If you stuff stockings. . .

By Mir
November 10, 2008

… I want to know what you put in them. Both for the kids and for grown-ups.

I know, it’s a little early to talk about this, but I’ve been emailing with one of my sisters-in-law this morning and we’re both experiencing a bit of… shall we say… stuff fatigue. We have always put “practical” things in the adult stockings—chapstick, razors, shaving cream, shower gel—but those are all things people are going to buy themselves, anyway. And this is a big family, so even those “cheap” items add up.

I’m inspired, this year, to fill stockings for less money than ever before. Part of that, I think, is going to be thinking of items that just haven’t occurred to me in the past.

So lay it on me: What’s a fabulous, cheap stocking stuffer? Let’s compare ideas.


  1. Scratch Off Lottery tickets!

    Really, I have no good ideas, we always do practical stuff too. This year is Hulk under roos.

  2. Homemade goodies like fudge or caramels dipped in chocolate. Take a few pieces and wrap them in cellophane. Takes a little bit of work, but everyone loves it and, more importantly, it’s cheap!

  3. For the women and men who like to cook, new spices. Weird I know, but so many of us let our spices get old and they lose their flavor. If someone gives you some you have no excuse not to throw the old flavorless ones away and start fresh.
    Ben and Jerry’s has ice cream coupons on their web site, but that only works if you live close to one of their stores. Of course the small liquor sampler sizes are always a hit with the adults, at least the adults I know. And one of my favorite gifts is a half pound of fresh coffee beans, because coffee has gotten so expensive, well, the good stuff has anyway.

  4. Tons of candy. For boys, a little matchbox car or little figurine. For girls, some cute little child’s makeup or a little pocket doll. I always find really great ideas at the dollar stores and at Big Lots.

  5. we do lottery tickets too, a new toothbrush, gum…stuff under $2 and I wrap everything in there to make it more fun!

  6. We put mostly candy and other little dollar store items. All this junk fills the stockings nicely and cheaply. 🙂

  7. With 9 grandkids, things got overwhelming for my mom. Now she just puts $10 gift cards in each stocking.

  8. For little ones, we do character bandaids, underwear, new toothbrushes/toothpaste, etc. If you have a bunch of stockings to fill, you could always pair up with a sister or SIL and order from the oriental trading company. Most of their stuffers come in the dozens and splitting the cost of the pack plus shipping would be reasonable.

  9. I shop all year for stocking stuffers. They usually come from the clearance aisles, bins, etc at Target. So they are practical things that would have been lots more $. My favorite thing that we do is get little wind up things for everyone and have a race after all the presents have been opened. Inevitably someone gets a superfast one, and someone gets one that just goes in circles. It is always good for laughs and the kids love it!

  10. Oranges! Doesn’t anybody do fruit any more? No matter what other candy or trinkets are in there, it just isn’t the same unless there’s an orange stuck in the toe of the stocking.

  11. I’m getting my son a couple tubs of Play-Doh. At under $1.00 a piece it’s pretty cheap. And I’ll second the matchbox cars.

  12. I second the spices and coffee ideas for the adults. Some homemade cocoa mix with a nice mug would also be nice. There are usually some socks or boxers in my husband’s stocking. For kids, I like to do things like fun pencils, notepads, new crayons or markers. Also, getting a pack of figurines or cars and dividing them up between the kids is a less expensive way to get a better quality toy. Maybe a deck of cards for older kids or a paper back book.

  13. Anyone have a 5 Below near you? They had some good Leapster games on sale for $5 this week! Educational games as stocking stuffers is awesome.

  14. I try to find gift packs that I can split-up. Ornaments in a 6-pack or by the dozen. I’ve found very plain ornaments and then with a glitter glue pen or gel pens, have decorated them with names and the year. I like the Skittles flavored chapsticks that come with 6 flavors and then everyone gets one. Whenever you post something during the year, I look to see if it’s something I can hang on to and use for exactly this purpose. One more thing that we have fun with and can include adults and children alike, are Christmas Crackers. They come is a 6,10 or 12 packs, so you can handle them out to everyone. They have all kinds of trinkets inside, and kids have fun cracking them. By the way, we’re excited for Christmas at our house and are already playing Christmas music! Merry Christmas to all!

  15. homemade playdough or clay with a few small cookies cutters for the little ones, stickers -I buy a pack of square lables from office max and make our own with clip art and photos. As a family we make a holiday ornament each year and we use those for gift tags or stocking stuffers for grandparents, cousins. I have been known to “find” small toys the kids no longer play with and re-wrap those to stick in the stockings… bad mommy 🙂

  16. We don’t have kids, and if you ask DH, his idea of a stocking stuffer is a DS game (for HIS stocking), but here’s what he gets in his stocking: an orange in the toe, in-the-shell nuts, a couple of full-size candy bars, a mini Transformers, and a keychain. He usually puts in mine a bunch of candy, a $10 gift card and bath beads or fizzies.

  17. This year, I’ve been buying cool school supply type stuff…neat erasers, pencils, journals…when I find them cheap at the dollar store or on clearance. I do a lot of dollar store items that are unusual and good buys…I found some great DVD’s at Big Lots for $3 each! There were LOTS of great titles, one of my favs “Chances Are” is going into MY stocking…another one…a quirky independent type film…going into DH’s…Candy, while it’s not particularly good for you, is a good “filler”.

  18. Slipper socks.
    Giant peppermint sticks.

    Distribute pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, so everyone has to come together to finish it.

  19. My grandmother always gets us the travel sized fancy lotion, shampoo, conditioner and hairspray that is sold at her local salon. There’s also usually an abundance of chapstick, the person’s favorite gum or mint (be sure to get their favorite kind), some crazy tool from the clearance table at Restoration Hardware and magazines.

  20. I mostly hit up the Target $1 area for stocking stuffers. I also use the stockings as a good time to empty my gift tub and treasure chest of small items. Books, cutesy hair ties, socks, cheap jewelry items for the girl. For my husband since he paints & draws, I usually spend more on his stock and going for drawing pencils and paintbrushes. Sometimes I throw in a little candy.

  21. One orange, apple and banana. Some candy and a small gift, like an ornament or the kind of stuff everyone else is suggesting. The fruit is a tradition in my family. I’m 40 and don’t remember a time when we didn’t get the fruit. Now it serves as a reminder of times for my parents when getting that fruit was major treat. I’m thankful that I have never known such times.

  22. Restaurant.com certificates that I bought for $0.60!

  23. St. Nick stockings? That’s when we got ours, none at Christmas.

    Tangerine in the toe. Filler of in-the-shell peanuts. A bit of hard candy (sour balls usually), a candy bar. Then one nicer gift – a little bottle of drugstore perfume, a Star Trek coloring book and crayons (that was when I was in college – I loved it!), inexpensive earrings.

    Can you tell I had no brothers?

  24. I love these suggestions! We switched to filling bags (decorated fleece drawstring bags) because our stocking stuffers were always too big for the stockings! Oranges, nuts in the shell, foil-wrapped chocloates, pretty paper plates/napkins for the rest of holiday entertaining, seasonal dish towels, lotions, amaryliis or paperwhite bulbs are all usually in our stockings. My mom, sister, and I try to coordinate so we each get a few things and the stockings end up full.

  25. On the more practical side… toothbrushes, oranges, apples, pencils

    On the not practical side… candy, a few small toys, maybe a small card game

  26. we do movie tickets (discount at costco), chap stick, nail polish for girls, hair pretties, small tools, hot wheels, body glitter, coloring books, crayons, novelty socks (great to pick up year round after each holiday), bouncy balls, gift cards, popcorn balls, nail files, swiss army knives, stickers, novelty pens, jewelry, favorite candy, small books, mini-travel games, mini puzzles, travel size anything. I try to do all the little things I say no to all year and make it lots of fun for my daughter as she thinks Santa was paying attention all year!

  27. Most of my stuff comes from this store:


    This year there’s going to be bacon bandaids and bacon flavored toothpicks in the stockings….

  28. I only have adult stockings to fill, and they usually include a favorite candy or chocolate, and some small office supply items (highlighters, post-its, pen) and then something little that probably should be under the tree, but I like to zing it up a bit right off the bat. Other faves are those little cheapy gloves from Target.

  29. What about homemade baking mixes for cookies or muffins,drink mixes for coffee or tea, cheap dvds from Walmart’s $5 bin, sprinkles pr cookie cutters for those who are baking inclined, fruit, candy, socks, slinkys, rubber bouncing balls, playing cards or candles?

  30. Most of our fillers have already been suggested, but we do tangerines, *always* a toothbrush, little coffee packets for grown-ups, some candy, a deck of cards (those always go missing no matter how many decks we have in the house), matchbox cars for the kids, barrettes and nail polish for the girls, and usually a cd or dvd as the “big” stocking gift. Pencils, Gel pens, erasers, mini notebooks are a good filler idea, too. And I LOVE the suggestion of penny racers! My mom would always have new mixing spoons and spatulas sticking out the top of her stocking. My mom would print out coupons for us, too – Get out of one chore, one half-hour later bedtime, an extra half hour of tv, etc.

  31. I’m the wrong person to ask, in our family the stockings ARE Christmas (We generally only do one “tree” present per person) so I spend quite a bit. I do do the scratch off lottery tickets for the adults, oranges in the toes of the stockings, and I haunt the Michael’s dollar bins all year long (this year I found fabulous monogrammed notecards!) and such. Kids get art supplies (new box of crayons, funky pencils for school), a cheap book or DVD or two. Always windup toys for the big race after breakfast. A tin of Whitman’s candy (the 4 piece pack) all around.

  32. Lots of great ideas above that we use. One addition we always have is a magazine in each stocking. I LOVE those magazines!

  33. My mom always stuffs the adult stockings with the practical items like toiletries. My dad always puts one nifty kitchen gadget that he thinks everyone needs in there. At my house, we put just a few things in the stocking. They aren’t stuffed full. A cheap DVD. A gift card. A kitchen gadget or item. Fun socks. But nothing too big or expensive.

  34. I love the chocolate oranges that you “whack and unwrap” in little orange chocolate segments. Also novelty socks (with cows or monkeys) and washcloths that expand in water. We always got batteries for whatever was under the tree and underwear.

  35. I LOVE the spice idea! We do little bottles of liquor or liquor-filled chocolates and nuts for the adults. The girls get sparkly jewelry or hair accessories, maybe a little car or some little trinket they can take in the car. Michael’s sometimes has little craft projects or toys that will fit in a stocking, and stickers are always a hit too. Each girl has a little purse that I filled with (nice, not the cheapie looking ones) little tiny animals and I keep adding to the menagerie on gift-giving holidays.

  36. For my hubby: boxer shorts, a CD, his favorite candy… any sort of small present that will fit in there.

    For the kids: jewelry, nail polish, lip gloss, small candies, pens/pencils… again, anything small that will fit in there.

  37. I love the jigsaw puzzle idea!

    We always put chocolate coins in the kids stockings (last year I bought them at Wegmans and obviously didn’t pay attention – Christmas morning my oldest daughter asked why there was a Menorah on her Christmas candy).

    With four kids, I buy multi-packs of hand warmers, Burt’s Bees, and mittens.

  38. For moms who have trouble getting kids to write thank you notes, some nice blank ones would make a good stocking gift.

  39. We started a new tradition this past year. Everyone came to my house, and all the adults bought stocking stuffers for all the other adults then gave them to Santa. It was really nice, because no one really knew who the items were from, and they really were surprises! It was me, my husband and son, my parents and sister, my grandparents, and my inlaws.

  40. I have not read any of the previous comments, so apologies if I am repeating.

    My daughter (6) gets hand cream with some sort of Christmas/winter theme, lip balm (chapstick-ish, not lip gloss) that usually also has a winter theme, maybe some fun soap, band-aids with characters are always a hit. Her favorite, though, is the soap roll-on body paint from Avon. I got her a set of 4 for last Christmas, and the only reason it ran out a week or so ago is because she kept ducking them under water and they filled with water. She will get candy depending on how quickly the Halloween candy goes. 😉 We also always put in a quarter that was put out that year. This is one of my husband’s family’s traditions, and his stocking is HEAVY.

  41. We do Stash Teas. Amazon always has a Stash tea sale sometime in November/early December and I stock up. Everyone gets a little mized assortment of teas for the next year.

  42. Godiva candy bars sell for less than $3 a piece and make a great stuffer. Linens-N-Things is currently offering %20 off all their gourmet candies including Godiva as part of their store closing sale.

  43. I still remember the first Christmas I celebrated with my husband (then fiance). I presented him with his stocking–packed to overflowing with small and inexpensive odds-and-ends, most not terribly useful. His eyes got huge and he sheepishly handed over mine–three or four semi-expensive (read $5-10) items like a CD, a book, a nice ornament, and a few other things. They perfectly represented our families’ opposite approaches to stockings! We had spent nearly the same amount of money–just on different things.

    Since then, we’ve come to meet in the middle. I give fewer, more useful, slightly more expensive things, and he gives more, still useful, slightly less expensive things. 🙂

    Here’s what’s in my stocking gift closet so far: cocktail napkins, magnets, bike wash and power gels/sports beans (for hubs), travel-size bath items, fancy pens, mini Transformers, bike trail map (hubs–he bikes, obv), socks, etc. etc.

  44. For the adults I usually do a shot glass or a coffee mug depending on if they are a coffee drinker or just a drinker. For the kids I love buying those old magic tricks and they usually love them. Small candels are always nice.

  45. My little boy will be getting hot wheels (he’s a fiend) and hygiene stuff. What a weird tradition. Growing up, we always got bubble bath, foam stuff, bath toys, etc. I’ll probably put some bath crayons and the like in Carter’s this year.

  46. I shop the clearance area of TJ Maxx and pick up jams, jellies, maple syrup, wooden spoons, teas, coffees, paring knives, post-it notes and all kinds of little things for the grown-ups. For the grandkids I picked up some little fake tattoo books from Dover Publishing that I think will be a big hit. I shop for stockings all year long, if it’s little enough to go in a stocking, I buy it!

  47. I get those 12-packs of mixed single-serving bags of chips (Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos). They are surprisingly poofy, and a couple of them per stocking take up a nice amount of space.

    For kids, all year I keep an eye on the party-favor aisle at Target. When stuff is on 75% off, I buy it. The “summer trinket” section also goes on 75% off and I get good filler stuff then: kaleidoscopes, little boats/cars, disc-shooters, dinosaurs, whatevs.

    In fact, ahem, I guess I shop the 75%-off Target stuff all year ’round to get stuff for stockings. Stationery and candles often go to 75% off.

    And even though it’s hard to work up the enthusiasm, I shop the holiday clearance right after Christmas and put it away for next year. Holiday socks go on 75% (or even 90%) after Christmas, and I always buy some then for stockings. Gloves often go to 75%. Slipper-socks. Sparkly little handbags. Silly holiday jewelry. Holiday boxer shorts. Little boxed trinkets like compasses and flasks and pocket knives and all that “Here’s a generic Guy Gift!” stuff. All of it at 75-90% off, and I just sort of clean up and stuff it in the back of a closet for the next year.

  48. We also do the practical stuff for the adults–toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, etc. We watch for the freebies after rebate at Rite Aid, CVS & Walgreens. Between the three, there’s usually at least one thing a week that’s completely free. We stockpile those throughout the year and stuff stockings, then donate any leftovers (beyond what we will be able to use) to a shelter or food pantry. I also load up on Christmas boxers, socks, gloves, etc. in the post-christmas sales and save them for the coming year. We also throw in a few gag gifts from the dollar tree, and the funniest ones get regifted to someone else in the family the following year.

  49. I tend to shop for stockings all year long. I cruise the endcaps at Target and pick up hair goodies, makeup, nail polish, art supplies, etc for Drama Queen’s stocking. The toy aisles and dollar sections usually have good stuff for the little ones.

    For Mr. Clairol, I choose a theme in January. Then, as I see stuff (cheap, of course) I grab it. This year, it’s AC/DC. I know…pity me. So there’s a hat, a DVD, a keychain and a magnet. As well as the practical stuff and a new flashlight.

    I don’t know…I don’t think this comment was particularly helpful. Sorry.

  50. Type up address labels for the kids. They LOVE seeing their name. Even business cards. My DD loves to play Vet, so she is getting some “Doctor” business cards this year.

  51. Dollar store romance novels.


    Or thrift store paperbacks–they’re usually 2 or 4 for $1 at the used bookstore or thrift store. You can almost always find classics, sci-fi, and romance novels.

  52. A pair of chickens, a pair of rabbits, blankets, VBS materials, a bible, tracts. Sounds odd? Not really. It’s a great way to teach the kids (and adults) about helping others when you make a donation in their name & they get to read about their “gift” when opening their stocking gifts.

  53. Last year for our kids’ stockings I (I mean Santa) got a lot of the “goods” from our local children’s consignment shop. I bought very gently used toys (ex. tons of Polly Pocket stuff) and my kids didn’t even notice that the toys weren’t used!

  54. Spices, booze, and bacon floss! Glory!!

    I take advantage of the Vista Print deals. Address labels make for good book plates for kids. Or make your own on the computer. Left over back-to-school supplies on the cheap…it’s about time for new crayons, isn’t it? I also make up personalized “stationary” on the computer so kiddos can start in on Thank You cards right away (before school starts again). Tickets to sporting events or the theatre. Homemade coupons for just about anything. Ditto the dollar store and Target dollar section.

  55. Once my children were in high school, our family began a new tradition by having an annual stocking exchange. The first year we drew names, then set up a rotation. Each of us fills a stocking for one person (we set an overall price range), so it’s not as taxing to think of what to put in. And, since we have a different person to buy for each year, we have the opportunity to be creative and really focus on that person. Our daughters are grown and married now, and our sons-in-law are part of the exchange.

  56. I bought a bunch of new media from woot.com over the past few months. People with phones that use them get 2GB Micro SD cards. People who don’t get 2GB thumb drives. They all ended up to be between $2 and $3 a piece.

  57. SANTA starts each stocking with the largest orange and apple he can find. Those take up most of the stocking. Then he puts in packs of gum, suckers, and those tacky little toys they have in the impulse shelves at the checkout that you flat out refuse to buy even though someone is about to collapse into a pile at your feet with disappointment.

  58. Popcorn balls take up lots of space and taste yummy.
    We live in the south, so mittens/gloves/hats are good gifts, as it usually doesn’t snow before Christmas.

    And for some reason, pistachios are required.

  59. Items from the Dollar Spot at Target!

  60. I try to get my kids each a thing or two specific to them – my girl might get winterish chapstick and a backpack clip-on and my boy might get a bendy hockey guy or a brainteaser puzzle and then I try to get them a few of the same things (mini nerf guns, pinky bounce balls, toothbrushes).

    A few years ago I bought one of those giant stockings, that’re like four feet tall and I wrote “the xxxx family” on it. I definitely don’t fill it up but I put a game, maybe a puzzle or a movie, last year I put one of those roll-around ice cream maker balls in there. Things for all of us. I lay it on the floor and tuck the kids stockings into the top. It is THE highlight, that stocking. Such fun.

  61. The kids get most of the candy, the adults some. I will use some of our leftover Halloween candy that is now stashed in the freezer. The kids get some small presents and trinkets.

    Adults tend to maybe get something practical. But also, a tradition in my family is putting “free” stuff in. It was started by my grandfather who worked in a bank. We always knew we were getting a bank calendar in the stocking. So I save the free pens, magnets, hotel soap, etc that I get through the year, and that goes in my husband’s, my mother’s and my in-laws’ stockings.

  62. First – Santa fills the stockings so they tend to have more in them for that reason (they only get 1 big gift from us under the tree and maybe a couple of small things that are for them to share – like a movie or a Wii game). I have 11 and 9 year old daughters and a 5 year old son. I put Nintendo DS games in the stockings, but I get them off of ebay for MUCH cheaper than in the store. I also put things like chapstick, socks, and headbands in the stockings. I try to get fun ones – like flavored chapstick, fun socks, pretty underwear so while useful – they are something that I don’t buy everyday. I also went to Limited Too and shopped the clearance rack for earrings, necklaces, and other little things like that for stockings. They had lots of stuff for 3.99 or less. I also have Webkinz for everyone. I am pretty much done with my shopping because I started early and got REALLY good deals.

  63. I always scout the rummage sales ALL year round for unopened (and even opened) stuff for the kids. The kids don’t know the difference! Especially the little ones… almost new rattles and stacking plastic blocks for a quarter each? And clearance at CVS… Funky pencil sharpeners 90% off? Those are my kinda deals! As long as there are a few “pretty” boxes with new toys, the used toys go unnoticed.

    And, um, coal. We always put a piece of coal in the toe. You know we are all bad at some point throughout the year!

  64. Last year I found travel size rolls of charmin toliet paper to go in them. They were huge hit! 🙂

  65. My favorite source right now is the dollar section at Michael’s craft store. Other than that candy of course and I try to get what each person like but to not go overboard. I also like to put in retro gum or something fun. Silly putty has made it in as well. Nifty school supplies work too.

  66. My little one always wants her own grocery list or post it notes, and I just found a bunch of holiday-themed ones at Target in the dollar bins. We also usually put in chapstick, underwear, socks and I always got an orange or golden delicious apple when I was a kid.

  67. Two ideas:

    1. Cost Plus World Market. They’ve got lots of cool, unusual, international food treats, including some seriously yummy candies.

    2. Smaller stockings. ;-p

  68. The dollar store, Target or Walmart is good for trial size items. You can buy a lot for only a few dollars. Other items that we do are car air fresheners (come several to a pack for some brands), batteries (combine sales and coupons), and magazines. For kids-coloring books from the dollar store, single matchbox cars for less than a dollar each, crayons or markers, art supplies, etc.

    If you plan a little ahead, Target clearances out the dollar spot section now and then and you can get items for 50 cents or less even sometimes. Buying larger bulk packages of some items at a warehouse store or even a Target could also be split up among several stockings for savings.

  69. Socks. I always put socks in the stockings. I mean Santa does. And those tiny cereal boxes. Christmas is the only time the kids ever get those tiny boxes of cereal, and they love that.

  70. If you can find this Stash tea in your store (and you can find it on sale) each bag is individually wrapped once you open the package and you can make up a variety pack. It is very good tea. Then look at thrift shops or garage sales and pick up spoons, etc. etc. you get the idea.

    Another thing relatives like are pictures of the kids, I always stock up on small cheap frames, and you can put a loop of ribbon on them and they become ornaments.

  71. Chapsticks and lip glosses for all. Bookmarks, too. Now I’m going back up to the top to read all the other ideas!

  72. Just a handful of ideas off the top of my head…. play-doh, nail polish, nail files, coffee samplers, candy, cute socks and underwear, doll clothes, hair scrunchies/barrettes, bouncy balls, chuck e cheese coins, movie ticket certificates… you decide what works for which ages!

  73. I definitely hit up the dollar store as well as the travel aisle at Wal-Mart for a bunch of stocking-sized mini items. Then it’s usually the classics in our family, gum, tic tacs/mints, G2 gel pens (those things are addictive), and ChapStik. On top of that I’ll try to find some cute holiday themed earrings or a bracelet for my mother and some Lindt chocolate for my stepfather (he’s Swiss, have to get the good stuff). Fortunately there’s a Lindt store at the mall nearby, and they always have clearance items. Hit the jackpot there the other day when they had bag after bag of chocolate truffles someone had goofed up–they had forgotten to put the filling in the machine, so they were selling empty chocolate hazelnut shells in huge bags for $3 each. Yummmmm!

  74. Years ago, our family (adults plus one grandchild) decided to make it simple. The ONLY gift we exchange is a “media item” per adult. These are under the tree. The stockings on the other hand are limited only by capacity. Each adult can place anything in anyones stocking. There is always a race to be first to stuff the stockings! As parents, our usual stocking stuffer is a handmade certificate for a week vacation in the summer. (Usually the beach). We also do movie tickets, gift cards, magazine subscriptions and book marks or book covers. We have included in the past airline miles, car wash certificates, and of course the fun things like purple glitter nail polish, a special tool-tire guage, batteries, etc. The real key is to think BIG in small packages and to have fun. We love Christmas crackers too!

  75. My parents always put mixed nuts in the bottoms, then a couple pieces of fruit and some candy. Maybe other stuff – but that’s all I remember. We always ended up putting the nuts together in big bowl. Works great if you’ll be buying some anyway!

  76. Great ideas! In the past, I have stuffed stockings for our 8 adult children and their spouses. Crazy! So, I’m not sure that’s on the agenda this year due to cost. Maybe I’ll just do the 5 grandkids! But the best item every year is one where they can attack each other. Silly string, flying rubber monkeys, foam disk guns, confetti guns, etc… I’ve had my couch turned over on its side to use as a shield on Christmas morning. SO MUCH FUN. We are a blended family and this opportunity for the “kids” to all be kids together has been a real bonding time for them.

  77. I love so many of these ideas! Flying rubber monkeys… hmm.

    Silly houseshoes for everyone was a hit one year.

    So were season passes to a theme park nearby (NOT cost effective for the size, but a big delight.)

    I try to avoid Christmas-themed items, since IMO they’re “out of season” a few hours after the stockings are opened. Winter needs, though, like chapstick/gloves/hats/scarves, are perfect. Here it usually doesn’t snow until January, so if I’m lucky nobody needs my stash of winter gear until Christmas, and it all becomes stocking material.

  78. Wow, those of you who said “handmade coupons” just gave me an idea. I think I will make up some “cash coupons” for my nephews (9 and 12) that they can turn in to me for $10 each — but they can’t be redeemed until at least, say, February. That way they can’t run out on 12/26, spend all the money they got as gifts, and then whine about being bored on 12/27. 😉 Well, they could still do that, but then at least they can look forward to getting their “coupon money” later on! I would just have to be disciplined and put aside their money somewhere safe so I can give it to them when they redeem their coupons. (Hmm, maybe I’ll tell them that they CAN redeem the coupon immediately, but if they do they only get $5. Maybe that will teach them something about being patient and letting money grow. Of course, I’d love to find a bank account that will double my money in under 2 months, LOL!)

  79. Here’s something I put in my own stocking as well as the other adults,,, The little bottles of Baileys or Frangelico, sometimes Kahlua! I really enjoy my coffee christmas morning!! And before you judge come to my house on x-mas. One year my in laws brought their NEIGHBORS pit bull! I kid you not!!!

  80. I always scope out the Target dollar section when they have marked everything down. One idea for this year is to buy clerance Halloween Candy and make “Movie Treats” bags-stick in a movie ticket and some candy to take to the movie. We always go see a movie sometime during the holidays- this way, an expense we know we’ll incur will also fill up a stocking!

  81. Ditto on Cost Plus. I like to get the unusual imported chocolates and cookies and a little fruit. Since Oranges are not so impressive as they used to be, I try to get fruit we don’t often buy like Blood Oranges, Kiwi, Mango or chocolate covered blueberries & chocolate covered orange peels and the like. I am a fan of the bulk food bins at my local Whole Foods market.

    Also for DH he likes homemade but manly smelling soaps (orange scent, mint, rain, pine… that sort of thing) and I find those all sorts of places…even our local farmer’s market. Sometimes I also go find unusual men’s products like fancy skin creme for men or old fashioned shaving soap.

    For my 2 yr old son this year, I am thinking a new box of crayons and coloring book, some new bath toys or maybe some kind of bath crayon/fingerpaint soap. Sidewalk chalk. Bubbles (Gymboree sells some that are fantastic and hang around on your furniture for hours until they are popped – and they don’t stain). A few small toys (LittlePeople have those sets that come in 3s and are sized perfectly for a stocking or maybe some Matchbox cars). And maybe one of those compressed washcloth cubes that expand into a washcloth when wet. If I can find a christmas themed toy that would be great too. Last year we found some good stuff for kids stockings on the discount table at the Disney Store.

  82. I remember reading this entry a few days ago, and though of it when I saw this deal – on woot.com today (Nov 14) they have Micro SD cards/adapters for 2.59 + shipping. I’m picking up a few for my “techie” family member’s stockings!

  83. Batteries, bought on sale of course.

    Clues to “the big gift” or items that support that gift. I learned of this tradition when my stocking contained a bag of bolts many years ago. My husbands family always opens stockings first…as soon as the majority of the family is up…when the family present is an even #, half counts! The bolts were for a potting bench my husband had built for me. This theme isn’t always as easy as H had it that year. The tough years bring out the most wonderful creativity.
    Thank you everyone for the great ideas. I’ve copied all of the new ideas into a file. Have a Happy Happy and Merry Merry season.

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