39 stocking stuffers that will actually be appreciated, don’t feel like a waste of money, and won’t be broken/destroyed/forgotten by New Years.

39 stocking stuffers that will actually be appreciated, don’t feel like a waste of money, and won’t be broken/destroyed/forgotten by New Years.

I love the idea of stocking stuffers, but it’s too easy to feel like the usual items are just highly packaged crap that will be trashed, broken, or forgotten by New Years. It makes my frugal head hurt!

These favorite (and a few unconventional) stocking stuffers won’t make you feel like you’re throwing your money away. Some are inexpensive, some are a little more spendy, but all will actually be used. Choose accordingly.

I personally don’t mind paying a little more for stocking stuffers that aren’t junk. Some of these ideas could be funded straight out of the grocery or clothing budgets.

(Head here to read more about my minimalist stocking stuffer philosophy.)

39 stocking stuffers that are way better than the usual cheap crap

To play:

1. Play silks. (It’s worth planning ahead and making your own.)
2. Puzzle books. (This is our favorite)
3. Baseball cards.
4. Glow sticks.

5. Silly putty or thinking putty.

To wear: 

6. Hairbows and headbands. (You can’t make ’em cheaper–or cuter–than you can buy them from Gymboree’s sale section this time of year. I’ve tried.)
7. Cute panties or boxers.
8. Tights.
9. Cute socks.

To eat:

10. Altoids.
11. Beef jerky. This is my favorite. Or make your own.
12. Trail mix.
13. Drink mixes 
(hot chocolate, spiced cider, Emergen-C).
14. Pineapple like in this episode of Charlie and Lola.
(Or maybe a clementine, pomegranate, or starfruit.)

Fun but useful:

15. Flashlight.
16. Batteries.
17. Candles. (These are my favorite.)
18. Paper straws and cupcake wrappers. 

To read:

19. Board books. (My favorite, for young or old.)
20. Slim paperbacks.
21. Book light.

To write:

22. Blank journals.
23. Notecards. 
24. Pens. (Like individual Le Pens or Sharpies in pretty colors.)
25. Postage stamps. Maybe Batman or Harry Potter? 

Personal care:

26. Bath bubbles.
27. Nail polish.
28. Character band-aids. (Not just for kids! Try these for women. Or these for the men.)
29. Rosebud salve.
30. Chapstick or lip balm.

31. Hand lotion.

For crafting:

32. Markers/crayons/colored pencils. Or the holy grail of pencil sharpeners
33. Scotch tape or washi tape.
34. Stickers.
35. Post-it notes (especially the shapes).
36. Small craft kits from Kiwi Crate.

Just for grown-ups:

37. Coffee or tea.
38. Milk frother for homemade lattés.
39. Dollar Shave Club. Subscribe now on his behalf, slide the first month’s shipment in his stocking.

Tell us your favorite stocking stuffer ideas in comments. 

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39 stocking stuffers that will actually be appreciated, don't feel like a waste of money, and won't be broken/forgotten/destroyed by New Year's | Modern Mrs Darcy

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127 comments

  1. Jan says:

    Great ideas. I usually include something personalized from shutterfly, this year it is playing cards and magnets. I also make a donation in their names to some charity. My kids love this one!

  2. Kristi Dohmann says:

    Everyone in our family gets an apple and an orange to contribute to a fresh fruit salad we have for breakfast and Christmas Dinner. Santa always left fruit in my sister & my stockings and I read about the fruit salad in the Little House on the Prarie books as an adult. Love your lists.

  3. Ellen says:

    My mom always put an orange in the toe, a toothbrush, Chapstick, and my favorite-a Pez dispenser with extra candy. There were a few other small items I’m sure but these are the ones we had every year and that were memorable traditions.

  4. Betty says:

    My still single 30 year old son gets a care package for cold and flu season. Cough drops, day and night cold and flu med., package of puffs, 6 pack of the individual orange juice, 1/2 dozen tea bags. He also gets 4 new tooth brushes. My grand kids get a food not to be shared can of ravioli for the oldest, shells and cheese for the middle and beef jerky for the youngest. Not stocking stuffer While living my mom always gave me two new bras, 7 pair underwear and 7 pair socks. I buy them for myself now each year, wrap them and tag them from her.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I love your ideas! Any chance you will do an updated list? My kids are about the same ages and genders as your older two and we have similar styles (and ideals)

    • Anne says:

      At 14 she can use the same equipment as adults. My own daughter loves the fun “extras”: Maldon sea salt flakes, sugar in the raw, sprinkles for baking and special herb mixes for cooking. Also: cookbooks! The more beautiful photos, the better.

      • Victoria says:

        Blow torch. A proper one not the piddly cooking ones. (Probably more of a main present). Her own measures, a set of cup or spoon measures like the lovely ones from Anthropologie. Apron (handmade?) or oven gloves. Fancy cupcake holders, crystallised rose petals, specialist flavourings. You know, you’ve really got me going with these ideas, I want to bake now!

  6. Sandy Lamkin says:

    I love your list of ideas, it really got me thinking. And reading the comments also gave me more ideas. We are helping our son this Christmas for his two young children, the stockings will be ready for him. I always did the orange and apple, hot wheel cars, fingernail polish, Chapstick, toothbrush & toothpaste for our kids when they were little. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas.

  7. Theresa says:

    Hi I just saw this now when you posted it to your FB page. I really like the looks of the Le Pen pens. I’ve never heard of them before. I can’t tell from the description, do they soak into the paper or do they stay on the surface more like gel pens?

  8. sheri says:

    Things I’ve done: recipe cards, postage stamps, small framed pictures of me and them, funny shoelaces, rolls of quarters for college kid laundry, personalized address labels, sachets, eye masks for sleeping, luggage tags, cool/unusual spices, already stamped & addressed notecards.

    Another idea: Something my mom started and I’ve passed on. She made a “birthday stocking” out of one my baby blankets. It would show up hanging on the end of my bed on my birthday filled with stuff. Now, when I give baby blankets at baby showers, I always give the blanket and a a stocking made out of a second one.

  9. Susan says:

    Such great ideas. Your list sparked ideas for gift boxes for aged mother-in-law and mother: postage stamps; a selection of thank you cards, sympathy, get well, etc.; movie tickets, post-it notes (my mom is a big office supply lover!), shea butter hand cream, etc..

  10. K says:

    For our girls we always put in mini boxes of cereal of the sort they did not get regularly at home. These boxes are light, take up a fair chunk of space and are relatively inexpensive. Also you can choose their favourite ones. Always did toothbrush and toothpaste each too.

  11. Katie says:

    Some of our biggest hits have been a working compass, small quality magnifying glass, wooden train whistle (loved it so much that my ears are still ringing), pocket I.D. guides for plants, bugs, etc, and a good harmonica. I’m also a fan of the little box of usually forbidden sugary cereal. It’s extra proof that Santa must be real. Mom would NEVER buy Lucky Charms 😉

    • MaryDomaz says:

      So True, One year my son came home from school and said: Mom, there has to be a Santa Claus, especially an Easter Bunny. YOU would NEVER give me that much candy!! He never asked that day if there was a Santa or an Easter Bunny. He just stated the fact that they had to exist

  12. Dana says:

    I always give: new disposable “electric” toothbrush, nice pens, note pads, fun sticky notes, Lifesaver ” books” ( we always got those as kids…Favorite candies for each person ( Smarties for my brother, candy orange for my niece, dark sea salt chocolate for my SIL, circus peanuts for my mom and Hershey kisses for my hubby)….for the little kids: bubbles, scented bubble bath, new crayons and markers, PLayDoh, flavored chapstick, fun color nail polish… ( I have 4 nieces and 6 great nieces…no boys in the family l for over 50 years… ) …Also the small personal size tissues that can fit in a purse or backpack…and throat lozenges…also I sometimes include the Farmer Alamanc or a fun magazine…crafts, puzzle, sports or history.

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