First off, this is a helpful guide, not a dangerous threat. Titles can be so misleading. Stocking stuffing is one of my favorite things to do. Even as a kid, I looked forward to picking out little trinkets and filling up my parents’ stockings. Admittedly, however, I was not quite the pro that I am today, and there may have been a lot of waterproof matches and kitchen utensils those early years. Regardless, I am now the self-titled Stocking Master, and I’m here to help.
I’ve noticed a lot over the past week on social media that more and more people are scrambling to find stocking stuffers, especially for the adults in their lives. Procuring items for kids stockings usually isn’t too difficult. There are plenty of borderline-choking-hazard-sized toys nowadays that fit perfectly in there. One of my boys in obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and the other is all about Little People and Disney princesses, so along with some fun bath paints, tiny books, travel-sized mini oreos, and miniature stuffies, I picked up some Thomas minis and some “this is what the princesses would look like as toddlers” action figure doll guys (I wish there was a better way to explain that). My boys are two and a half and one, so we try not to fill theirs with sweets just yet, but there are always plenty of stocking-sized options for treats in any christmas section for those of you who have kids with full sets of teeth and better motor skills.
Shopping for my husband’s stocking is the most fun for me. I don’t want to spill what exactly is going in his this year, just in case he decides to take a gander at what I’m writing, but I’ll list some things that have gone into his previous stockings, as well as other appropriately sized goodies I’ve spotted. When looking for things to put in his stocking, I try to think of things he likes now and things he enjoyed as a child. You can find a lot of the classic toys, like Stretch Armstrong and Etch-a-Sketch toys, in a miniature version. Those are perfect for stockings and usually bring back some fun childhood memories (unless you were like me and accidentally ate your brother’s Stretch Armstrong). My husband isn’t a “car guy,” but if he were you best believe he’d be getting some Hot Wheels.
Another fun item are the wooden or metal brain puzzles. They make them at different skill levels, so be sure to choose an appropriate skill level for the person you’re shopping for. These puzzles are a lot of fun, but if the skill level is too challenging, it’s easy to get frustrated. Along the lines of puzzles, sudoku, crossword, and word search puzzle books also make great stocking stuffers. There’s also no shame in throwing in a coloring book and some colored pencils.
Blind bags are one of the best things, in my opinion, for stockings. They have blind bag items for just about everything nowadays, and you can find them at the bookstore, Target and Walmart, comic stores, and Toys r Us, just to name a few places. My husband and I are both really into Game of Thrones, Supernatural, and Doctor Who, and there are blind bags, or rather boxes, for all of those!
One of my personal favorite stocking stuffers to give, and to get, are card games. A deck of standard cards will do just fine, but there are also A TON of fun card games to be played. If you’re not sure what exactly to look for, my number one suggestion is the game Are You a Werewolf? You need a group of people to play, but it is a ton of fun and a really easy game to pick up on. Most comic and gaming stores carry card games of that variety. Our local mall has a seasonal store that is only open around this time of year, but they always have tons of cards games, as well as the aforementioned brain puzzles.
My mother always included fun socks in our stockings, and it’s a tradition I’ve carried over into my own family. Target has a pretty impressive selection of fun socks for all ages, but you can always find some rad things online. I ordered my husband a pair of socks from a shop called Fresh Elites that had Cam Newton dabbing (doing the dab?) on them. I was too excited about them to wait until Christmas though, so he got those bad boys weeks ago.
There’s no harm in throwing in some practical stuff as well. Our dog is an insane shedder, so lint rollers are always in high demand around here. If the person you’re shopping for had a favorite brand of pen or gum, those are both just right for stockings. Items like mini maglights and car chargers are also great. Depending on your budget, gift cards for restaurants are another perfect stocking stuffer.
Thinking along these lines, I always have plenty of fun little things to put in my husbands stocking, with just enough room left over for a few treats. If your person isn’t all that into sweets, jerky and mini cans of pringles are a great alternative. My husband loves all things Reeses so I usually just load that sucker up with chocolatey-peanut-buttery-goodness and call it a day.
And there you have it. Hopefully this has helped get those brain juices flowing and you feel confident that you too can become a Stocking Master! At the end of the day, it’s all meant to be fun and come from a place of love, so don’t stress out about whether or not you’re doing it “right,” because if you’re doing it at all, you’re already doing it right.