Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thinking Ahead to Christmas - 101 Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I'm posting this in September because I have found that there are a lot of possibilities for stocking stuffers, especially if I'm not in a rush to find them. 

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas celebration at home is finding all the little treasures in the stockings.  It's easy to spend a lot on stocking stuffers, but with a little planning and time, it's also easy to put together some really fun stockings for little or no cash. 

Not all of these ideas are freebies, but a lot of them are, or can be if you catch the right sale and coupon combo, send off for some samples, etc.  By starting early, you can gather quite a few things without spending money - good for tight budgets!

A lot of the items I'm suggesting can be hand-made too, either by you or a friend.  In fact, it might be fun to get together with a couple of other adults and trade handmade items.  For example, three moms, each with three children, could each make 9 of the same thing - bookmarks, 'love coupons', and homemade fudge.  Then they could trade around so that each child gets a bookmark, a coupon and some fudge. 

This is just a starter list - you'll have ideas of your own, things you've done that your family loved, and other freebies or samples that work for you.  If we all keep this in mind now, before the bigger Christmas rush, we can have some neat things gathered for the holidays.  A lot of these items would make great treat sacks for teachers, mail carriers, neighbors and more.  Use what works for you!

101 Stocking Stuffer Ideas:

1.  crayons (bought at back to school sales)
2.  socks
3.  slippers (homemade if you can)
4.  a 'crazy favorite' food, for that kid who loves green olives or Spam.
5.  trail mix
6.  free printable paper dolls
7.  a book, even from the used bookstore, gotten with trade credit
8.  candy (set it aside at Halloween from the trick or treat basket)
9.  'love coupons' for an afternoon with mom, fishing with dad, whatever works for your family

Give a coupon promising a fun family activity.  Here, we're making bird seed wreaths to hang outdoors.

10.  homemade or free printable bookmarks
11.  a 'kit' of beads and wire, mini stamps and a week ink pad, a little sewing kit, etc.
12.  an orange, because it's pretty much required
13.  mixed nuts in the shell
14.  a popcorn ball

15.  a toy car
16.  all the legos you picked up off the floor in the past 2 weeks (no, I am not kidding)
17.  watercolor paints (bought at back to school sales)
18.  embroidery thread and printed instructions for making friendship bracelets
19.  paracord and printed instructions for making those paracord bracelets
20.  tape - whatever kind you can get hold of.  Kids love tape.
21.  homemade playdough
22.  a toothbrush (often free w/coupons)
23.  floss (often free w/coupons)
24.  toothpaste (see 22 and 23)
25.  a flameless candle
26.  a Christmas tree ornament (homemade, or purchased on sale/clearance)

27.  homemade candy
28.  a coupon for a family movie night
29.  a packet of microwave popcorn
30.  the free samples Ovaltine sends out now and then
31.  the free samples Nescafe' sends out now and then
32.  a hot cocoa packet
33.  a candy cane
34.  a coffee/cocoa mug (here, Goodwill has piles of Christmas ones, like new, for .49)
35.  a list of all the things you love about the recipient
36.  a small New Testament
37.  a homemade kitchen chemistry kit
38.  coins
39.  batteries, often free at office supply stores (after rebate) around the holidays
40.  a cookie cutter and a 'we will bake cookies' coupon
41.  Mexican jumping beans
42.  a yoyo
43.  markers (bought at back-to-school sales)
44.  a knit or crocheted washcloth and some nice smelling soap
45.  a crocheted button flower hair pin
46.  homemade earrings
47.  lip balm, either homemade or couponed
48.  lotion samples
49.  homemade cookies
50.  a tiny nativity set, either a printable on cardstock or homemade
51.  cosmetics, gotten with coupons
52.  a scarf, gloves, hat or mittens, homemade if you know how
53.  yarn and a crochet needle or knitting needles, with a printout that has how-to links from youtube
54.  chocolate, gotten on sale and with coupons around the holidays
55.  fishing lures

56.  stuff for tying flies
57.  sinkers, bobbers, etc.  (a lot of this goes on clearance right about now)
58.  deodorant (coupon/sale)
59.  homemade instant oatmeal packets
60.  pencils (look for 10-packs of  fun ones in the dollar aisle in big box stores)
61.  erasers (back to school sales)
62.  homemade slime
63.  reading glasses (if you know the right strength to buy - dollar stores have lots of fun ones)
64.  a painted 'pet' rock, or one with a special word on it
65.  mints, even if they are the ones from the bank - just take one now and then, until you have a few?
66.  dried fruit
67.  a little calculator
68.  magnets
69.  string

70.  a wallet or small coin purse
71.  toothpicks and gumdrops for building structures
72.  a comb
73.  a hairbrush
74.  embellished barrettes,  hair clips, etc.
75.  a s'more kit
76.  costume jewelry from yard sales or thrift

Costume jewelry and a Rudolph nose from the stocking several years back. 
She still wears that nose!

77.  wooden blocks that spell the child's name (if you still have the wood blocks from younger years)
78.  jerky
79.  ear buds
80.  perfume/cologne/after shave samples
81.  gift cards (some of which you might have earned/gotten as freebies)
82.  homemade spice blends (for your grill master husband or gourmet cook)
83.  cinnamon-sugar in a shaker for cinnamon toast
84.  seeds, for flowers and/or vegetables
85.  chia from the health food store bulk bin, to revive last year's chia pet
86.  nail polish (look for sales and coupons)
87.  a paid-for pizza groupon (think teen boy..or football husband)
88.  glitter, if you are brave
89.  glue sticks (back to school sales)
90.  homemade stationery or note cards (can be used to write the Christmas thank-you notes)
91.  postage stamps
92.  jingle bells
93.  items that are free w/coupon from Harbor Freight, like led flashlights, utility scissors, tape measures, work gloves, etc.
94.  hand-warmers
95.  a packet of bird seed and a printout about bird watching
96.  stickers
97.  a necklace made of homemade beads
98.  chopsticks
99.  polymer clay, bought on sale or with a percent off coupon
100.  homemade spiced or glazed nuts
101.  free mp3 download codes garnered from Amazon

Well, there's a list to get you started.  I'm sure you have lots of other great stocking stuffer ideas, and I'd love to hear them.  Leave a comment, won't you please?

102.  homemade bath salts

Shared at From the Farm Blog Hop


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this post! You know I , for one, have been thinking of this for ages! I love the suggestions and have written down quite a few. I agree in the orange. I always got one in my stocking and my children and now my grandchildren do as well. Funny story about the deodorant ; as each of my children brought a significant other to the family they would tell them" my mom makes Christmas stockings for everyone and they ALL have deodarant in them, always have, always will. Don't be offended!
Here's some of my personal favorites:
For an adult's stocking, homemade flavored specialty coffee to go along with the special mug. I received cafe mocha in a swap one year and it was yummy!
A coupon for that special food item that may not fit. I gave my granddaughter a coupon for a jar of pickles, her favorite
For little girls with little dolls/dollhouses little pillows and matching blankets,teeny sofa pillows and braided rugs
A bracelet made of stretchy string and buttons or the suppliess to make one
A card printed with instructions for different types of paper airplanes with colorful paper and paper clips included
Ribbons tied in a bow with ends dangling attached to a bobby pin,simple hair decorations
A set of index cards with riddles or word puzzles made up by you printed on them.
I'll stop now,I do tend to run on about Christmas!
God bless,

Laura said...

Helen, with friends like you helping, I'm pretty sure the comments will be the best part of this post! Thanks for all the fantastic ideas. Love to you and yours.

momma-lana said...

I do 17 stockings, currently so I am always on the lookout for ideas! I have a clear plastic shoebox labeled with names all lined up in a closet. All year long I pick up things for the stockings and stash them away. Ours always include socks and everyone loves getting them. Some years everyone gets a new toothbrush! I often include kitchen brushes or scrubbies for the adult females. The guys often get grilling spice blends and the girls sometimes get spice grinders. Nail files and polish are favorites. Cotton makeup pads are great space fillers. We always do some silly toys for the guys. Adult sons and son in laws can be absolutely a hoot playing with toys out of their stockings on Christmas! Never again will we do marshmallow guns though. I was finding marshmallows until summer! I try to put useful things in stockings so that I am not giving clutter. Thanks for the list! I need to go upstairs and look in my boxes to see how far I have to go before the big day. It is easy to buy 2 stockings worth for every grandchild!

Laura said...

I'm still laughing about the marshmallow shooters. When we made them a couple summers ago, we said they were for outside use only, and we shot them when the chickens were out, then watched them chase after marshmallows. So much fun!!

April said...

Great list..stocking stuffers usually includes bubble bath, starbucks cards for the teens, mcds for the youngest, chapstick, lotion, new toothbrush, elastic hair bands for the girls, cologne/body spray, travel size hand sanitizers(great for backpacks), scratcher lotto tickets and of course, candy snd fruit

Cathy said...

First of all, I want to say thank you for having your links open in a new tab. That way I don't have to go back and forth to your blog!

I think stocking gifts are the best part of giving! You can give so many things that are free or inexpensive but just right for someone.

I like to throw in some lip balm, car air fresheners or Armour All pads. I also like to add a Tide pen or something like that. Fast food coupons are always a treat too.

I like to find a nice orange, some nuts, and maybe a very small single piece of candy. Sometimes the more simple the gift, the more pleasure it brings.

So many great ideas! I will definitely be coming back to this page several times before the holidays this year.

Thank you!


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