Do you do stockings at your house for Christmas? For many of us, this is the best part of Christmas, but as any stocking stuffer Santa knows, the cost of all those little gifts can really add up.
First, make lists and buy a few things each week. The following list should give you some good ideas to start with, AND we hope you'll share your suggestions too!
The size of stocking stuffers. For this list, I considered a stocking present to be no more than the size of my fist, or anything that can reasonably be packed down to that size, such a t-shirt. I've included items such as rolled-up activity books too. Well over half the items on this list can be bought for under $2.00
Where I shopped. Because I go nuts when I see a list and then can't find the suggested items anywhere, fully 95% of the items on this list are available at Wal-Mart, a good Dollar Store, plus many are available through http://www.amazon.com/ where free holiday shipping may be offered. Dollar Stores vary greatly (some are now $1.50 Stores!), but I've found Dollar Tree to be consistently well-stocked, clean, and every item truly is $1.00. And many now accept credit cards.
I did no on-line or mail-order shopping (except to check item availability at Amazon) , although one catalog source I would unhesitatingly recommend to you is Dover Publishing http://www.doverpublications.com/ They offer hundreds of very inexpensive gift possibilities... kids' activity (sticker, stencil, coloring) books, blank and design books, and a huge array of kids' and adult classics, all well under $5. Your local bookstore may carry some of their products too.
There are no sports- or hobby-specific ideas because I know that if you have a golfer or a woodworker, a quilter or gourmet cook to buy for, you've already got plenty of ideas!
All-time favorites include fruit and nuts, playing cards, lip balm, and slinkies. Please don't forget that stockings are not just for kids...I know a very dignified older man who allowed his three granddaughters to paint his toenails bright coral this summer. He will be getting a bottle of purple glitter polish in his stocking!
These are in no order so you won't skip a section!
bandannas (dog and cat paw prints available)
window scraper/small snow brush
dice (plain and fancy)
safety pins/button assortment
eyeglass repair kit
shoelaces (practical or wild)
pens, pencils, mechanical pencils
Money is great as a stocking present. For example, carefully split a whole walnut, remove inside, insert quarter and glue back together. Or, put some real dollar coins in one of those little bags of foil-wrapped chocolate coins. I also buy the sheets of uncut dollar bills to use as wrapping paper.
refrigerator magnets (a favorite: I used to run with the wolves, now I nap with the cats)
fingernail clippers, emery boards, polish
hair fasteners and decorations, hairbands, glitter spray
sewing kit (a must for office wardrobe repairs)
silly putty, silly string
travel/sample sizes of cosmetics, health and beauty aids
seed packets (spring will come again!)
puzzle, dot-to-dot, crossword, sudoku, coloring books
Gift certificates for only $5 may seem silly, but I treasure my Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds's ones in "emergencies." Cards from local drugstores or grocery stores may be appreciated by a college student. Bus and subway cards can come in handy too.
keychains (with lights, safety whistles or compass)
small hand tools
breath mints, gum
hair brushes, combs
spinner tops, especially the popping kind
card game such as Uno, Skip-bo
Homemade gift certificates for everything from homemade bread, to sidewalk shoveling, from dogwalks to back rubs, from the mundane to the salacious are quick and easy to make. Great for last-minute.
yarn and knitting needles
Hot Wheels cars
kitchen tools, gadgets, special foods
candles, of all kinds, sizes, shapes
hats, gloves, ear muffs
metallic pipe cleaners
nylons, tights, leggings
scissors, sewing, fancy-edged or special purpose ones
ruler, compass, protractor
bike horn, bike bell, streamers
magnetic picture frames (great for the refrigerator)
Pass-It-On presents can be sentimental or silly, but they're often very special. I've passed on my antique thimbles to my quilting daughters and some jewelry pieces to both my daughters and son. My husband gave up his very favorite, never-fail fishing lure for my stocking one year, and I've also passed on baby silver to expectant parents... so many thoughful possibilities!
colored flame sticks or crystals (for the fireplace,firepit, or bonfire)
mini-dustpan and brush
birdseed, 'seed blocks, bells
bulbs, for winter-forcing or spring planting
nite-light (not just for kids, think safety)
picture hangers and wire
duct tape in classic black, clear, or colors!
Fruits, nuts, candy are the staples of stocking stuffing. An orange in the toe, a candy cane hanging off the top. But there's so much more. The year my kids first read the entire Narnia series of books, I made Turkish Delight and put a small tin in each of their stockings. Recipe at
soaps, creams, health and beauty products
mini- photo album
snippet (how did we ever open potato chip bags without one?)
battery operated toothbrush, floss, toothpicks
sparklers (legal ones! Morning Glories are awesome!)