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. I know you relate because this post has been going bananas every Christmas season (and by that, I mean from Labor Day to Christmas Eve) every year. We’ve updated the much-loved list for 2018.
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.
100 stocking stuffers that are way better than the usual cheap crap
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.
6. Silly putty or thinking putty.
7. Mini Rubix Cube or Etch-A-Sketch.
8. Playing cards.
9. Paper clips. For building contraptions and doing magic tricks. (Check Youtube!)
10. Travel chess or checkers. (Make your own out of LEGO bricks.)
11. Ivan’s Hinge Puzzle.
12. Metal puzzlers.
13. Wooden animals.
14. Glow in the dark stars to make their own constellations.
15. 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.)
16. Ponytail holders. These newer twisty styles are fun.
17. Cute panties or boxers.
19. Cute socks.
20. Earrings, like these cute cats or pretty flowers.
21. A mixed box of buttons.
24. Nail stickers.
26. Beef jerky. This is my favorite. Or make your own.
27. Trail mix.
28. Drink mixes (hot chocolate, spiced cider, Emergen-C).
29. A pineapple, like in this episode of Charlie and Lola. (Or maybe a clementine, pomegranate, or starfruit.)
30. Tiny adorable bottles of Tabasco or portable packets of Sriracha.
31. Small tubs of Nutella.
32. Gold chocolate coins, like St. Nick threw in the legend. (We get ours at Trader Joe’s.)
33. Maldon sea salt flakes, for chefs and bakers.
34. Mini boxes of cereal.
35. Dried or freeze-dried fruit.
36. Herbs and spices. Think little jars of barbecue rub, steak seasoning, a new herb blend, cinnamon sticks, or mulling spices.
Fun and useful:
38. Pocket knife or multi-tool.
39. Small umbrella in a cheerful color.
41. Monogram Mug.
42. Candles, especially with a fun theme like these Jane Austen candles or this “old books” scent.
43. Mini manicure kit.
44. Key chain (Something cute like this or this)
45. Paper straws, for the party-throwing type.
46. Cord Wrap.
47. Sprinkles and cute cupcake wrappers, for those who love to bake.
48. Personalized address labels.
49. Small framed photos.
50. Seed packets, especially if they’re already dreaming of spring.
51. Luggage Tags.
52. Old books iphone case, or choose their favorite title.
53. Board books. (My favorite, for young or old.)
54. Slim paperbacks.
55. Book light.
56. Book darts. (For fans of Modern Mrs. Darcy / What Should I Read Next? The I’d Rather Be Reading tins are our bestseller this year.
57. Charming bookmarks. “I read past my bedtime” or “I like big books and I cannot lie.”
58. More adorable bookmarks. Choose from literary heroines like Anne Shirley, Hermione Granger, Jane Eyre, and Scout Finch.
59. Magazines, individual issues or a subscription.
To watch or listen:
60. iTunes gift card.
61. A favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) audiobook. (40 ideas here.)
62. Movie tickets.
63. Blank journals or an awesome reading journal kit.
64. Note cards. (A literary version)
65. Notecards that you can color.
66. Pens. (Like Paper Mate flairs or Sharpies in pretty colors.)
67. Postage stamps, especially the fun limited editions.
68. Pencils. Ticonderogas are the best drugstore buy; for a fancier option go with Blackwings.
69. Printable coloring sheets. Narnia, Anne, Jane Austen. Roll like a scroll and tie with a bow.
70. Lettermate. A fun tool that makes my handwriting look a lot better.
71. Custom library stamp or printed book plates.
72. Pencil case.
73. Bath bubbles.
74. Reusable hand warmers.
75. Nail polish.
76. Character band-aids. (Not just for kids! Try these for fun and these for literary types.)
77. Rosebud salve. A perpetual crowd pleaser.
78. Chapstick or lip balm.
79. Hand lotion.
80. Toothbrushes, plain or fancy.
81. Lotion bars.
82. Soap. (You can support refugees by buying through the Preemptive Love Coalition)
83. Markers/crayons/colored pencils. Or the holy grail of pencil sharpeners.
84. Scotch tape or washi tape.
86. Watercolor paints and brushes.
87. Mini fairy lights.
88. Mini photo clipboard frames.
89. Post-it notes (especially the shapes).
90. Small craft kits like this or this.
Just for grown-ups:
91. Coffee or tea. (See my husband’s favorites here, 45 decaf options here, and my current tea crush here.)
92. Literary matchbooks.
93. Milk frother for homemade lattés.
94. Essential oils.
95. Dollar Shave Club. Subscribe now on his behalf, slide the first month’s shipment in his stocking.
96. Wine stopper.
97. Tea towels.
98. Bottle opener.
99. Instant read kitchen thermometer.
100. Whiskey stones or ice sphere molds to cool your beverage in style.
Tell us your favorite stocking stuffer ideas in comments.
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