I think I love stuffing stockings almost more than any other gift giving at Christmas time!! My mom made our family’s stockings and they are just beautiful! But they’re a little bit small. It seemed that no matter how small I kept the stocking stuffers, half of them still wouldn’t fit through the top! I finally bought the boys new, bigger stockings. My mom’s stockings are still hanging for decoration and will always be among our favorite Christmas decor. You can read more about her hand made stockings here.
I have learned during my last 13 stocking stuffing years that filling stockings with junk is a waste of money and toy box space. There are all kinds of little things on the ends of store aisles that are touted as “Great Stocking Stuffers”, but they’re made of junk. The kids will play with them for a total of two minutes before they get lost under the couch cushions.
I now avoid junkie toys and go with items that are truly usable, educational, or consumable.
This year (don’t tell my kids), they’re getting quite a few consumable items. I got them some treats that we hardly ever buy, which means they’ll be thrilled to find them in their stockings! Here are some consumables they’re either getting this year or have been given in years past:
- Annie’s Mac and Cheese box
- Juicy Juice 100% juice
- Pack of Gum
- A Can of Black Olives
- A Favorite Candy
- Cereal Bars
- A Small Jar of their Favorite Jelly
- Sunflower Seeds
- Beef Jerky
- Fruit Leather
I love consumable stocking stuffers because well…they will be quickly consumed. They won’t get lost in a toy box never to be seen again. They’re treats we rarely enjoy, making them a pretty special gift!
Here is a list of items I recommend that are fun, small enough to fit into most stockings and either educational or useful!
- Veggie Tales DVDs
- Sewing Kits from The Whole KIT ‘n Kaboodle
- Card games like Blink, Old Maid, Skip-Bo…
- Regular decks of cards
- Mittens or gloves, hats, scarves, ear muffs
- Socks (okay, bordering on being in the “not fun” category, but my kids are always happy to see socks without holes)
- Fun bandaids
- Hair clips and such for little girls (although I have no experience in this area!!)
- School supplies
What items do you put in your kids’ stockings?
This isn’t really for small kids, but my mom started doing themed stocking stuffers when we were in HS school and still does them today. One year we all got car stuff- tire gauge, air freshener, window scraper, de-icer, etc. Another year it was school supplies- cute journals or notebooks, nice pens, silly stickers, calculators, etc.
When we were little it was apples, oranges and toothbrushes. I’m not sure what we’ll do with our daughter- she’s still a little young so we can get away with not much.
Dawn Avant says
We do consumables, too. My kids get their fav bubble bath, shampoo, fave toothpaste flavor, a new toothbrush, some flossers, granola bars that I don’t typically buy, etc. They love it and the stuff gets used up.
Our kids’ stocking stuffers have included:
– tickets to a monster truck show in January (cheap nosebleed seats for the whole family)
– iTunes gift cards
– chocolate oranges
– pens, especially silly ones
– lip balm
– little windup toys
– mini sketch pads or note pads
And in our family, it is a standing joke that it just isn’t Christmas unless we get socks and underwear. Haha! Though for a stocking stuffer, I would be sure to get colorful Christmas socks, toe socks, or something silly :0)
My kids who are now 17, 15 and 14 always get a Lifesaver story book. The number of life saver rolls has gone down and the price has steadily gone up over the years, but it is a tradition and who can resist trading the Wild Cherry for the Butter Rum? =) This year I had a coupon, so that was great!
We always got an orange in the bottom of our stockings when I was a kid, but my kids miss out on that one.
We also do some things that we don’t normally have like microwave popcorn and gummy worms.
Flashlights, little tools, gift cards, hair accessories, mini bicycle pumps, key chains, etc. all work well too.
This year we have scaled way back on our Christmas gift giving…so the kids are getting one gift to share, a couple books, and their stockings. That’s it. My husband and I are doing only stockings for eachother. So – there are a few small toys in the kids stockings but I agree with you: Stockings are so much fun! And why waste money on junk?
Socks and underwear always make our stockings – I think they’d be disappointed if they weren’t in there!:) But otherwise it is usually consumables. Some things that I don’t think I saw yet – small notebooks for church notes, tights for the girls, small tissue packs – they love these for church(we don’t have to play whisper down the line to ask mom for one this way either!), and stationery with their initial on it(usually can be found inexpensively at dollar stores or Michael’s). And I second a lot of the ideas already listed! Love the themed ideas too as kids get older!
Fun sparkly nail polish is always a big hit in the stockings of both me AND my daughter!
My son? Hotwheels
My husband is the hard one: car wash certificates? $5 movie tickets?
I don’t have children but I do fill my husband’s stocking with toothbrushes, special body wash, shaving balm and a few bits of candy.
We always got fun toothbrushes and those “magic washcloths” that unfold when you drop them in water. The girls also got little lotions, shower gels, bubble baths, and chapsticks.
Crystal J says
There must be an orange in the toe of the stocking! It’s a tradition my mom did with me and my sister and now we do it with boys! It just fits perfectly!
My kids get consumables: candy, fruit snacks
And the irony: They aso get toothbrushes! HA!
Puzzels- Dollar tree sells 24 piece puzzels and my son (4) LOVES them. He is really good about keeping them together.. because he knows that if we can’t find a piece, the rule is that it needs to be thrown away! So, he’s getting 2 of those.
Notebooks- They both love to doodle and play different pretend games with small notebooks and we go through a lot of them.
Movies- Veggie Tales, Sesame Street, Hermie and Friends
For my older boys: Theater gift cards, film, Walgreens gift card (to develop the film), earbuds, chocolate bars, brain teaser and logic books, nice drawing pencils.
What great ideas! I’m writing some of these down. It’s funny since we’ve gotten rid of all the junk, my kids will think juice boxes are a treat! We put fun toothbrushes in their stockings every year. I hadn’t thought of fun bandaids. My kids would love that, although my almost 4 year old would use them like stickers.
Consumable stuff leaves no mess for mommy to clean up after! =)
And they are practical. I don’t like wasting money on things my kids can’t use. Movie tickets, nail polish, lip balm and more! Great list! Oh yeah, hubby’s the tough part.
I try to mostly do hygiene items like bubble bath, body wash, special toothpastes, etc. and then special snacks. However this year, it’s a little different. My son (6) is getting a Toy Story themed sock with Toy Story 3, Toy Story Mac n’Cheese, Toy Story water bottle, etc. My daughter (albeit a little young at 21 mo) is getting a Beauty and the Beast themed sock with comparable items. I got each of the movies at Safeway months ago when they came out and they had their “buy the movie, get X,Y,Z free” promotions. My son’s also getting some Silly Bandz and MAYGE some gum this year as a VERY special treat (I have a no gum policy for kids!). Thanks for all the ideas!
When I was growing up, the stocking stuffers were my favorite! Now that I have kids of my own (still toddler stage), I have the most fun selecting items for their stockings. We don’t go overboard on the gifts in our family. I get them a couple toys but try to make them educational/inspirational, we get them books, board games, outside toys (like bikes), they get clothes, panties/socks, etc. Growing up, we didn’t get lots of extras throughout the year so we got (what was to us) tons of stuff at Christmas but it was practical things we needed. I do the same for my kids now. They get most of that year’s wardrobe at Christmas/bday time. But I also do put a lot of focus on the stocking stuffers because, like you said, you can do practical items.
For my toddlers (a girl and a boy), I’ve done thus far: sippy cups, hair accessories, hot wheels, purse accessories (brush, mirror, coin holders, etc), pez dispensers, little notebooks/coloring books/regular books, fun straws, wind up flashlights (AWESOME idea for kids of any age; no batteries to worry about), any type of fun bath item imaginable (moms- look for those crayola bath crayons at Walmart; sounds like a mess but they work great and wipe up super easy w/ just water!), chapstick, flash cards, fun socks, watches, sunglasses, those glow in the dark necklaces (great for holiday bonfires), coloring/craft items, beanie hats, playing cards, measuring tape, toothpaste w/ their fav character, poof sponges (for bath), their first bibles were (wrapped) stocking stuffers, flower seeds (the kind you PLANT! my kids love planting tehm and seeing them grow in the spring) etc.
For husband: fishing bait, mini maglight flashlights (uses them for work), any type of smaller tool, hand warmers, his favorite munchies that aren’t regularly in the budget, beanie hats, air fresheners (for his truck), wallet, playing cards, pocket knife/leatherman tool, gum, a new belt, mini notebooks (he likes them in his truck for writing down things at work), thermost, armor all wipes, duct tape, those plastic pull tie things, etc.
I fill my mom’s stocking the last couple of years and things I used were: lotion, bath items, magnetic notepads for fridge, small framed pics of the grandkids, poof sponge, small kitchen things (like new stainless steel spoons, for example), fuzzy socks, small notebooks (for her purse), chocolate covered cherries, flavored coffee/hot chocolate, seeds (for her garden), etc.
We always got socks and panties (usually those w/ days of the week on them) and loved them! And now I do that for my kids & husband!
nancy broyles says
Seriously? A can of black olives? :-)
*giggle* I KNOW. Weird, isn’t it? But three out of four of my boys LOVE black olives and will be thrilled to have their very own can!! :)
Michelle H. says
And all these years I thought I was the only kid who got olives in her stocking (and Easter basket). I was notorious for eating them all off a relish tray while the dinner table was being set, so getting my very own can was a thrill!
I am totally going to do the black olives thing! 2 of my girls love them and will each eat an entire can in one sitting. But I rarely get them. Thank you for the fun ideas!
Robyn O. says
Toothbrushes, soap, socks, gum, fancy band-aids,chap stick, oranges,chocolates, maple sugar candy, and a few other rarely purchased favorites. My 7 year-old likes a particular brand of package red pepper soup better than my homemade, so that usually ends up in her stocking. My 9 year-old really loves summer sausage, which I almost never buy, so he gets his own log each year in his stocking. They are always thrilled to see their favorites, and I love that something as simple as soup does the trick! This year, they decided to fill each other’s stockings, so there are a few new things involved like whoopie cushions, pez dispensers, prisms, and inexpensive gem stones. They were really thoughtful about buying for each other. Made this mama happy to see it!
Kris Mays says
Why not canned olives? Kids love ’em!
This is the only time of year I actually buy my kids gum. I get the “natural gum” and we also found organic lollipops last year which were really good, too.
We put in natural chapstick, pencils, and new pair of gloves, crazy toe socks and earrings for my girl. Hot Wheels, videos, cds, movie tickets, ice cream certificates and more.
My husband started the orange thing when we first married. So we do that, too!
Abbigail Gutierrez says
Im bummed because I have 4 kids who hate olives…they do not get this from me or my husband. Sad. :)
Maureen Sklaroff says
First of all, I have a blog award for you at http://www.homeschoolmo.com/2010/12/ive-been-awarded-blog-award.html. Secondly, this is a great list. I actually stopped doing stockings with my kids, because it was just too much for me to get creative with stockings on top of all the other holiday planning. Plus, they were never very appreciative of their stockings once they got to be about 10 years old. I may start doing them again, now that I have another little one.
I was quite pleased one day to walk into the target and find charlie brown themed items in there 1.00 section.
I got each of the kids a charlie brown coffee mug and charlie brown hot chocolate packets.
The baby got some mickey mouse socks that I also found on the 1.00 isle.
The bulk of their stockings will be consumables as well!!
I love filling our kids’ stockings – it’s just as much fun as choosing their “big” gifts. A few things that are always in my daughter’s stocking are pens, post-it notes, and scotch tape. Those are the items she constantly “borrows” from my desk and then forgets to return. She loves having her own!
Jenn (GH) says
I’d rather put less but nice things in the stockings that are still fun. We usually get one of two nice toys like a smaller Lego set or an action figures and then give them candy. I don’t like giving them candy but they get so little of it throughout the year that it makes Christmas stockings really fun.
I’m confused by your list. Things like beef jerky, sunflower seeds, and fruit are treats that they don’t normally get? Do you consider those unhealthy?
Ooh, that is confusing. No, several things on that list are consumables they don’t get very often like boxed mac and cheese and juice. Fruit and sunflower seeds I don’t consider unhealthy…I was just adding more to the list and didn’t think about how I had framed that. As far as beef jerky goes, I haven’t learned to make it yet so what I can buy at the store has MSG, making it a rare treat.
Jenn (GH) says
Ah ha! I thought that is probably what you meant but wasn’t’ sure. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and we seem like we share similar food philosophies but this threw me a bit. I just saw a post not too long ago where someone was making beef jerky out of ground beef (free range, grass fed, organic…or course. ;-) ) It looked really easy and fairly frugal. I’ve been wanting to make it but I can’t remember the blog even though I swore to myself I wouldn’t forget. :-) I didn’t know about the MSG. I get my beef jerky from Trader Joe’s and while it’s not organic (ect) I’m almost certain it doesn’t have MSG. I’ve read the label don’t remember seeing it listed. Does MSG have to be listed. (That’s probably a dumb question but the MSG thing is news to me.)
Often, but not always, if “natural flavors” are mentioned in the ingredients, that can mean MSG. I don’t have easy access to a TJs, but I may be near one soon and will have to check this out. My boys would LOVE it!
I love the idea of consumables – I’m making my list for shopping from this post – thank you! For my girls (11 & 15) it is usually hygiene products, candy, fuzzy socks, and of course a calendar every year (it doesn’t fit inside so we stand it up behind the stocking.
My husband gets gag gifts. Whoopie cushions, silly putty etc.
I told everyone that I would be happy with only candles in my stocking!
But I will be doing consumables too this year – what a great idea!
Holly in Virginia says
I have a 2 year old and this year he will be getting some candy, because we allow candy in moderation (special occasions only). But most of his stocking will be filled with an orange, an Elmo toothbrush, Elmo bandaides, stickers (he loves stickers), chunky crayons, finger paints, etc.
Growing up my mom always gave us practical things in our stocking. An orange in the toe (a must!), pencils, pretty hair bands, a new hairbrush, a toothbrush with a favorite cartoon character on it (normally we had the plain family pack ones), pretty socks, special bandaides, that sort of thing. And we always loved it!
What fabulous ideas! It is always a delight to hear the thoughts of like-minded ladies who are keeping it simple :) While I can’t take credit for this idea, a friend and I were discussing Christmas gifts the other day, and she is going to get her 4 and 5 year olds their own librabry card. I thought that was an excellent idea!
Also, “coupons” are always a fun idea . . . “This coupon entitles you to choose what our family has for dinner one night”, “This coupon entitles you to choose the movie for family movie night”, “This coupon entitles you to choose a fun location for school/homework one day” are amongst the coupons that will help fill our stockings!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
I also meant to add that we have very similar stocking at our house, with a very similar story. My mom made stockings for our family when I was 13. They were made from quilted material with various Christmas prints on them, and our names are cross-stitched on the top. As family members are added through the years, she makes a new stocking. They don’t all match exactly, and my youngest son’s name is even in a different “font” is different than the rest, but they are one of my most favorite Christmas decorations! I’m so glad you have such beautful, tangible memories of your mom!
Jessica Nunemaker says
That’s the same take we are doing with stockings this year. No more junk toys!
After a couple years of “junk” stockings, my husband came up with “stockings for a purpose” and we’ve loved coming up with creative purpose-ful ideas for stockings. Last year our son’s was God’s armor, and he got some plastic armor with the components of the armor of God printed on them (sheild of faith, helmet of salvation, etc), the book “Will, God’s Mighty Warior”, and other items to go along that theme. My daughters stockings this year are going to focus on inner beauty with some Gigi books, some home-making toys, aprons etc. since they have both been asking if they are pretty and we want them to learn they are pretty because God made them and when they serve others (or pretend to) they are beautiful. We’ve done Noah’s Ark themed stockings too with beanie babies once, and Little People toys. One year my son’s was the 7 days of creation with a storybook on creation, some glow-in-the-dark stars for his ceiling, flashlight, and other items, one for each day of creation. We also plan to use their stocking to teach them about their name’s Bible story (each of our chilren has a name from the Bible). We hope to continue to redeem the stocking and be purposeful in our giving.
We use a box instead of a stocking. Last year it was a little bigger then an oatmeal box. It is nice because we can make them bigger or smaller each year depending on what we want to put in them. We wrap them with plain paper then the kids decorate them. I fill them with special breakfast items (donuts, poptarts or muffins), a Lego/Duplo toy, a candy cane filled with candy and this year a slinky. Then when they wake up on Christmas they eat their breakfast and play with their legos until mom and dad get ready. After breakfast they take their box and fill it with toys to give away. Then start our other traditions.
what a fantastic tradition :) as an added plus, as you are giving
the box away you dont have to worry about finding extra storage room.
Sandra Woodroof Milholland says
Laura, your mother was dear to me from childhood so I enjoyed spending a long time looking at the items she made with her own hands, and enjoying again the memories I have of our childhood. Thank you for that special holiday treat!
Oh Sandra, thank you so much for sharing this with me!!! You have made my day (even if I am a little teary eyed). :) You have given ME a special gift today of your memories of my mom.
Practical stuff in stockings is the way we always go. Just the other day my son mentioned that he hoped he would have some new socks in his stocking as he is still wearing the ones he got last year! And on the black olives, my niece and nephew always got them in their stocking as well as some wrapped with other gifts. They never new where they might find some. Canned goods are great for adding weight to disguise a gift!
My mom is the Queen of stocking stuffers! She usually got us consumables as well, but as we got older you could really see her meeting the needs. For example, my husband who is lactose-intolerant always gets Lactaid in his stocking. I who have allergy issues always find a bottle of claritin in mine. And lots of socks! In a variety of colors and designs. :)
My mom always gave me and my brother toothbrushes in our stockings – and I do the same for my kids. Mine are preschoolers, so this year they are getting one of the fancy character spinbrush kinds that they always beg for. Other than that, they get a couple pieces of candy and maybe one simple small toy (like a hot wheel). Simple!!
Some good ideas. We’re all about stuff that they can use/eat. We’re doing toothbrushes/toothpaste, hot cocoa mix, fruit/fruit snacks, bandaids, an ornament. My children are almost 4 and 19 months, so it’s great to hear some other neat ideas too! :)
auntie thesis says
This year, I went for educational stuff and novelty items for the stockings.
My 12 year old nephew is getting a science themed stocking, complete with astronaut food, glow in the dark planet decals, a gyroscope, an impossiball, some moon blob gel, a swiss army knife [not exactly scientific but he’s been hounding his grandma about getting him one for awhile now], and a hexbug. He’s also getting a toothbrush, bodyspray, and some pencils.
My 4 year old nephew is getting a classic/old fashioned toy themed stocking that includes some moon sand, a mini nerf football, a balloon racer, a parachute man, a kid sized harmonica, a Jacob’s Ladder, a hexbug [not old fashioned, but cool], a friction car, a tin top, and a squeeze plane set.
My nieces are bit harder to shop for, as they are all teenagers and want expensive things like iPods and brand name make-up and perfumes, lol. I decided to do purses/bags instead of stockings and I filled each purse with things such as wallets, coin purses, lip balm/chapstick, lotion, body spray, travel size deodorant, tide to go pens, compact mirrors, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, gloves, scarves, hair ties, headbands, earphones, fake nail kits, stickers, pens, sharpie markers, mini flashlights, and bars of “fancy” soap [zum bars]. They each got a small fleece blanket and a reusable to-go coffee cup as well.
I’m also including some fruit squeezes, clementines, some homemade granola, a pack of gum and some yummyearth lollipops in the stockings, along with some hard candy bundles [root beer barrels, mints, werther’s originals, life savers, and some cinnamon candies] in all of the stockings/purses this year.
My mom always filled our stockings with things we needed anyway, like toothpaste, socks, shampoo, hair clips, etc. It was YEARS before we figured this out. We just enjoyed opening stuff. I remember being so upset when I found out other people got stockings filled with candy (I was about 8 and candy was a rarity at our house).
Smart thinking. I appreciate giving and receiving consumable items. Most of the gifts that I’m giving this year (even pet gifts) can be consumed (food, candles, calendars,etc).
My boys love to get a spin brush…and at 6 bucks a pop it has to be a special day for mom to splurge, my 4 year old girl loves chapstick, little lotions, etc.
Andrea B. says
My boys love Legos and especially Lego mini figures. I made them mini figure (Lego guys) roll ups to keep their guys in. Before, they would carry the guys around in their pockets along with weapons, tools, etc…to pull out when life was a little boring. Anyway, I’ve made a few of these roll ups to keep them in their place with weapons and all but still small enough to carry in a pocket. I gave my boys theirs for their birthdays and all of their friends went crazy over them and told their moms. Their moms have contacted me and I’ve made and sold several for other boys to get in their stockings this Christmas. It’s been so fun being an elf this year.
How fun to hear what everyone does for stocking stuffers. Growing up, ours were bursting full of edibles! We had, not only an orange, but a grapefruit and clementine (which we called tangerines in my house), an apple, a huge handful of nuts (in their shells) – we loved to crack the nuts open and eat the yummy goodness inside. There was also always a candy cane, the Life Savers book, and a variety of other “Christmas candies” like chocolate Santas and ribbon candy. We always had one tiny “gift” hidden amongst the goodies, but I don’t really remember what the real gifts were; I just remember the fruit, nuts, and candy. :) I’m thinking my sister and I got inexpensive necklaces and the like. They come in perfectly cute little packages that fit so well into stockings.
In my own family now, we still do a stocking mostly full of fruit and nuts, and a bit of candy (I love the chocolate oranges). We’ve added to it toothbrushes, which we actually buy new ones every three months, so Christmas is a good time to base it on for the rest of the year. We get new ones at the beginning of every season since Christmas is just days into winter.
I love the theme ideas and will consider that in the future. Thanks for the great ideas. :)
My mom would buy a case each of oranges, grapefruit, and “tangerines” every winter from a school fundraiser. I LOVE citrus all winter long. We could eat an orange whenever we wanted one until they were gone! YUM!
Tracy N. says
Please share how you make those or a link. I am interested in making or purchasing one. Thanks!