“…and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.” Still, it’s sometimes tempting to consider stocking stuffers a formality before moving to the “good stuff” under the tree. Truth be told, and writing as a Mom who shops for the aforementioned stocking stuffers, they’re sometimes an afterthought even for me. With that in mind, we’d like to bring some joy and creativity back to stocking stuffers! (afflinks)
Although we have loads of fun ideas for gifts on our Holiday and Toys & Games pages, here are our family’s top picks for stocking stuffers for kids (or kids at heart). They’re simple. They’re fun. They inspire creativity. And for bonus points, they don’t break the bank.
1. The classic Slinky.
What we love about it: everyone in the family wants a turn. And long after the other presents lose their novelty, this one is still slinking around the house (sorry, not sorry). I don’t know anyone, young or old, who tires of seeing how far it can stretch and whether it’s going to get stuck on the stairs. It’s a sure winner in the eternal fun category for stocking stuffers.
2. Fake mustaches (for the whole family).
What would you think if I told you one of my favorite memories is my entire family putting on fake mustaches together? My cousin’s baby kept trying to eat hers from her upper lip, so her Mama turned it into the most hilarious baby-unibrow, instead. My then-three-year-old mostly looked concerned about the facial hair everyone had spontaneously sprouted (but seemed unconcerned with her own). To be clear, wearing goofy things isn’t something my family would typically do. That’s part of what made it so funny. Before you judge me too harshly, might I suggest you try your own? Handlebar or pencil-style, there’s something for everyone.
3. Glow in the dark toys.
Glasses, bouncy balls, rings, and lights, this package of fun is amazing for kids of all ages. And of course, stars. I dare you to name someone who doesn’t like things that glow. They’re pretty much the ultimate awesome stocking stuffer idea.
4. A good book.
(Click the heading for our full list and an easy way to browse.)
Big or small, books are good for developing brains. With all the time we spend on electronics, there’s something really special about snuggling up and reading together. What makes our book list different from many others, though, is that we specifically chose these books because they’re “safe” (as my sensitive five-year-old decided). They don’t scare anyone in our house, and they have only positive messages, like this one.
Like that one, others build self-confidence and acceptance (and even address the perfectionist in all of us, like this one and this one). They help us relax and make friends. Some of them have made us laugh, smile, or think. Some warm our hearts (my daughter wanted to read this one every time she wanted to connect, for years.) And personally, this is my favorite series because it covers all those bases. Truth be told, I’m a book snob, and these are the ones that are on my “good list.” Reading this one has become part of our Christmas morning tradition. Santa would approve!
Although we list these in our travel products (they’re great for traveling with kids!), we play with them year-round in our house.They’re a solid stocking stuffer idea because they’re a wonderful activity to keep kiddos still for awhile, or a great way to play when somebody’s tired or under the weather. Because there are so many options within a single container, they’re great for building concentration. Plus, I love how reusable they are.
I’m going to be a little tricky here and note that these worked great in an advent calendar for us a couple of years ago (we use a “surprise” system for items that are too big for the compartments). Our kiddo had a fantastic microscope, so we let her STEM skills soar by giving her some new things to examine. Plus, we delivered them in increments rather than all at once, so they lasted awhile. Still now, years later, she looks at them under the same microscope. These were a great investment for us, and in her education.
7. Colored pencils and stickers.
Although these are a bit more “standard” when it comes to stocking stuffer ideas, they’re universally entertaining. Plus, they’re great options for the advent calendar, too, if you use a standard one (versus a kids’ magnetic one like this).
No matter which you choose, they’re sure to bring smiles to kids of all ages. Now, if only I can get my husband to share with my child…we’re working on it.
And just in case you’re counting days, here’s the official countdown. May your Christmas be merry and bright!
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