100 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

100 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. 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 2020 with 100 new stocking stuffer ideas.

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.)

100 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. Mini puzzles. Like this snowy scene, or this one!
4. Glow sticks.
5. Bananagrams.
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.  

To wear:

15. Hairbows and headbands.
16. Ponytail holders. These newer twisty styles are fun. 
17. Cute panties or boxers.
18. Leggings.
19. Cute socks.
I also like these anti-slip socks.
20. Earrings,
like these strawberries or pretty daisies.
21. A mixed box of buttons.
22. Cute face masks.
I’m fond of the bookish variety. 
23. Mittens/Gloves.
24. Nail stickers.

To eat:

25. Altoids.
26. Beef jerky. This is my favorite. Or make your own.
27. Smart Sweets.
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:

37. Mini flashlight.
38. Pocket knife or multi-tool.
39. Small umbrella
in a cheerful color.
40. Batteries.
41. Monogram Camping 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. Reusable straws,
for the party-throwing type.
46. Magnetic Headphone 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.

To read:

53. Board books. (My favorite, for young or old.)
54. Slim paperbacks.
55. Book light.
56. Book darts.

57. Charming bookmarks.
Choose from literary heroines like Anne Shirley, Hermione Granger, Jane Eyre, and Scout Finch.
58. More adorable bookmarks.
59. I’d Rather Be Reading.

I'd Rather Be Reading, a great stocking stuffer idea for the reader in your life.

To watch or listen: 

60. iTunes gift card.
61. A favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) audiobook.
(40 ideas here.)
62. Movie tickets.

To write:

63. Blank journals or a planner/calendar for the year to come.
64. Note cards. (A literary version.) Or thank you notes!
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. 
I love the shape of these mechanical pencils; for a fancier option go with Tombows.
69. Printable coloring sheets. Narnia, Anne, Jane Austen. Roll like a scroll and tie with a bow.
70. Calligraphy stencil. A fun tool that makes my handwriting look a lot better.
71. Custom library stamp or printed book plates
72. Pencil case.

Personal care:

73. Bath bubbles. We like to get these and other personal care items through Grove Collaborative; get a FREE Mrs. Meyers & Grove Scrubber set with this referral link. 
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)

For crafting:

83. Markers/crayons/colored pencils. Or the holy grail of pencil sharpeners
84. Scotch tape or washi tape.
85. Stickers.
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. The New Yorker or another periodical. Subscribe now on their behalf, slide the first issue in their 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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100 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

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  1. Lizabeth Snell says:

    One of my fave’s is Post it’s.. always useful, fun to have cool ones, like mini legal pads or bright colors. 🙂

  2. JLBS says:

    This looks wonderful but as mentioned by others, the rstlye links don’t work – any way to get the correct links? Or does anyone know what I’m doing wrong? THANKS!

  3. Kim says:

    My boys are young, 6 and 4, but they always get a new reusable water bottle. They both love Playmobil so they’re getting some new figures. The little one wants his own wallet and he loves bath bombs. The oldest got some fancy kid binoculars and a small lava like lamp with jellyfish inside. Any extra room will include small cans of Fanta, their favorite and a big treat around here. Stockings are my absolute favorite! My husband is getting some fun things– witty socks, skincare items, and a few silly things from PaperSource and The Container Store.

  4. Beth B. says:

    Mudpuppy makes adorable mini puzzles for kids for about $5 – bright animals or mod city scenes. You can usually find them on Amazon. And if you’re unfamiliar with the Mudpuppy brand, they’re a branch of Galison with great kid/family options!

  5. Cynthia S. says:

    We have a few traditional stocking stuffers. Black socks (good ones) for men. Tin of smoked oysters for one son.
    Tire gauge
    Nail clippers
    Penzey’s spices—small jars
    Cricut tools
    Gift cards for Starbucks
    Sugar free candy for my husband
    Bubbles for children
    Kitchen tools
    Bundt pan cleaning tool
    Caviar!

  6. MeganTerrell says:

    For stationary lovers, journalers, planners …. Studio Calico is having a Black Friday sale, and their $1, $3 and $5 sale items are a very good value. Based on last years experience if you purchase any of their past Happy Mail monthly kits, you get a nice, though unknown, range of stationary items. As of this morning, they have pens, stickers, washi tape for as low as a dollar. I don’t work for them, I am just a happy customer. studiocalico.com

  7. Elise says:

    I love browsing the gift sections of local bookstores for stocking stuffers. I find lots of fun literary/artsy stuff there, and it’s another way to shop local.
    For kids: one year we bought a multi-pack of superhero masks and capes on Amazon and gave one to each of our kids and nieces and nephews. It led to a great Christmas morning of cousins running around as superheroes, and now, several years later, the capes and masks are still being used for dress-up.

  8. Janet says:

    For personal care: small bottles of hand sanitizer. Grove has an orange-scented one that smells so good.

    Sometimes I get my husband and son gift cards for the car wash down the street. Those always get used.

    As always, a fun and useful list!

  9. Alison Holliday says:

    Love this post !!

    I would add tea bags for loose leaf tea. I will be getting gift cards for gas as I have a new driver in the family. Also the microfibre cloths for tablets and phones etc. Bendy straws and texting gloves. Bobby pins and nail polish. It’s amazing what you can fit in there!

  10. Tracy Hancock says:

    I look forward to this post every year! So many great ideas. This year, I’m especially excited to try the coffee and tea recommendations. I’m thankful for you, Anne!

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