise. This one is included every year. How can you beat a toy in chocolate?
- a candy cane (always)
- gold chocolate coins
- a chocolate marshmallow Santa/Frosty/reindeer or the same but on a stick
- chocolate of any kind, found at this time of year in a Christmas theme
for travelling, for a purse or in a car
These come in all kinds. Check out the travel sized section (usually by the shampoo and soap aisles) in a couple stores. Some ideas to look for:
- shampoo, conditioner, hair spray and other styling aids
- travel containers for shampoo/conditioner/soap bars, that can be refilled for the one always on the go
- bubble bath (create your own 'cooking' or 'science lab' sets from little containers and bubble bath in fun colors from the dollar store. Great for multiple children)
- other small bath items like bath bombs, oil capsules, bath salts
- hand sanitizer
- hand or body lotion
- air freshener
- Q-tips (cotton swab sticks)
- first aid kit
- band-aids (character types for kids)
- sewing kit
- lip chap/balm
- shaving cream
- packets for masks, body wraps and peels
Other Personal Items
- bath loofah or bath sponge
- bath pillow
- manicure sets, nail clippers, nail files, tweezers
- nail polish
- pumice stone and other pedicure items
- makeup - lipstick, eyeliner, eye shadow palettes, mascara in fun colors, body powder or glitter
- makeup tools like brushes, eye lash curler, sponges
- eye masque (the kind used for spa treatment or puffy eyes)
- toothbrush, toothpaste
- hair clasps, ribbons, holders, barrettes
- small mirror for a purse or travelling
- mustache groomer
- snow globes
- a Christmas ornament. This is super for children. There are some amazing decorations out there. Each child can receive one a year and place it on the tree. When they leave home, they have a small box of ornaments and memories to start themselves off.
- pet rock. Even better if you paint it yourself.
- glow sticks
- noise makers
- silly straw
- silly string
- Stamp set for collectors
- Coin set for collector
- Collectable spoon or thimble, etc
- Trading Cards
- Shot glass
- Fridge Magnet
- Rock or mineral kit
- Key chain
- guitar picks or a guitar pick punch to make your own
- a kazoo. even if you cant play a note, anyone can hum with a kazoo
- sheets of music
- travel sized rubics cube. Often toy dispensers have them on key chains
- travel games
- card games like Uno, Skip Bo, Sorry, Risk
- a cribbage board and a pack of cards (and teach them how to play), or - instructions for another card game you enjoy and a pack Christmas-themed cards or another theme suited to the receiver.
- dice, with instructions for farkle
- pickup sticks or dominoes
- matchbox cars
- kite kit
- airplanes - paper kits, model planes to be glued or clipped together, styrofoam punch-out planes or wooden models
- models of many kinds - trains, cars and more
- wooden puzzle/model kit
- lego - there are lots of small sets
- brain teasers, great to pass around with gathered groups
- play dough
- silly putty (great with a comic book. Show the recipient how it will copy the comic page)
- magna doodle
- coloring books
- story books
- slinkies - even if they only make it a couple days before they can no longer be used because they are hopelessly tangled
- plastic characters like soldiers, dinosaurs and animals. Great for crafters and gardeners too. Who doesn't want a dinosaur under their spider plant?
- wind-up animals
- sticky hands
- miniature dolls like polly pockets, action figures, small stuffed animals, or a nice Christmas stuffy to peek out the top of the stocking
- finger puppets
- parachute men
- barbie clothes or clothes and accessories for other dolls
- paper dolls - Yes! they are still fun.
- felt dolls - make them yourself using paper dolls as patterns
- a piggy bank
- glow in the dark planets, stars, hearts, etc These are great for a child's room
- hex bugs
- science kits of many kinds
- golf balls and tees
- fishing lures
- hacky sack
- swim goggles
- magnifying glass
- carbiners (can really be for everyone. I use one on my purse for all sorts of things and another to keep my daughters ponytail holders from escaping all over the house)
- pen knife, jack knife or multipurpose tool
- magnesium /flintbar firestarter
- safe drinking, filtering straw
- alcohol burning 'camp stove' - great in the trunk of a car for just in case, or for hikers, snowmobilers and other people out and about in nature.
- wax or tape for sporting equipment like skateboards or surfboards and hockey sticks
- water bottle
- garden seed packs. there are some crazy plants in our world so don't forget to check around online for all kinds of options
- plant markers
- garden tools or gloves
- measuring spoons
- spice jars
- egg slicer/apple corer/grapefruit spoon/egg cup/turkey baster/garlic press/etc
- barbeque supplies - flipper, tongs, skewers
- crafty tools like beading pliers or embroidery frames
- unusual buttons, ribbons and other notions
- scrapbook packs
- art supplies including stencils, pencils or charcoal for sketching, color pencils, paints, pastel crayons, fabric paint, chalk, finger paint and more
- craft kits, either premade or made by you with instructions
- craft supplies, hobby supplies
- batteries - AA is the most commonly needed size
- disposable cameras - great for even young ones. They capture some interesting shots
- sd cards
- USB stick/flash drive
- Printer Ink cartridges
- dvds for movies or music
- a dvd of lullabies made up for young ones
- audio books or radio shows on dvd. there are tons of great classics that can be downloaded for free
- video games
- mp3 player preloaded with music or audio books
- ear buds
- small personal radio
- weather radio
- alarm clock - great for a traveller
- solar charger for phones and gadgets
- snow wear like mittens, toques
- cooking apron or mitts
- Assorted small picture frames
- A picture frame with a signed picture of Santa
- a Handwritten letter. This might be a letter expressing your love or appreciation for another person. In some households, everyone writes everyone else a letter.
- gift cards - come for everything now. This could be for something small like coffee or something big like a hotel room, a spa or an expensive restaurant. Or how about a gift card for fresh flowers!
- window crystal
- treasure box
- music box
- lighter; Zippo makes some really nice ones
- cigarette/cigar case
- charitable donation gift receipt
- Mini spirits or wine bottles, think airplane size
- Rice packs for lunches or heat packs
- Stationary supplies like pens, pencils, erasers. They come in fun themes like Hello Kitty (for example) and many more. Get the 'smelly' ones for kids in fruit and candy scents. For adults think about a nice set or maybe an engraved pen.
- Comics, Magazines and Books are all great additions
- Lottery or scratch tickets
- Horoscope scroll/book (found at most grocery store checkouts)
- small umbrella
- luggage tags
- wallet, money clip or change purse
- Eyeglass case or repair kit
- notebooks, address books, mini journals
- reusable shopping bags, make up bags and other small cases for purse and diaper bag organization
- money rolled up and wrapped with a small curling ribbon
- tape measure
- single tools - screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc
- containers of/for screws and nails
- tire pressure gauge
- duct tape
- spiritual charms, pendants or prayer beads
- a cross
- a pentagram
- spiritual figurines
- book of inspiration
- small bible
- booklet about the religious symbols of the Twelve Days of Christmas, or a charm bracelet with charms to represent each day and symbol.
- oracle or tarot cards
- a small container of holy water
Some families will decide on a theme for each year. Others choose one item for each letter of the word Christmas (for example, a ring for 'r'). Some will choose a theme, based on the person (a child in love with ballet might receive ballet slippers, ballet dvds, or tickets to an upcoming ballet performance).
I've also seen (from somewhere, I saved it but never kept the source. sorry) stocking 'guidelines'. They might just be rules decided on or they could be determined by traditional poems like this one.
Something to eat.
Something to read.
Something to play with.
Something you need!
Something in red.
Something in gold.
Something to treasure,
As you grow old.
A pen and some "thank you's!"
Stockings to wear.
Brushes to use,
On your teeth & your hair.
And last, but not least,
A collectible thing
To each of our family
Will Santa Claus bring.
Keep your eyes open when you are out and about and the stocking stuffers will jump out at you. Check out the impulse items at checkout. They are great this time of year.
Watch for gifts with purchase that often have perfect little items to use as stuffers (if you aren't keeping the gift). The Dollar stores and Bargain shops are fantastic spots for all things little and stuffing-like.
And of course, don't forget about online shopping. Etsy has wonderful, unique gifts you can get. Try gifts.com - they have tons of neat things. Or just google 'stocking stuffers'. There are many many links.
I hope this gives you some ideas for stockings this year.