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.

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. Baseball cards.
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. (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.
17. Cute panties or boxers.
18. Leggings.
19. Cute socks.
20. Earrings.
21. Buttons.
22. Scarves.
23. Mittens/Gloves.
24. Nail stickers.

To eat:

25. Altoids.
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. 
33. Maldon sea salt flakes, for chefs and bakers.
34. Mini boxes of cereal.
35. Dried or freeze-dried fruit. 
(We love Trader Joe’s packets of strawberries, blueberries, and apples.)
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. Flashlight.
38. Pocket knife or multi-tool.
39. Small umbrella 
in a cheerful color.
40. Batteries.
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.
51. Luggage Tags.
52. Adorable bookish iphone case.

To read:

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? or  generic)
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.

To write:

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.

Personal care:

73. Bath bubbles.
74. Reusable hand warmers.
75. Nail polish.
76. Character band-aids. (Not just for kids! Try these for women. Or these for the men.)
77. Rosebud salve.
78. Chapstick or lip balm.

79. Hand lotion.
80. Toothbrushes.
81. Lotion bars.
82. Soap. 
(You can support refugees by buying through the Preemtive 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.

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. 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



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  1. Shannon says:

    For stocking stuffers I go to World Market and get all their favorite European candies and foods. We got occasionally but not enough so it’s a great treat they enjoy over their Christmas break. Plus I have to pick up the Christmas Crackers while I’m there.

  2. Barb says:

    Perfume sticks (perfect for bringing your perfume when you travel without the hassle of a full bottle). Bottle of Gummy Vitamin C and D. Lip Glosses and Nail Polishes

  3. Theresa says:

    I agree with Sharon. Foreign candy is fun. Now that my kids are older, I buy them treats from the country whose language they are studying.

  4. Pamela says:

    Growing up, I always got a toothbrush in my stocking. It was a weird tradition in my dad’s family. I still do this for my family, and I make it fun by buying “fancier” toothbrushes – like with their favorite sports team or movie character. The rest of the year we get boring toothbrushes in the four pack so this is a little different and fun. My husband thinks this tradition is strange, and he teases me about it, but he really seems to enjoy his Giants or Yoda toothbrush, so…….

  5. Angie S. says:

    I always put scratch-off lottery tickets in our stockings (even the kids)! We never play the lottery any other time of the year, so it makes it a fun treat … especially when we take a few minutes beforehand to talk about all the things we would do if we won the lottery!

  6. natasha says:

    All 3 of my children get Scotch tape every year – they love having their OWN. Flashlights are also a hit, as well as decaf tea bags, lavender honey sticks, chapstick, and more “fun” school supply items like gel pens, markers, and personalized rubber stamps that can be found at places like Etsy. My teenagers also like restaurant gift cards.

  7. Esther says:

    Thank you!! With an eleven year old and almost 9 year old, stocking stuffers are getting increasingly more difficult. Your list just took care of St. Nick’s and Christmas in one fell swoop. Thank you!!

  8. I often buy digital books (we are a kindle family) when they go on sale as gifts, have them delivered on Christmas Day, and put an image of the book cover in the stocking. Papo figurines are a big hit with both my kids, and bonne bell Chapstick.

  9. Tiffany says:

    Lottery tickets, for sure.
    Packets of seeds for the gardners. This year I found a special tomato variety for my mother in law.
    And little bottles of Deep Eddys Ruby Red grapefruit vodka. It’s the best!

  10. Karen says:

    Play Silks – I made some out of sheers (curtain sheers) we weren’t using. Cut in half & serged the edge. (Could turn the edge twice and straight stitch.) This is a win-win!
    A use for old sheers
    Fun for the kids
    PS Our youngest grands (4, 5 & 6) still get these out. They are almost 10 years old!

  11. Dawn says:

    Anne, you need to turn this into a printable. So handy to keep close this time of year. I always come back to it each fall to prepare and get excited with new ideas.

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