I have a method to finding stocking stuffer ideas every year– here are my six stocking stuffing categories and what is going in our stockings this year!
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Stuffing our family’s stockings each year is one of my favorite things to do. I love selecting the perfect items specific to each person and trying to get just the right amount of gifts— not too much to be overwhelming, but just enough so that each family member feels seen and starts Christmas morning off well.
I have always had my own method and general idea of categories in my head that I use to choose what I buy, but this is the first year I’ve really sat down and given each category an actual label.
The categories are definitely not hard and fast rules, but they do help me to give each person a stocking that is perfect for them. I pay less attention to the number of items in each stocking, and more to checking off each type of stocking stuffer.
Confused yet? Let me explain… Keep reading to see my six categories and what exactly is going in each stocking this year. Hopefully this gives you some fresh ideas, or is just enjoyable to see how other people approach this fun holiday tradition!
Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Above are last year’s stockings. Setting out stockings on Christmas Eve gets me SO EXCITED!
Six Stocking Stuffer Categories
- FOOD :: “Breakfast foods” and sweet treats
- JUST FOR FUN :: small toys, typically requested or related to already owned items
- HOBBY RELATED :: items related to their current interests or passions
- PRACTICAL/USEFUL :: things they will use or need
- ACTIVITY OR REFERENCE BOOK :: a book that is meant to be consumed or referenced again and again
- IMMEDIATE “SOMETHING TO PLAY” :: a toy or activity that will occupy them right away
What’s in this year’s stockings…
Every year, I give my husband some of his favorite savory foods like specialty olives, pork rinds, summer sausage, etc. He doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, but he does like peanut butter cups and these canned lattes are one of our favorite treats.
He also travels for work, and for hobby, so I included some items that will be helpful in his travels. A few other regular additions are charcoal soap, beard care items, and a masculine scented candle.
My two oldest boys are 11 and 9, so their stockings are usually pretty similar. My oldest son is obsessed with fishing and has a line in the water whenever he possibly can, so I got him some fisherman’s hand wash to keep in his tackle bag (perfect for cleaning up before picnics). He also is getting older and more interested in his appearance, so a flip-open comb is a fun addition that is perfect for him.
Both my boys are also getting rubber snakes, balls to play with, and refill bags of nerf bullets– always helpful.
ALL of my kids are getting the same breakfast items to eat right away. My only rule on Christmas morning is that they need to eat their crackers and fruit before candy so they won’t crash too bad from sugar first thing.
I got each of my kids book map stickers from Elizabeth Wade Studios for their stockings too. The big boys get the Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) and Star Wars stickers.
(All the kids are also getting a new book for their personal libraries, and a KIWI crate to do right away. More on that in a moment)
My older daughter is almost 8. She’s obsessed with horses, so many of her gifts this Christmas are related to that interest.
My two older boys are also both getting chemistry sets for Christmas, so I also wanted to give my 7yo and 5yo something similar that they could also enjoy. THey’re both getting these “formula” tubes that I found in the Target dollar spot.
Lastly, she is getting a book map sticker for The Secret Garden (one of her favorites), and some new jewelry.
My 5yo son is getting a jet like his older brother has, a koosh ball to play with, a deck of cards (he’s a big fan of war currently). He’s also getting a “forbidden formulas” set like his older sister so they can do chemistry like their older brothers.
His story map is the Chronicles of Narnia.
This is my 4yo daughter’s stocking. She loves stick on earrings and pretty jewelry. She’s also getting a popper fidget toy like her big sister.
Her story map is the Little House on the Prairie.
There is always a few hours of down time in between stockings and opening gifts. The grandparents arrive, we eat a big breakfast, and then get settled back in the living room for presents. Because of this, I try to always include something the kids will be excited about first thing, that will occupy them while they wait– this year that’s KIWI crates.
Today (December 16th) is the LAST DAY to order KIWI crates to have them before Christmas. There are so many options to choose from, for all ages and interests. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, buying one box would be a great way to see how you and your kid(s) like them. (Or you could sign up and save 60% off your first month with the code JOY and cancel whenever).
Lastly, books. I always give each child one book with their stockings, usually something like an activity or reference book. As opposed to many other books that become part of our family library, these books are added to the kids’ personal libraries.
In the past, this has been puzzle books, coloring books, birdwatching sticker books, the Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls (highly recommend both), and others.
This year, they’re getting these:
- Andrew Peterson’s Creaturepedia (corresponding to the Wingfeather Saga)
- Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven (a favorite series)
- Mythical Beasts and Magical Creatures
- Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature
- Story Orchestra Carnival of Animals
And that’s it! I’d love to hear how you handle stockings, or if you have any other favorite traditions! Please share in the comments!
If you want to check out my other gift guides, you can find them all on my GIFT GUIDES page. Or, check out what the family is getting this year in my 2021 Whole Family Gift Guide.
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I love that you have a formula! I try to buy small but useful things and some healthier snacks or snacks we dont usually buy.
My kids are early risers when they were little I started Christmas book bags. I collect books year round from thrift stores. A wide variety of fiction, non fiction, about what we are learning in our history, what they are into this year. Then I put them in special christmas bags and leave them in the rooms after they go to sleep Christmas eve. Some years I add a snack. This gives them something to do besides wake us up at 5 or 5:30 🙂 now that they are older and into chapter books I try to make sure there is one really good one to hild their attention amd give us the christmas gift of sleeping in.
This year snapfish had canvas bags on sale for $2.99. I made them each one with a reading related quote. These will be their new library bags.