Stuff This: Stocking Stuffer Suggestions
November 17, 2017 6:26 AM   Subscribe

My family and I usually each buy some stocking stuffers for each other. Any recommendations?

My family includes 1 older man, 3 women and 3 men in their 30s, 1 preschool girl, 1 toddler girl and 1 infant girl. Since this is not a small group of people, inexpensive items are ideal. A lot of us are traveling for the holiday so it would be nice if stocking stuffers were small and durable. Handmade/DIY is okay as long as it’s easy and the ingredients and end result are shelf stable. Also, we could potentially order stuff from or Etsy.

Some items that I think have worked well in the past:
- might just be something I liked but I think Tide pens check a lot of boxes (small, useful, inexpensive)
- my sister is a Sephora fan so she’d save her free samples during the year for stocking stuffers for the women in our family
- touchscreen gloves
- I thought about making coloring books and giving people crayons? Dumb idea? I thought that might be a cute thing we could do together.

Ideas? Thanks in advance!
posted by kat518 to Shopping (26 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
Bic mechanical pencils
Those $1 tubes of Vaseline for your lips
Sugar free gum
Definitely tide pens!
Since people will be traveling, maybe cheap books of crosswords / sudoku / word searches
Scratch tickets
posted by rossination at 6:36 AM on November 17, 2017

Playing Cards. You can get some high-quality Bicycle cards with nice designs for less than $5 a deck.
posted by demiurge at 6:44 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I always love getting a chocolate orange. (And saving the little sticker that says Whack & Unwrap)
posted by mochapickle at 6:47 AM on November 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Pleassseee buy "stocking stuffer" board games! They are just SO FUN... could entertain your family for years.

One night ultimate warewolf
love letter
no thanks
for sale
Sushi Go

All under $12 on amazon, all just the most amazing games. I ranked them from best to worst but they are all still really good and really popular with the "new board game" crowd that involves board games with fun, different mechanics than "roll and move a dice".
posted by bbqturtle at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2017 [14 favorites]

Silly Putty. Nobody doesn't like Silly Putty.
posted by bondcliff at 6:55 AM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I buy everyone a cool pair of socks from SockDreams each year. A little more expensive than some of your other options, but I freaking love nice socks.

Also +1 to chocolate oranges.
posted by olinerd at 7:06 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I agree cute and useful is the best combo:
Tiny measuring tape
Mini cast iron skillet
Mini silicone spatula
Fun washi tape
Any kind of useful keychain gadget (example)
posted by veery at 7:16 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I keep an Amazon wishlist of items to consider as stocking stuffers when the time rolls around. A lot of times, this stuff is cheaper at Target, but having the list helps me think about what to get. From my list:

Westward pocket screwdriver
Streamlight nano flashlight (this was a huge hit last year)
Mini sharpies
Collapsible water bottles
Nice tweezers
Pocket manicure set

Also, you could make mini travel/purse sewing kits -- these are way better than store bought ones.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:23 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Go to an art supply store if you have one near you! We were there yesterday and there were some cute things at the register and ours had lots of cheap but fun stuff in the clearance section.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:25 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my family, we stuff our stockings with candy, dollar gold coins, and little $1/bottle nips of interesting booze.
posted by zoetrope at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mini Cubebot is a big hit in our house
posted by Mchelly at 7:28 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another vote for chocolate oranges. I think the making colouring books is a lovely idea.

I like getting cosy fluffy socks for Christmas and they would fit easily in a stocking.

If you can safely travel with them indoor fireworks are fun and you could buy a set, split them and put one in each stocking then pool to watch together.

My husband's family have various stocking items that are traditional for their family - in particular toothbrushes (no idea why) and magazines. The magazines are easy to tailor to the interests of the person (and give you something to flick through during idle moments over the festive period) and will fit in the stocking if you don't mind them sticking up. The toothbrushes are at this point fun because they're a tradition (and in any case an item that everyone needs sooner or later). You could start your own family tradition of "this item has no relevance to Christmas but is always in the stockings".
posted by *becca* at 7:28 AM on November 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Magazines have always been traditional stocking stuffers in my family—roll them up and they’ll slide right in.
I actually find a lot of stocking stuffers in the bargain bins at my hardware store—mini flashlights, measuring spoons, magnets, measuring tapes, cute dish cloths, mini goes on and on!
posted by bookmammal at 7:34 AM on November 17, 2017

Do you have The Container Store near you? They have an excellent stocking-stuffer display this time of year. The rest of the year, they have well-designed useful things (bag clips, little containers, general repair items, weird little handy items) throughout the store.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:37 AM on November 17, 2017

Big Lots and, no doubt, other stores, sell really cheap multi-tools that are perfect for the glove compartment. Not well-made enough for real tools, but handy in an emergency nonetheless. LED cig lighter flashlights. If you live in a place where there is snow, a good windshield scraper. Little bottles of liquor are a great idea. Chocolate coins are a must in my family, and a clementine in the toe of the stocking. Office supply stores are a good place to shop.

For kids, I've seen miniature doll or superhero sets that I would have loved as a kid. Action figures. Small lego sets aren't cheap, but they're good value.

Stuff to do. Paperback books. Christmas evening should have people hanging out in a food and festivity-induced stupor, reading and drinking their little bottles of booze. Somebody should get a copy of a Scrooged or another good holiday movie if the tv must be on. One of my favorite Christmas evenings was a lively game of poker in which we got schooled by my Mom. Cards, rolls of nickels or pennies, and a paperback copy of Hoyles. When I used to play poker with a group, I made a cheatsheet of the order of winning hands in poker that was really handy.
posted by theora55 at 7:45 AM on November 17, 2017

Headlamps! They're great for reading at night, for walking around in the dark, for when the power fails, etc. I don't have any particular brand preference, I've bought them at Home Depot in the past.
posted by mareli at 8:55 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've loved getting little tools or office supplies - mini measuring tape, stapler, fun paperclips, etc. - both useful and delightful.

Tide pens would be great and very welcome.

Small consumables - food, soaps, lotions, etc. I'm obsessed with Amazon Prime sample boxes which might be a good source of stuff for basically-free if you're a frequent Amazon shopper.

Small puzzle games are a big hit in our house.
posted by mosst at 9:06 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Something that we have always done in my family is to include a Christmas tree ornament in each stocking. The ornament is usually something symbolic of the past year for the recipient - for example, the year I joined the town's brass band, I got a tiny tuba to hang on the tree. It's a really nice tradition and it gives you a chance to build up a really personal set of ornaments. Every year decorating the tree gets more meaningful because as you pull out each year's decoration, you get a little trip down memory lane. Plus, the gift is typically small, affordable, and gives the little kids another chance to interact with the tree - a good 10-minute activity on a busy morning.
posted by DSime at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

Harbor Freight has good stocking stuffers. I have a fake key on my keyring that is a tiny knife - good for opening packages, removing tags. Their headlamps are crap, though. If you go to HF, get on their mailing list ad get coupons so you can buy 1 stuffer and get one free.
posted by theora55 at 9:57 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lots of good suggestions above. Here are a few more.

Flipbook kits.

Story Cubes.

Our friends/family have like things like 2 packs of shortbread.

You can find classic candy at the Vermont Country Store, among other places. Grab a bag of some of the wrapped ones, like Mary Janes, for example, and include a couple in each stocking.
posted by gudrun at 10:40 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

My kids got something like these headphone wraps in their stockings three years ago. They weren't interested but I use them all the time and really love them.
posted by metahawk at 11:02 AM on November 17, 2017

Nthing the tools. Good grips screwdrivers with interchangeable tips were spendy, but well received one year. I also have a pretty floral mini hammer that unscrews to reveal a screwdriver that I keep upstairs to keep from running to the basement to fetch the big hammer.

Chapstick is also a perennial stuffer in my family.
posted by sarajane at 1:15 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

-little boxes of good chocolate truffles
-nice purse sized hand lotions
-colored pen sets
-fuzzy socks
-fancy cocoa mix
-something cute from Daiso (Japanese dollar store)
posted by ananci at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

only relevant if someone makes music, but the biggest hit over the years from me's been one of those cheap clip-on guitar tuners (preferably one with a lit screen, as playing venues often involves being in a dark bar). high quality grooming things like durable nail clippers or hangnail trimmers have gone over well too, and fancy little tubes of cold weather hand cream, and keychain-able items such as lip balm, tiny flashlights, and pens. sampler vials of perfume, single-swig nice alcohol, and a little packet of fancypants spices always seem potentially promising too, depending on giftee.
posted by ifjuly at 2:51 PM on November 17, 2017

I don't know about you, but my local chain bookstore has that section in the middle that is reserved for weird non book things: 7-year pens, fridge magnets shaped like tiny cupcakes, tape dispensers shaped like unicorns. You get the idea.
posted by janepanic at 4:53 PM on November 17, 2017

I'm a woman in my 30s and I can never have enough cute fridge magnets, as well as travel sized toiletries (think lip balm, hand lotion, hand sanitizer). +1 for chocolate oranges and cozy socks as well.
posted by spicytunaroll at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2017

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