2020 Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

4 December 2020

I find the divergence around stocking traditions to be fascinating. Take, for example, the stocking itself. My family uses ones that are hand-knit by a family member – the same ones, year after year. The first time I realized that some people buy new stockings every year, I about lost my mind – it just did not compute. Or that a family keeps the same stockings, but that they’re not assigned to any one person, and which stocking is filled for whom changes from year to year. WHAT.

To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either of those scenarios – just that they were so outside the realm of my experience that they were hard for me to grasp, ha!

And then there’s what goes in the stockings. My family’s traditions include small trinkets, candy, and basic toiletries (new toothbrush, sunscreen, etc.). Other family traditions I’ve encountered over the years have been as far apart on the spectrum as socks and fruit… and a designer bracelet.

Finally, there’s the opening: free-for-all? One at a time? First thing in the morning? Final event of the day?

Whatever your stockings look like, whenever you open them, I hope you find a few things on this list to help fill them! (I’ve mostly linked to Amazon here, but this is an instance where I love to pick up little treasures throughout the year — a great opportunity to shop small and local.)

Linen hair bow pairs (we have these – perfect for braids!)
MagnaTile cars (the most coveted pieces in our house!)
Glowing stars
Stick-on earrings
— Crayola stamper markers (these will be in June’s stocking)
Mini parachute launcher
— Tegu magnetic blocks
— Make-your-own ice cream sundae sticker book
Lunchbox notes about God and science
— Unicorn shower caps! (Also in June’s stocking!)
Puffy pens (they puff up when you apply a hairdryer!)
— A pink headlamp

More ideas here!

— A sweater/upholstery shaver (I legit want one of these – more and less expensive)
— A laser level
— A silk pillowcase
— A body brush
— My favorite deodorant
— My favorite sunscreen
Fancy floss (I found it in the beauty try-it spot at Target!)
— Pearl and tortoiseshell hair clips
— Extra phone charging cord
— Rubber hair massager (just bought one of these and love it!)
Solid washi tape in every color of the rainbow
— A citrus press
Super Tips or Mildliners
— The best, sharpest little knives – with a protective cover! (Perfect for picnics!)
Scrub Daddies, a Shark Tank fave
— One of our favorite card games

Plus we always include snacks and sweets! June specifically wants a candy cane this year (which I NEVER would have chosen on my own, so I’m glad she mentioned it, ha!). Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy creating a little Christmas magic at the end of this month – one of the most magical nights as a parent, too, I think :)

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December 4, 2020 7:41 am

My Dads family does fruit, nuts, coins, and a charm for a charm bracelet among more traditional stocking stuffers. The fruit becomes a fruit salad that we eat on Christmas morning a tradition held over from when fresh fruit was more expensive.

December 4, 2020 8:17 am

So funny you bring this up! My husband’s family always did just candy in their stockings and mine was little gifts and Knick knacks. So now we do candy and Knick knacks! Although my stocking is usually only filled with candy unless I stuff it myself. Lol.

December 4, 2020 9:07 am

Growing up, our stockings had candy, socks, hair bands, crossword puzzles and other little things like that. But whenever there was a small wrapped gift in there, I was pleasantly surprised! We opened them last, so it felt like a bonus gift. And we always got a magazine in them, something that I loved! Also, get the sweater shaver! I have the cheaper conair one and it really helps stretch the longevity of clothes/blankets.

December 4, 2020 10:01 am

Haha oh my gosh, new stockings every year?! I must admit, this is the first time I’ve heard of that!! I think our stocking traditions are very similar to yours: we have heirloom-worthy stockings handknit by my aunt (we got them when we got married and got to choose a “Shaul family pattern”) with our names on them. We’ll lovingly use them every single year – they make me so happy! And our stocking stuffers are on the much more modest end: small trinkets, holiday candy and treats, fun little toiletries, and now that we’re all adults, sometimes a fun mini bottle… they’re sweet and simple! And we open stockings all at once first thing but open Christmas presents one by one.

December 4, 2020 10:02 am

What?! Some people buy new stockings every year?! My mind is blown. Growing up, we usually did candy and little trinkets as well…but still talk about about the time our parents (well, my mom) hid an iPod shuffle in the toe. : )

December 4, 2020 11:55 am

The idea of unassigned stockings is honestly baffling to me. A stocking is so personal in my mind! And don’t even get me started on new stockings every year, ha! I haven’t even tried to broach the stocking situation in our house yet because I know we’ll keep them for life and I need to do a LOT more research before picking such keepsakes. #enneagram5forever

December 4, 2020 6:14 pm

My husband and I bought stockings for each other when we first started dating, but I would love to upgrade to heirloom ones that have our names embroidered on them! We only give each other stockings (and usually go on a short trip in lieu of physical gifts). Some items I’ve bought for him this year include a t-shirt, trading cards themed to our hometown, a book, a gift card for where he buys video games, etc. We also wrap all of the items we give each other! The stocking I’ve had since I was born was needlepointed by my paternal grandmother. It stays at my parents’ and I love seeing it on their mantle each year.

December 4, 2020 10:22 pm

Growing up in Germany, I only knew about stockings from American Christmas movies, ha! Fast forward a few years and here I am, married to an American, and now living in the States and I still have no clue what to do with stockings :-) Our „stocking stuffers“ is basically their advent calendar. Then we do put our boots out for St. Nikolaus on December 6th. But I don‘t think we‘ll start the stockings at this point… Although you did include some very cute ideas!! I might take note for next year‘s advent calendar :-)
Also: I am hoping to learn more about your position on Santa! I am struggling with that, too, haha! Not something I grew up with either. But my daughter swears she heard Santa‘s footsteps on the roof last year. So it must be true after all ;-)

December 8, 2020 12:21 pm
Reply to  Em

You could say that, ha! Some of them I embrace wholeheartedly though! Like picking up hot cocoas for everyone and drive around town admiring all the Christmas lights and decorations. Americans do go all out :-) As much as I love all the holiday cheer, I feel like it’s harder over here to focus on the slow, simple and meaningful and much easier to buy all the things. But in the end, that’s all up to us, right :-) I‘m definitely grateful to be able to experience both and hopefully find a combination of the best of both worlds that works for us!

December 7, 2020 9:31 pm

I just opened EIGHT of these links and am certain I will purchase a good chunk of the things listed within said links. You’re amazing! The stocking-science is also fascinating to me. Stockings were the star of the show growing up in our family and the one part of the holiday that always felt so magical because stockings were never hung anywhere but magically appeared on the ends of our beds Christmas morning just overflowing with little wrapped treasures. It’s been a treat watching this tradition take on its on form with my own family now!