While we don’t do the Santa myth in our house, we do fill stockings! Odd I know, but I fell in love with the idea of low cost, high value treats in a stocking, and now it’s a family tradition every Christmas. So I pulled together a list of low cost stocking stuffers that I use every year to fill up my girls’ stockings.
The Low Cost Stocking Stuffers List
The first stockings, so the story goes, weren’t even meant for Christmas presents. The legend is that the original St. Nick (yes, of Father Christmas fame), knew of a family that was very poor. And he tossed in three small sacks of gold coins down their chimney on Christmas Eve. They happened to land in the three small daughters’ stockings, that were hung by the fire to dry that night. And ever since then, children hang stockings on Christmas Eve, in hopes to get a surprise Christmas morning.
Most of us parents don’t have gold coins to be throwing around like old Saint Nick — unless they’re the chocolate kind! We need to keep it low cost and high value. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fill their stockings with tons of quality surprises for Christmas. Here’s my suggestions for this year’s low cost stocking stuffers.
1. Go back to school!
While the kids might be off for the holidays, there’s nothing like going back to school with some fresh supplies. You can stuff their stocking with some special fun pencils (instead of plain yellow), or some crazy erasers. Maybe a slightly-higher-quality pencil crayon pack or some fine tipped markers should get tucked in there?
My toddler loves getting some new crayons and a small coloring book. And my teen gets a little giddy over new gel pens. Back to school supplies are a perfect stocking stuffer, and most of them won’t cost more than $3-5 at your local dollar store!
2. Soft and Fuzzy Feet
It may be cliche, but socks in the stocking go together like PB & J! A holiday twist on the socks for Christmas idea is to make them soft and fuzzy. Swaddle their toes in extra fuzzy socks, or maybe some in their favorite TV character.
My 10 year old loves the ones that have separate toes. And my 7 yr old gets a kick out of the ones that have funny sayings on the bottoms. There’s a sock for every stocking out there!
3. Keep Them Warm
If special socks don’t suit, try some nice new mitts with matching hat to fill your stockings. Sparkly thin gloves look great, and cost less than your coffee. Or get really creative, if you’re handy with a knitting needle, and make some for the cost of the yarn!
You could get a little silly too. My 3 yr old loves her monkey mittens, and my 12 yr old is all about the pink gloves embossed with a sparkly unicorn. And neither pair cost me more than $2 each!
4. Give them a Little Bit of Fun
What’s a stocking without a toy? There are tons of small, low cost toys that make great stocking stuffers. Try small dolls, puppets, cars, or animal figurines. Or maybe a travel game or two will fit inside your stocking!
Another low-cost option is a small craft kit. These are ideal, in my opinion. You get something that is fun to do, most likely will be adorable in the end, will build memories — and it’s consumable! Meaning less clutter in the end!
Send the finished craft activity to Grandma or a special older person as a “thank you” for their Christmas gift. It makes a great gift, and a great memory for your child plus one less craft for you to have to figure out what to do with later!
5. Take care of them with some self-care
Scented soaps, hair products, shoe liners, nail polish or jewelry, fun shoelaces… the list is endless. To keep costs down, still keep it “special”, try a travel size version of their favorite brand-name product. Bonus: travel size products are more likely to fit in the stocking too!
There are so many options here that qualify as “self-care”. From bath-and body products, to candles (for older kids), to hair care or cosmetics, you’ve got tons to choose from. Whatever says to them, “Self care isn’t selfish” qualifies for the stocking!
6. Collect them all!
Trinkets, cards, figurines — there’s merch for just about everything your child (or adult!) could be interested in. And many of them are tiny, so they’re perfect stocking stuffers.
Now these aren’t always low-cost, but if you shop carefully, you can often find branded items at a discount. Sure, they might not be “official”, but as long as they look right, most kids won’t care.
7. Sweet Treats
What’s a stocking without candy? Not a very good stocking! So add in a few of your kids’ favorite sweet treats to their stocking.
This doesn’t have to be candy, necessarily. Try a pouch or two of the “good” hot chocolate and a small bag of mini marshmallows! Or go for savory with some beef jerky or a snack pack of their favorite chips.
And in keeping with tradition, the toe is usually stuffed with fruit, like an orange. To spice it up a bit, go exotic with a mango, kiwi or papaya!
8. Charged Up!
This is the digital age, so charge up their stockings with some tech options! Charger cords, ear buds, and portable battery packs don’t have to cost a lot, but are always welcomed! Or maybe a wireless mouse, data card or USB drive sneaks in there?
And you can go basic here too. A pack of AAs or AAAs might be the perfect stocking stuffer addition to a bigger Christmas present under the tree.
If you’re really stuck — or only have a sliver of room left — a gift card to Steam or Google Play might be the favorite stocking stuffer of all.
9. Just like Cash
If you’re really stuck — or only have a sliver of room left — a gift card might be the favorite stocking stuffer of all. Again, you have tons of options here: iTunes, Netflix, Kindle, Google Play, Steam… the list is endless.
And to make you their favorite person this Christmas, try a Visa or Mastercard gift card. It’s just like cash — with a little bit of extra goodness, because those can be used online too!
10. Wrapped with Love
Sometimes the best stocking stuffer of all is one that’s wrapped in love. Homemade coupons for date nights, movie picks, get-out-of-chores-free, and of course, hugs!, can slide right in their stockings too. Tickets to see a favorite show or concert could also be a great way to show how much you care. And don’t forget a heartfelt letter or card, telling them exactly how proud you are and what you hope and dream for them. That might be the gift that stays with them for many holidays to come!
Stockings are a Christmas tradition
Over the years, stocking stuffers have morphed from simple and few to colorful and packed full! We’ve come a long way from a few coins and some candy. Now, filling a child’s stocking can be a way to get them a few things they might need or really want, but you can’t justify the spending any other time of the year. You can give some high value, but low cost stocking stuffers, fairly easily now.
And it can still be a really fun tradition — even if you have moved beyond the Santa age.